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Getaway to the Southern Highlands in NSW drivenow

Southern Highlands NSW - Towns

Founded in the 1830s this beautifully preserved Georgian Village has many sandstone buildings preserved from that period. The Surveyor General Inn posts claim to being the oldest licensed premises in Australia. Other buildings of historical interest include The Holy Trinity Anglican Church consecrated in 1849, and a magnificent house built by a former postmaster in the 1870s which was later to become Magistrate's House.

A leafy little town surrounded by hills with a number of old buildings along its main street was a the fashionable place for Sydney's wealthier families to spend their weekends late last century. The town is well known for its Tulip Festival in Corbett Gardens where special displays are grown each year.

The town site was sold to Explorer and Surveyor General John Oxley in 1815 but he could not pay for it so years later it was given to his sons in recognition of their fathers work. Their family home, Wingecarribee, was shipped, prefabricated from England 140 years ago and is probably the only house of its type in the country today.

200KM south-west of Sydney, Goulburn is Australia's second oldest inland town and the centre of a flourishing farming and pastoral industry. The Old Hume Hwy passes straight through the middle of the town but since 1993 Goulburn has been bypassed by a new divided highway.

The last town in the British empire to be decreed a city in 1863. There a two cathedrals in the town- St Saviours Anglican Cathedral with a magnificent organ of 2252 pipes and splendid wood carving, and SS Peter and Paul Cathedral which is built from sandstone and porphyry. The Big Merino a 15m high merino sheep is a tourist attraction west of the city.

Yass is 62 kllometres (50 minutes drive) north west of the ACT and 280 kilometres (3 hours drive) south west of Sydney on the Hume Highway. The Shire services a total population of 8,800 people with 4,500 living in the attractive township of Yass on the Yass River.

The first discovery of the district by Europeans occurred in 1821 when Hamilton Hume lead a small party to the Yass Plains, which the Aborigines called "Yharr", said to mean running water.

Historically, superfine wool from Yass has attracted world record prices, thereby establishing the area as the Fine Wool Centre of the World -- a reputation of which Yass is very proud.

The Yass soil and Favourable climate has been responsible for producing some top quality cool climate wines with a Ravour comparable to that of the wines from the famous region of Bordeaux in france.

Burrinjuck Dam in the Yass Shire is the summer playground to many avid waterskiers. Year round the vast Dam and its foreshores and tributaries entertain campers, hikers, fishing and sight-seeing enthusiasts and picnickers. In fact, a quarter of a million visitors a year come to experience the splendour of Burrinjuck.

Situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and nestling at the foot of Mount Parnassus in the beautiful Murrumbidgee Valley, the famous town of Gundagai is steeped in history and wonderful heritage attractions. Long a favorite stopping place for travellers along the Hume Highway, historic Gundagai is a fascinating place to visit and learn about many of the uniquely Australian events, characters and buildings which have etched a special place in the folklore of this country.

It was in 1824 that the overland explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell, and then the rivermen Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell, opened up the trail for land-seekers and pioneers.

Five Mile Creek, a few kilometres north of Gundagai, became a popular camping spot for teamsters and their lumbering, supply-laden bullock wagons. Today it's the site of that famous Australian icon, the Dog on the Tuckerbox, along with 'Snake Gully' where four legendary folk characters, Dad and Dave, Mum and Mabel, are enshrined in copper.

Wollongong is the third largest city in NSW, situated one hours drive south of Sydney on a narrow coastal plain below the Illawarra Escarpment. The city is based on heavy industry but still has a thriving tourism business as it lies between the rugged Illawarra coast with beautiful beaches, a favorite for fishermen, surfers and windsurfers as well as the Illawarra Escarpment with fantastic hills and forests, a great place for bushwalkers, rock-climbers and hang-gliders. Lookouts at Mount Keira, Stanwell Tops and Sublime Point offer fantastic views over the Illawarra.

The city's 'Green Corridor' provides a line of Council-maintained parks from Mount Keira on the escarpment, through the beautiful Botanic Garden in Keiraville, to Puckeys Estate on the beachfront. Visitors who prefer the 'city life' will not be disappointed either. Wollongong boasts a fine canopied shopping mall with modern shopping facilities and plenty of parking nearby.

The largest regional Art Gallery in Australia, a Performing Arts Centre and a historical museum are all within walking distance from the city centre.

The huge industrial complex at Port Kembla that once cast a shadow over Wollongong has recently become another tourism feature of the Illawarra area, the harbour and industrial operations of Port Kembla can be observed from a number of special vantage points throughout the complex and a regular charter boat service can take you 'close to the action'. Scenic flights over the harbour and city may also be arranged.

Lying to the south of Wollongong this pretty coastal village is a mecca for water sports. To the north Lake Illawarra, surrounded by a 25km cycleway, provides a haven for waterskiing, sailboarding, canoeing, paddleboating, fishing, and prawning.

The Marine Aquatic Reserve at Bushrangers Bay just south of the township is a favoured spot for snorkelers and scuba divers and the magnificent rainforest at Maquarie National Park is a main attraction.

Twenty minutes drive south of Wollongong this picturesque township is surrounded by rugged coastline with beautiful beaches and the famous Kiama Blowhole.The Minnamurra Rainforest, Australia's southern most accessible subtropical rainforest is just a 15 minute drive out of town.

Photo courtesy - Tourism NSW
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