The long and short of escape? The Southern Highlands is a destination that covers both. The home to towns such as Bowral, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Exeter, Bundanoon and Berrima is a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Roughly the same viewing time of a B grade film on Netflix and no one really likes watching B grade films.
Astoundingly about 20 per cent of Australia’s population actually lives within three hours of the Highlands, so the region actually makes for a perfect and realistic short getaway for overworked Sydneysiders. Hosting a range of great coffee hotspots, restaurants and wineries, the glorious Mount Gibraltar and of course The Gibraltar Hotel.
It’s truly one of its kind within the Southern Highlands, the Gibraltar offers more than just a luxurious mattress to rest your head for the night. Guests can experience the breathtaking views of the property including a five-star golf course, a day spa, fine dining restaurant and of course Harvey’s Bar for people who enjoy a bit of entertainment!
When you arrive in the Southern Highlands, there’s an immediate wonder and relaxation that comes with being so close to home yet feeling so far away and Gibraltar commits to delivering this to its guests. You literally won’t want to drive back home come your lasts day stay, that’s the level of experience and satisfaction this hotel lives by.
Then there’s the experience of getting to know the locals who are surprising, educative, sometimes idiosyncratic and most importantly extremely passionate about making their home a hearth for every guest. You’ll experience this throughout your stay within the region but even more so at The Gibraltar Hotel. They woo you with smiles, great conversation, wine no one has heard of and food that is prepared to match it.
The Gibraltar is all about making sure you experience the Southern Highlands with all it has to offer including great wine from Artemis Winery. Renowned for their sparkling riesling, which is crisp in taste, or a long sauvignon blanc light in texture and then their French-influenced pinot noir called Close Vine (and they are; you can see them from the cellar door). There’s food on offer, including from a pizza oven. And there’s something extra, well-suited to palates: a home-made, on-tap craft beer. Wonderful.
Whether you plan on just purely relaxing during your stay, it is still worth taking on a bit of an adventure. Winos should be sure to hop on the Southern Highlands wine trail after visiting Artemis Winery. For the most part, the region is 600 metres above sea level, so cool climate varieties, like Pinot Noir and Riesling, fare well. At Tertini (one of NSW’s best cellar doors), you’ll be sampling a consistently excellent bunch of small-batch, boutique, multi-award winning drops. And, if you like to know your wine habit isn’t killing the environment, swing by Eling Forest Estate, where the Tractorless Vineyard wines are made biodynamically. A Hampshire Down sheep breed, imported from England, takes the place of machines and pesticides, by eating the weeds around the grape vines.
With a bottle or three under your arm, it could well be time for a waterfall-side picnic. The area’s three biggest falls are Fitzroy, Belmore and Carrington, and visiting all of them makes for a fun, circular road trip. If you’re keen to combine your falls with a walk, conquer the steep, two-kilometre Erith Coal Mine track in Morton National Park, which combines a disused coalmine with cascades you can stand under.
Epic views of Bowral and Mittagong are on offer at the Mount Gibraltar Reserve. At 863 metres, it’s the highest point between Sydney and Canberra, and there are three lookouts, each giving you unique perspectives: Bowral, Mittagong and Jellore.
In need of an art fix? In the vast spaces of The Milk Factory, you’ll find changing contemporary exhibitions, as well as a cute gallery shop, selling resin jewellery and blown glass. And, within the Springetts Arcade, is Ten Thousand Paces, a self-described ‘hybrid shop, gallery, art projects and regional wine hub’.
We hope you think of us the next time you need to escape, we’ll be here waiting, ready to serve you.