Bowral, Southern Highlands

October 09, 2020  •  1 Comment

On our first day, we visited Berrima situated on the Old Hume Highway, first trying to get lunch at the PepperGreen Estate which was solidly booked for the long weekend.

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HEI_5143HEI_5143 We then walked through the village of Berrima admiring all the old cottages and small galleries. Berrima is located on the traditional land of the Gundungurra People.

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Finally, we made an evening walk at the Wingecarribee River where we saw many Australian Water Dragons, but not the promised Platypus that should be part of the Berrima River Walk.


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We have read about the German Internment Camp that located at the river: The internees’ constructions during their enforced stay during World War I was built along the Wingecarribee River. Berrima was the only camp that not to confine the more than 300 internees within the camp perimeter. The internees were merchant naval captains, senior officers, the senior executives from German shipping companies with offices in Australia, and a small number of prisoners-of-war from the German light cruiser SMS Emden. The had times when they could leave the camp and were free to shop in the village. The men from larger companies were on half-pay—forwarded from Germany throughout the war. The men were used to confined shipboard life and a disciplined routine. As they were not required to work they put their energy into recreational pursuits—the River was their playground.


On Sunday morning, I tried to photograph at 4 am the Galactic Centre and the Orionids, a meteor shower that marks the second occasion the Earth encounters the stream of debris left behind by Halley’s comet each year. Neither worked out very well due to the strong moon and the light clouds.


After breakfast in Moss Vale,... 


...we embarked on a 4-hour bushwalk in the Gibbergunyah Reserve starting on the Goanna Circuit—without visible goannas. A later search on YouTube confirmed that we heard their hissing sounds.

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During the walk, we saw literally a hundred or more entrants to wombat burrow systems. As they are mostly nocturnal, we saw no wombat. They eat grass and herbs and their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives.


I took a picture of a Red-and-black spider.


In the evening, we had dinner at the Porterhouse Bistro in Moss Vale. On Monday, we did a 3-hour bush walk in Box Vale admiring the Hawkesbury sandstone formation as the paths are cut through the stone.


The Box Vale Walking Track follows the formation of a historic railway line and through a tunnel 84m long. One of the displays showed a picture of a “Saddle Tank” locomotive emerging from the tunnel—it had been built in Leeds, UK, in 1862 and imported to Australia by John Whitton who is recognised as the father of the NSW Railways.


The surrounding terrain is steep and rocky—often with little topsoil that can be used by the wombats to build their burrows. We read that the vegetation is classified as dry sclerophyll forest—most of it was burnt during the December 2019 bush fires that raged through the area. Most trees show new growth and the ground is mostly green now. Since the removal of the railroad line, late last century natural regeneration has occurred along the embankments.


We saw a lot of birds—apparently, they flew away during the fires and are now back, unlike snakes and spiders.


Afterwards, we drove to Berrima for a lovely lunch at the PepperGreen Estate for which we had reservations this time. On Tuesday after checking out at the Briars Country Lodge & Inn in Burradoo, we first visited had a delicious breakfast at the nearby Magpie Cafe in Berrima.

HEI_5515HEI_5515 Our first stop after breakfast was the Bendooley Estate vineyard and tasted (and bought) some vine. Then, we advanced to Centennial Vineyards doing the same but combined it with a light lunch.

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In the early afternoon, we made it to our second hotel, the Blue Wren, Pines Postoral Cottages. We stayed in a cottage with 4.5-metre high window overlooking the pastures. "A spiral staircase leads to a mezzanine level with king-size bed (with electric blanket). When the sun rises, waking up in Blue Wren is magic! An extra luxury is the private cedar-lined sauna. This is a dry Scandinavian sauna, ideal for relaxing in the late afternoon.”

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I flew my drone around the property as the cows did not seem to care. On Wednesday, we woke up dense fog and rain, so we spent a very quiet day with reading and some gallery browsing in Mittagong and Moss Vale. On Thursday, the rain made us postpone our visit to the  Fitzroy Falls to our next trip into the Southern Highlands.

Here some video impressions of the trip:

More picture here.


Wonderful photos!
I must get my hiking boots on next time I head down to Bowral. I usually just go for the food and wine.
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