Insiders’ Secrets – James Viles

15 February 2016

James Viles, Insiders' Secrets

James Viles, Insiders’ Secrets. Image credit: Jason Loucas


Eating out: My favourite spot for a picnic is in the middle of either Penrose State Forest or Meryla State Forest at Fitzroy Falls.

Best view: I always like to go to Oxley Hill Reserve which has great views over the Bowral area. Another great view is from Robertson down towards the coast.

By foot: The best ‘off the beaten track’ walk is from Fitzroy Falls down to Kangaroo Valley in Morton National Park. Make sure you take food, water and a map!

Best brekkie: My favourite breakfast spot is at The Hospital Shop in Bowral for their haloumi burger.

Casual eatery: My favourite place for a casual dinner is Bernie’s Diner in Moss Vale. The chefs and I have had many good times there before and after service.

Shopping tips: So many great shops around Bowral.. my two favourites are Rabbit Trap Timber and Berrima Village Pottery.

I love Bowral because: it’s so diverse, it’s around 700m above sea level, it’s only 40 minutes’ drive to the ocean and 1 hour from Sydney. I also love seeing all the great small businesses setting up shop here now – it’s the best it’s ever been.

What I love most about the Southern Highlands: The region as a whole has so many different producers growing everything from berries to dairy, meat, vegetables, nuts and even truffles!!! It’s unreal.

Romantic dinner: Biota of course.

Just for kids: Somewhere to take the kids in mushroom season is out to one of the forests to collect pine mushrooms.

Where to splurge: Stay the night at Milton Park in a beautiful old hotel with a lot of stories.

More to discover: There’s a lot I still don’t know about the region but that’s the best part – it’s undiscovered.