With an elevation of 1,113m, the rural town of Oberon on the western fringe of the Greater Blue Mountains enjoys four distinct seasons, with frequent dustings of snow creating a winter wonderland. Surrounded by wilderness and pine forests, Oberon lures adventurers and campers, while the formal garden beds of beautiful Mayfield Gardens are a colourful canvas of botanical delights any time of year.
Garden of dreams
Mayfield Garden is Australia’s largest privately-owned cool climate garden, inspired by the grand estates of England. Following winding pathways through a Japanese-style water garden, with wooden bridges leading to hidden grottos, waterfalls and secret nooks. Take a rowboat onto the lake, or admire the 13m obelisk, framed by an avenue of plane trees. The garden also hosts seasonal festivals and summer glamping, while an on-site café utilises fresh produce grown on site.
Things to do
While the timber industry is one of the town’s biggest employers, the pine forests that give the town its European ambience have also become a tourist attraction in their own right, with a network of trails providing opportunities for walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders and 4Wdrivers. In autumn, foragers descend upon the forests to hunt for mushrooms; take a tour with Detour Adventures, or visit during the annual Field to Forest festival in April to celebrate the harvest.
Explore the wilderness on one of the many great drives. Beginning in Oberon, the historic Oberon Colong Stock 4WD Route takes you through the southern part of Blue Mountains National Park and the historic mining ghost town of Yerranderie. Stop at the serene Oberon Dam on your way, a popular spot for trout fishing.
The open country of the Oberon district is ideal for horse riding, with breathtaking views and trails for riders of all abilities. High Country Trail Rides and Yarrabin Holiday Ranch are two long established riding operations with great reputations. High Country Trail Rides also take quad bike tours through the mountains.
Only half an hour away by car, Jenolan Caves is a world-class wonderland, a labyrinth of stalactite-lined limestone caves sculpted by underground rivers. Both Abercrombie Caves and Wombeyan Caves are also nearby, though currently closed to COVID-19 restrictions.
Meet the growers
On the first Saturday of each month the Oberon Community and Farmers Market is held at Oberon Showgrounds, with freshly baked breads and pastries, locally grown fruits and vegetables, preserves, art and crafts, designer jewellery, plants, and alpaca products.
Getting there and where to stay
Oberon is a three-hour drive from Sydney, or an hour from the Blue Mountains. You can also catch a train to Tarana, then catch a connecting coach service to Oberon. The whole journey takes around four hours.
Farmstays and rural retreats are a signature of the Oberon district. Commune with friendly farmyard animals at High Country Farm Stay or Avaleigh Elms Farmstay; or stay in a comfortable cabin at Melaleuca Mountain Retreat. The truffle farm Lowes Mount Truffiere offers modern contemporary accommodation in a new two-bedroom sustainable house.