Southern Highlands nature

Southern Highlands Nature

From spectacular waterfalls to breathtaking lookouts and historic parkland trails, the Southern Highlands is home to one of Australia’s most vibrant natural playgrounds. Explore lush rainforests, cycle through open woodland or visit the local gardens as thousands of tulips burst into bloom. The region’s natural treasures are a must-see.

Waterfalls and rainforest

Plunging more than 80 metres to the valley below, the magnificent Fitzroy Falls are a breathtaking spectacle in the Morton National Park. Enjoy a view of the falls near the accessible Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre. You can also walk to the magical Fairy Bower Falls or explore the East Rim and West Rim walking tracks along the escarpment.

A short drive east you’ll find the spectacular Belmore Falls with views of sandstone flora. Near Robertson on the Illawarra escarpment, explore the Macquarie Pass National Park and follow the Cascades Walk through lush rainforest and towering eucalypts to the beautiful Cascades Falls.

Walking trails

Near Mittagong, the Box Vale Mine walking track follows an old railway line through a tunnel to breathtaking views of the Nattai Gorge. For bird lovers, the Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve in Moss Vale is perfect for spotting waterbirds. The Lovers Walking Track winds through open forest and native flowers to scenic views at Echo Point.

A short drive south is Bundanoon, popular for bushwalking and cycling trails, including the Bundanoon cycling route. Follow the Illawarra lookout walking track for spectacular views, native wildflowers and an array of birdlife. Nature lovers will also enjoy the Rainforest walking track in the Robertson Nature Reserve.


The Southern Highlands is also home to some of Australia’s most beautiful private gardens. Many of the region’s historic country manors are surrounded by immaculately landscaped grounds, inspired by traditional English gardens. Visit the superb grounds of the historic National Trust-listed Harper’s Mansion, with its cool-climate plants and large hedge maze.

Take a gentle stroll around the landscaped gardens at Red Cow Farm in Sutton Forest. In Bowral, the vibrant annual Tulip Time Festival celebrates the arrival of spring in the beautiful Corbett Gardens and the new Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens is a community garden with sculptures and a nursery with a mix of exotic and native species.

Getting there and where to stay 

The Southern Highlands is around 90min drive from Sydney and less than two hours from Canberra. You can also catch a direct train from Sydney to Bowral, which takes around two hours. Places to stay suit various budgets with campgrounds, motels and B&Bs, as well as luxurious retreats on vineyards and historic manors-turned-hotels such as Peppers Manor House and Hopewood House.