Young and Hilltops Area
Taste elegant wines and gourmet local delights, visit pretty orchards, and explore intriguing heritage in the beautiful Young and Hilltops region, the cherry capital of Australia north of Canberra. This enticing Country NSW escape is where Australia’s first commercial cherry orchard was planted in 1878.
In spring the sea of pink and white cherry blossoms is stunning. On the south-western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, the main cherry-picking season is from late October to late January. The rich red soil is home to more than 20 stone-fruit orchards and the acclaimed Hilltops wine region.
Getting to the region is easy. The drive from Canberra to Young is less than two hours and from Sydney four hours. For a scenic train trip, Harden is a stop on the Melbourne-Sydney railway line. The nearest major airports with car rental services are in Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Bathurst.
With so many wonderful things to do and see, and marvellous festivals and markets, stop at the Young Visitor Information Centre in a colonial railway station for great advice. You’ll find plenty of places to stay, from riverside camping and caravanning to farm stays, retreats, motels and pubs.
Delicious food and wine experiences are a big attraction, from tasting cool-climate reds at cellar doors to visiting orchards where you can pick your own cherries. Winery tours are available, such as , and you can browse gourmet food shops. There are gift and antique stores too.
A fun events calendar includes flying kites at the colourful Harden Kite Festival in Harden, watching the Running of the Sheep spectacle at the in Boorowa, and enjoying the carnival atmosphere of the in Young. The three-day cherry festival is in December.
The history and heritage of the region is fascinating. There are self-guided tours and discover the colonial gold rush and notorious bushrangers at the Gold Trail Experience in Harden, the rammed-earth Boorowa Historical Museum in Boorowa, and at the Lambing Flat Folk Museum in Young.