I’m of the impression that most tourists only think of Sydney Harbour and The Blue Mountains as being the great tourist destinations in and around Sydney. True, they are amazing places, but there are heaps of places within a stone’s throw of Sydney that offe rewards. With this in mind I decided to take a day trip with my visiting mother to somewhere else.
She’s been to the must do’s in Sydney on previous trips. So we decided to check out some of the Southern Highlands. We jumped in the trusty Prado, and headed south down the F1 connecting to the Hume Highway via Appin and Wilton Roads and then onwards to Bowral. I quite enjoy the little single lane bridge across the Cataract river on this route.
First stop, Bowral. Bowral is a pretty town with quite a lively high street. We pulled over for a coffee and cake on the high street. We had to dodge a few political parties drumming up support for the upcoming elections. Eventually l. I just put on my best South African accent and told them I was a tourist which seemed to get rid of them.
Picking our way round a *ahem*, more mature. performer singing “Kum-by-ah m’Lord”. Not sure if she’s a regular member of the community or not. We found our coffee and cake at the Gumnut Patisserie on the main drag. Seriously awesome pastries. Check it out if you are ever passing through. Suitably refreshed we moved on.
Mum hates cricket so we didn’t head to the Bradman museum opting to head up hill to the Bowral and Mt Jellore lookouts. These afford some great views across the valley and towards Nattai and Kanangra wilderness areas and the Blue Mountains (Katoomba). There is some ok signposting and a noticeboard depicting the old government quarry.
Next it was off to Fitzroy falls, where I had planned a detour through the Morton National Park. It added a little bit more to the journey than I thought, and gave me a bit of a scare. I’d last come down here in the rain about a year ago and the route wasn’t too bad…. hmm.
We came across a seemingly abandoned car, that couldn’t make it up a little jump up after a creek crossing. We found the owners about 3km??? along the road heading back from a walking track. We stopped at the locked gate and followed the track for about 5 minutes to a vantage point. We took in the views and some obligatory scenic photos before heading towards Fitzroy falls.
It was after this stop that I caught a bit caught out. The last trip hadn’t seen any big holes on the trip, and being dry I figured we’d be ok when we came across the puddles. All were OK except this one which was a bit deeper than I thought. Just goes to show, even in National Parks you should check the water before you cross.
As you get to the falls the road gets narrower and you have to watch out for walkers. The look on one man’s face was priceless as he walked round the corner on what looks like a walking track, to be confronted by a muddy 4wd heading towards him!
We eventually made it to the falls and had good look round but only walked to the closest lookout, having passed on in the 4×4 earlier. After a bit or rain the falls were flowing so there was something to see, unlike my last visit when they were just a trickle. We took a bit of a walk round the rim to the Jersey lookout and then headed back.
We’d planned to have lunch in Kangaroo Valley but my detour meant it was now about 3:30 so we cut our losses and headed back through Kangaroo Valley to Berry and back to Sydney. The route along Kangaroo valley road, whilst windy again offers some great views across the valley.
The run back up the Princes highway was uneventful and we took a little detour via the Coast road, and the Seaforth bridge, with a quick stop at Stanwell Tops for an icecream and a quick selfie. On the way back to the Highway via Heathcote, we decided to do a quick side trip to Kelly’s falls. Its not much of a sign but the falls are right by the car park. The rain had made the falls flow so we picked our way over the top on the stepping stones and to the first viewing area where a bearded dragon scared the life out of me as it shot over my foot.
Soon with the sun dipping below the horizon we left for Sydney, and were soon back in home after a nice day out, even if we were a little hungry.