There’s nothing I love more than a short trip to the countryside, especially when food and wine are involved. As I started writing this post, I just came back from a two-day weekend trip to the Southern Highland, about two hours’ drive south from Sydney. It was the Labour Day long weekend and one of Nat’s old friends from Melbourne came up for a wedding in nearby Moss Vale so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out Bowral and the Southern Highlands region.
It was lovely. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful and memorable. The route was very picturesque; the town was full of gorgeous country houses; the people were friendly; and the atmosphere was very relaxing. Everything just seems to move at a slower pace here.
We stayed at a gorgeous dog-friendly accommodation in Exeter called the Woodland Studio. It’s a stylish, freshly refurbished two-bedroom bungalow in a lovely farm filled with beautiful trees, sheep and even an alpaca! Missa (my 9 year old spoodle) loved the place. (Except when she was tied up to a tree when we were feeding the lambs).
Seriously, how cute are these baby lambs!
We went to Bendooley Estate and had lunch at their restaurant, which is inside a beautiful book barn (apparently it’s the original Berkelouw’s site?). It is situated in a gorgeous location, among rolling hills just outside the town of Berrima. We sat outside as we had Missa with us. We got ourselves a table next to the log fire, which was good, as it was cold and windy, but we avoided rain, so we were lucky.
The menu had a good list of vegetarian dishes – we ordered two (an entrée and a main) and a bowl of fries to share. They arrived looking amazing as expected, however, the fries out-portioned both of the ‘proper’ dishes so much than it felt like were eating fries with veggies on the side, instead of the other way around. Nevertheless, the food was delicious.
After lunch we visited the book barn inside the restaurant. It was a bit smaller than expected (apparently it used to be much bigger), but it had a lot of quirky books. I imagine that it would be very easy to get lost among the bookshelves as they have so many books (both second-hand and new) across so many different genres and categories, from military books, to ancient Greece history, to needlework, there’s a bit of everything.
As nice as lunch was, the highlight of our day was dinner at Biota Dining in Bowral. I’ve wanted to go to Biota ever since 2012 (back when I was a fine dining aficionado) so when Nat told me we were going there I was over the moon.
So we went, and we wined and dined and we had a good time. Biota is pretty similar to Sepia in Sydney’s CBD in that they don’t reveal their dishes until they’re being served – ‘the chef likes to keep it a surprise’ said the waiting-staff. I’ve never understood this, but as long as they were able to give me vegan options (which they did – thank you, Mister Chef), I was happy. And the food was really good! Definitely worth the trip.
And to top of the weekend, there was a Food and Wine Festival taking place at the same time. Call it a fortuitous coincidence but I believe there’s a reason for everything. And in this instance, I think the universe wanted me to taste Banjo’s Run exquisite drop of wine. And, boy, are they good. Really good. There was one particular bottle that I absolutely loved and I’m not even going to tell you which one because I have a cunning plan of buying all their stock so I can keep them all for myself and live happily ever after. Seriously though, it was that good! Sorry, I have no pictures of the festival, but I am working on a video clip of my trip so stay tuned!
But let me tell you. festival was filled with lots of delicious wines (luckily, because the food wasn’t that vegan-friendly) and it was really hard for me to keep my wallet in my pocket! So I employed my rule of three: that is, to limit myself to just three bottles of wines. So I went and bought three.
It was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in a long time. Spending time with people you love, enjoying the relaxed and laidback countryside, eating delicious local foods, and feeding lambs and an alpaca on the side. That my friend, is what I call – a great weekend!
Hope you’re having a good weekend too!
P.S. Here’s a couple of videos I made during my trip to Bowral and the Southern Highlands. Hope you like it.