With today's busy lifestyles, those delicious weekend getaways we so enjoy can find themselves pushed right to the very back of the back burner. And yet there is so much to explore on our doorstep, if only we can make some time.
Berrima in the southern highlands of New South Wales is the perfect example of a distinctly interesting destination, situated around an hour and a half by car from either the Canberra or Sydney CBD. My co-pilot and sous chef, Peter, and I have driven through Moss Vale countless times on our way to and from the Illawarra in the last several years. Every time we've commented on the sign pointing to Berrima, noting that it has been far too long since we last called in to the area. Recently we decided to stop and revisit the beautifully preserved Georgian village, which is said to be the only one of its period in New South Wales.
The town was established in 1831 as the result of the then Surveyor General, Sir Thomas Mitchell, being commissioned to find an easier route from Sydney to Goulburn. One historical reference says the Surveyor General and the then Governor were impressed by its situation in a 'picturesque valley, with a good supply of water from the river and many springs in the area, [as well as] the availability of sandstone for building.'
What was once the 'village green' or 'common' is now the road through the town's centre and both sides of the road are lined with tall trees and rather magnificent buildings, including a row of cottages as well as a gaol (circa 1836, still operational!), a court house (1838), and the Surveyor General Inn (1834, the oldest continually licensed inn in New South Wales). Many of these were built by convict labour and have been beautifully preserved.
We arrived mid afternoon and checked in to the Berrima Bakehouse Motel for the night. The reception was warm and welcoming and our host presented us with a range of options for dinner, as well as breakfast in the morning. There is much to see and do in this fine little town and we will definitely visit again soon. Here are my postcards and morsels from our stay.
Good things to see and do in Berrima...
Breakfast at the Olde Magpie Café...
The Old Bakery cottage and tea rooms...
Berrima Cottage Nursery...
Duck in and explore the various specialty shoppes & galleries...
In a nutshell...
If you plan to visit Berrima, there is motel, inn and B&B cottage-style accommodation in the Old Berrima township. There are caravan parks, as well as apartments and hotels in neighbouring Moss Vale and Bowral. For more information about Berrima, see the Destination New South Wales web site.
Tell me dear readers, do you enjoy weekends in quirky little townships? What's your favourite place to visit and explore?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.