It’s here that Sydneysiders hop to for that breath of fresh air, and to see pavements of greenery running on forever – 25,600 hectares of it to be exact. Even George Evans, the surveyor-explorer who first discovered Kangaroo Valley in 1812, described the region as a place that “no painter could beautify”.

Almost 200 years later, settlers and developers have kept their unspoken promise to Evans by adopting a hands-off approach to the sleepy valley. Tucking into an Aussie meat pie on the verandah of The Old Barrengarry Store – said to be “the best pies in the world” – is a favourite pastime of passers by.

The oldest surviving suspension bridge in the state, the towering Gothic sandstone landmark of Hampden Bridge, guards the road into town like a drawbridge to a magic realm.

Tiny stores running along the main road hold their share of history; the Nostalgia Factory is like wandering into grandma’s attic, selling original comics, posters and magazines from as far back as the 1800s – a collector’s paradise.

And far from being dry like many spots in our sunburnt country, a cool, hushed air surrounds the Valley at Fitzroy Falls where the pattering sound of the waterfall echoes.

Where? // 158km (2hrs 15mins) south of Sydney, 195km (2hrs 35mins) northeast of Canberra.

Did you know? // Kangaroo Valley has supported several legitimate (and illicit) primary industries in its past, the most prominent being dairy, and perhaps the most interesting being a sideline production in moonshine whiskey in the 1920s.

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