I have travelled alone internationally and domestically but the final frontier was to travel alone in my own state. This was accomplished a few weeks back. I took some leave from work, packed an esky and off I drove for a day trip to the Southern Highlands.
I love travelling alone. I like taking the time to walk about, going into any store that tickles my fancy and taking way too long to decide if I want to purchase this or that. I like to search for peaceful places or places with nice views or beautiful buildings.
The Southern Highlands is about a 1.5 hour drive south west of Sydney. The land is quite fertile and temperatures mild so there are vineyards a plenty. It’s the home of the annual tulip festival and farm stays. The day trip out to the Southern Highlands was what I needed. Leaving the higher density and concrete world behind me, I was in amongst the rolling green-ish hills (it’s summer here so more like…..yellow), driving between National Parks and going at 110km/hr.
On this particular trip, I was doing just a day trip. I had gotten some tips prior and made a list of what my day was going to look like. You might be wondering why I had packed an esky. I was told of a really nice handmade jam (condiments) store and I thought that I would probably be buying something from that store. Not that I usually eat jam but I can’t say no to having a peep into a local store especially with handmade items.
The first stop was Berrima, a small historical village. Unfortunately as this was a day trip, there were no vineyard stops planned (don’t drink and drive kids). There was a place that I wanted to visit nearby, Berkelouw Book Barn, however it was closed this day for a private function. I had read that there are wild platypuses in the Wingecarribee River and found a walking path along the river. I have never seen wild platypuses in my life and did feel a little ashamed at the lack of Australian wildlife I have seen in the wild. Despite my attempts at being still and hoping that I wouldn’t come across a snake, the only wildlife I saw were ducks and lizards!
There were a few stores along the main street of Berrima and I had a little wander around. I came across The Little Hand Stirred Jam store selling jam and other condiments offering an array of deliciously lipsmacking combinations. I came away with the selection pictured above and into the esky they did went. Since, I have tried the rhubarb jam and can confirm that it is marvellous and not too sickly sweet! I’m sure I will be back.
Next stop was the Red Cow Farm Gardens. This is a privately own property and garden which is open to the public for a small entry fee. The garden features 20 garden rooms and has a lot of tree cover and benches which is perfect for a warm summer’s day. There’s also a nursery if you wish to add to your own garden. While there were still some blooms left, I can only imagine what spring would look like. I think I also spotted some apple trees.
For the afternoon, I drove to Bowral which is the biggest town in the Southern Highlands region. I’m sad to say that I didn’t take many pictures that afternoon. I had lunch at a cafe and then walked around the town (popping my head into odd stores and deciding if I wanted to buy this or that). One of the stores I was most looking forward to going to was Dirty Janes, an antique warehouse. There were so many odd bobs and beautiful bobs. I came across these ‘retro whiskey glasses’ and suddenly recognised them. We had these glasses at home when I was a kid! I’m going to have to check to see if my parents still have these.
My last stop was to the Gumnut Patisserie which seems to be the holy grail of trips to the Southern Highlands. This Patisserie has won various Pastry awards at the Sydney Royal Easter Shows. I was here on a weekday so didn’t have to queue very long but if you’re vendering here over the weekends, best to get here early (with your esky!). There were so many goodies but having my waistline in mind, I settled for the almond croissant and vanilla slice to bring back home with me.
Exhausted, I started my drive back to Sydney. The ice pack in my esky was now liquid but it was still cool and containing my new kitchen friends. It looked so far on the map but wasn’t that bad and I got to get outside the city and some place new. Needless to say, I slept like a rock that night.