Let a local show you around their town for an insider’s guide to all the best bits.
Barbara and Warwick Wainberg are Southern Highlands farmers who adore this corner of New South Wales. In 2009, they fell in love with a grand, abandoned bank in the town of Mittagong. The historic two-storey building, constructed in 1892, was due for demolition until they saved the Victorian-Romanesque-styled property, embarking on a painstaking, seven-year restoration project. Now you can stay in their labour of love, the charming Old Bank Boutique Hotel, opened last September. Here they show
you how to make the most of your time in town.
The nitty gritty:
Where exactly: 90 minutes south-west of Sydney
Population: Around 8000
What’s it all about: A quaint, 19th-century town set among the bucolic countryside of the Southern Highlands, surrounded by vineyards.
Why go? Mittagong is the gateway to the Southern Highlands, with access to vineyards and towns such as Bowral, all just a short drive away.
Mark’s hit list
9am: A country breakfast
Guests in the Old Bank Hotel’s elegant dining room are treated to a hearty, country breakfast with fresh orange juice from the orchard and eggs from farm chickens.
10am: Go for a stroll
We always recommend going for a short stroll to nearby Lake Alexandra, to feed the ducks and enjoy the scenery of this pretty little lake nestled below Mount Alexandra in the heart of town.
11am: Step back in time
Next door to us, the Mittagong Antiques Centre is brimming with treasures. It’s one of the best antiques stores in the region, which is saying something.
1pm: Time for lunch
Onesta Cucina in Bowral, five minutes away, is one of the best Italian restaurants in the Highlands. Open for lunch Thursday to Saturday, it serves exceptional, authentic food.
2pm: Scenic drive
After lunch, take a drive up to the lookouts on top of Mount Gibraltar, which affords views of both Mittagong and Bowral. You can gaze across the Highlands and to Sydney on a clear day.
3pm: Antiques galore
Head to the beautiful new precinct in Bowral called The Acre to visit the stunning, new-look Dirty Jane’s vintage and antiques centre, and its neighbouring cafes and nursery.
5pm: A glass or two
The Highlands boasts so many great, cold-climate wineries; one of our favourites is Bendooley Estate. The iconic Berkelouw Book Barn is there as well as a cellar door, restaurant and lovely gardens.
7pm: Dinner at Josh’s
We love Josh’s Cafe in Berrima, 15 minutes away, for dinner from Thursday to Saturday. The cuisine is Mediterranean inspired and never fails to please.
Bedtime: Make your escape
Back at the Old Bank Hotel, enjoy a complimentary port from the wine cellar (housed in the old vault) in front of our log fires before retiring upstairs to a sumptuous suite.
Weather looking good for the rest of the week? Check out these other fine days: