A guide to exploring the Southern Highlands by bike

The Southern Highlands is famed for lush country scenery, exceptional regional dining and its historic towns. This regional guide takes you on a leisurely bike journey, with casual and luxury options at all stops.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Oct 2023 -
min read

Travelling by bike means going slowly – taking in the surroundings, ending up in places you’d never usually go to and working up an appetite for the next great meal. This Southern Highlands circuit is a great bike trip to cycle slowly. The entry-level ride is only two to three hours of riding per day (almost all of it on quiet backroads) and takes you to waterfalls, famous pie shops, beautiful forests and historic towns. Then, depending on your style, you can pick a campsite or luxury accommodation for each night’s rest.

Notewhile this is a three-day tour, it can be easily done in two or four days.


Getting to Mittagong

Public trains leave roughly every hour from Central Station, Sydney, with the journey taking 2.5 hours. It’s free to take your bike, as long as there’s space for the both of you on the carriage. CountryLink is around 40 minutes quicker, but tickets are usually around $15 – $30 (plus an extra $12 for your bike). If you have a car big or well-equipped enough to carry a bike, it’s an hour-and-a-half drive.

Mount Gibraltar in Mittagong, Southern Highlands

Mount Gibraltar in Mittagong, Southern Highlands - Credit: Destination Southern Highlands

Mittagong to Robertson


Cruise through farmyards, tiny towns and Southern Highlands forests. The ride is 28-30km with a few moderate hills. If you want a challenging hill climb with a fun descent, take the southern, slightly longer route.

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Consider getting into Mittagong early so you can take a quick detour to Nattai Gorge Lookout (15km round trip by bike plus a short walking track) and/or have lunch at Paste Australia, a fine-dining Thai restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef.  

Watermelon and ground salmon salad at Paste in Mittagong, Southern Highlands

Watermelon and ground salmon salad at Paste restaurant, Mittagong

At the other end of the ride in Robertson, refuel with an iconic Australian meat pie at the Robertson Pie Shop (it’s been serving the same pies since 1961!) before one more ride to see the local waterfalls. Less than an hour’s ride from town takes you to the epic Belmore Falls to the south or Carrington Falls and its beautiful swimming hole to the southeast (note the ride here has a section on a main road).

The scenic Belmore Falls waterfall in Morton National Park, Country NSW

Belmore Falls, Morton National Park - Credit: Above Down Under by Kramer Photography


Campers should continue 11km southeast from Robertson to reach the Carrington Falls campground, a beautiful site with a swimming hole, picnic tables, toilets and the opportunity to fall asleep to sound of the nearby cascade. Luxury-seekers, book in at the Robertson Hotel, a century-old manor with manicured gardens, a fireplace-warmed lounge and a pool on the edge of a forest.

Guests enjoying a high tea experience at The Robertson Hotel, Robertson

The Robertson Hotel in Robertson, Southern Highlands

Robertson to Bundanoon


The route via Fitzroy Falls is the nicest option. It’s 45km in total and winds through historic towns, countryside and national parklands and past the Fitzroy Falls Reservoir. There are a few hills, including one to start to the day, but nothing gruelling.

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Start your day at one of the best regional cafes in the state, Moonacres Kitchen. The cafe-bakery is the outpost for Moonacres Farm, which is known for serving exceptional produce to Firedoor and other great Sydney restaurants.

Moonacres Kitchen in Robertson , Southern Highlands

Moonacres Kitchen, Robertson

Your ride takes you to Fitzroy Falls, a famous Southern Highlands destination. The huge waterfall lookout is a short walk from the road, as are the starts of many popular walks, which (in the right season) show off incredible wildflower blooms. You’ll also go through Exeter, a tiny town famous for its colossal country manors and a stone church built in the late 19th century.

The scenic Fitzroy Falls at Morton National Park in Fitzroy Falls, Southern Highlands

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park - Credit: Kramer Photography/www.kramer.photography

Once you reach Bundanoon, you have two choices (or both, if you have time). Option one is to take a short ride south (less than 8km there and back) to explore the Fairy Bower Falls and Grand Canyon of Morton National Park. The other is to pamper yourself with a spa treatment and/or a luxurious meal at Osborn House, a five-star hotel operating out of an 1890s-built manor.

Aerial overlooking the town of Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands

Aerial overlooking the town of Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands


The extravagant option is the aforementioned Osborn House. Adding to the grand historic building are interiors designed by SOHO House design director Linda Boronkay; each room is steeped in old-world country luxury. Campers should check out Gambells Rest, a well-equipped campground that connects to the bike trails heading into Morton National Park.

Dining room at Osborn House, Bundanoon

Dinah’s restaurant at Osborn House, Bundanoon - Credit: Osborn House

Bundanoon to Berrima


Take the 25km eastern route for quieter roads and a tasty pit stop in the town of Moss Vale.

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Your first break is at Moss Vale, a charming town with a long colonial history and architecture to show it. If you're ready for lunch, the Southern Highlands Taphouse serves burgers, 300g NY-cut sirloin steaks and portobello pappardelle alongside their award-winning craft beers. For a quick snack, drop into Bernie’s Diner for a Reuben sandwich; it’s been around since the 20s.

Stylish Craft Beer Taphouse at Southern Highlands Brewing Taphouse in Moss Vale, Southern Highlands

Southern Highlands Brewing Taphouse, Moss Vale

In Berrima, reward yourself with a pastry at the famous Gumnut Patisserie, taste test a dazzling array of sweets at Lolly Swagman or book a table at one of the best restaurants in the region, Eschalot. Post-lunch, stroll through town and take in the historic architecture.

Elegant dish made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients at Eschalot restaurant in Berrima, Southern Highlands in the Country NSW

Eschalot, Berrima

An extra 3km ride gets you to Bendooley Estate. The striking estate is home to more than just a cellar door – explore a fancy bistro; a larder selling picnic hampers, cakes and cheese and family pies; and Berkelouw Book Barn, a cafe and bookshop which sells rare, vintage second-hand books.

A table of food inside the charming Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Bendooley Estate, Berrima


If you’re not staying at a Bendooley Estate cottage, Berrima River Reserve Campground is an exceptionally well-equipped yet quiet site to pitch your tent. Alongside river views, enjoy flushing toilets, barbecues, picnic tables and fishing spots all a short ride from Berrima.


Farmhouse and scenic grounds at Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Berrima to Bowral


Bowral is only a 10km ride from Berrima but includes a short but tough hill climb and a fun descent on the other side.

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As the central hub of the Southern Highlands, Bowral is packed with things to do. Keen riders can attempt the climb to Mt Gibraltar (the views will be the reward), pick up a (potentially heavy) souvenir at Dirty Janes Antique Market or explore the history of one of the greatest athletes to ever live at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame.

Home to over 75 independent dealers, decorators and general upcyclers at Dirty Janes antique market, Bowral

Dirty Janes, Bowral

Top quality snacks and take-home goods can be collected at Cheese Etc. Alternatively, plan your final Southern Highlands meal at Italian institution Onesta Cucina, or in the beautiful dining room at Harry’s on Green Lane.

Interior of dining area with fireplace at Harry’s on Green Lane, Bowral

Harry’s on Green Lane, Bowral - Credit: Harry’s on Green Lane

Getting home

Getting you and your bike home is the same route as getting here, with just an extra stop on the train. If you’re going on CountryLink, book early as seats can book out.

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