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Bowral - The Fashionable Countryside
bowral nswIdeally, positioning of the Southern Highlands in New South Wales has essentially make it the world class tourist destination that it is today. Its central position between Sydney and Canberra, makes it a perfect place for a relaxing weekend away or family holiday. Everything about this magical place draws in the visitors; the countryside takes your breath away with rolling green hills, lush, thick rainforests and world-renowned National Parks. The huge mansions, boutique stores and luxury resorts of the old established towns create a quaint atmosphere that seems more suited to Tuscany than Australia! The locals also add to this charm and will give you a friendly welcome that will no doubt contribute to making you want to come back here again and again.

Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Gibralter, Bowral is one of those towns that simply must be visited for the complete Southern Highlands tourist experience. As soon as you arrive in this town you will discover a world of the past. The solid architecture gives it an old-England charm which can easily be enjoyed as you settle down at one of the numerous grassy parks spread around the town. Many of the buildings are heritage listed, adding to the strong sense of history present here. The streets are lined with boutique stores, art galleries and antique dealers which create an upmarket shopping experience that is not often found within small country towns. The European influence on the region, is even more evident through the many restaurants and cafes that are sprinkled throughout town. These all combine to make for a charmingly quaint town that simply must be visited.

Bowral is the type of destination that maintains its appeal, no matter what the weather. It is perfect in the winter because the weather is just chilly enough that you can nestle up beside the log fire in an old English-style mansion. In spring, the flowers come to life, lining the streets with colour and vibrance. The gardens here are world-renowned and allow you to gain an appreciation of nature, beauty or gardening. But there are also other attractions that do not depend on the weather. Bowral's favourite son is none other than cricketing legend Donald Bradman, who spent much of his formative years here. The Bradman museum was established in recognition of this fact, and is a must-see for any sporting enthusiasts or those who just love Australian history. It takes a comprehensive look at the early days of cricket, and has a large collection of artifacts relating to the career of Bradman.

Bowral is a great base for a holiday of the Southern Highlands, and there are a number of accommodation options for you to choose from. However, if you really want to get a true sense of what this town offers, the best place to stay at would have to be the Berida Manor. This historic house was built in 1925 and has been converted into a country retreat with 56 large rooms that will take you on a journey to the charm and nostalgia of yesteryear. There are two tennis courts on site, a heated indoor pool, an 1870's billiard table and all the luxuries such as a sauna, spa and beauty treatment facilities. After filling your day with these luxurious activities head to the cocktail bar for a drink, and then dinner at the a la carte Manor Restaurant.

Inside the beautiful Berida Manor alone you will come across many wonderful things that could easily fill your holiday, but the Southern Highlands are bound call you their way. As you traverse the region and fully appreciate its beauty you will discover some intriguing countryside, especially in the towns of Mittagong, Hill Top and Colo Vale. There are plenty of natural attractions to visit as well, the mos popular of these being the Fitzroy Falls. Located in the Morton National Park next to Fitzroy Village, a sheet of water plunges over an 80 metre high rock face into a pool below. The river then continues its path through the Kangaroo Valley.

Whether you are coming here for a couple's escape or you want the whole family to experience it, the Southern Highlands are sure to offer you everything that your heart could possibly desire. With the comfort of the Berida Manor as your base, and the idyllic landscapes that surround you here, you are set for your tranquil and relaxing escape. Remember that the Bowral Tulip Time festival takes place between September to October, so time your visit with this if you want to experience Australia's premier flora festival!

Christine Barton

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