This historic village in the Southern Highlands offers a glimpse of Australia’s colonial past and has plenty for lovers of food and wine, too.
1. Visit Bendooley Estate for food, wine and books
Now surrounded by grape vines, the old Berkelouw Book Barn still serves its original function as a sprawling literary heaven for new and antiquated books, but these days it also houses the inspired restaurant of Bendooley Estate.
There’s a separate cellar door with a roaring fireplace and comfy seating perfect for whiling away a wine-filled afternoon.
2. Stay at The Loch or visit on a Sunday for a picnic
Berrima’s most stylish and unique accommodation can be found at The Loch, an inspired conversion of old horse stables where a new mezzanine houses five rooms luxuriously adorned in antique furniture, plush linen and modern bathrooms.
Owned by a successful Sydney-based chef and her furniture-restoring husband, the beautiful grounds of The Loch open to the public on Sundays for an antique furniture store and farmer’s market. Meals made from produce grown on site can be enjoyed on BYO picnic blankets in the garden or by the ‘loch’ (the lake).
3. Sample cool climate wine at Joadja Estate
The Southern Highland’s first winery and vineyard, Joadja Estate pioneered the region’s now blossoming cool climate wine scene. All wines are crafted on site, and visitors are invited to partake in a self-guided tour of the facility before sampling the goods at the cellar door.
Or if you’re lucky, visit when the Estate is holding one if its popular ‘Music in the Vines’ events; outdoor concerts in which guests bring their own picnic blankets, chairs and snacks, or pre-order a pizza made fresh in the wood-fired oven.
4. Step into the past at Berrima Courthouse
The Berrima Courthouse is the heart of the historic village of Berrima, which was established in the 1830s during an era of great exploration during which NSW underwent massive change from a penal colony to a rural settlement.
Take a self-guided tour through the majestic building and enjoy looking at more than 200 black and white photos of the village dating back to the 1830s. In the main courtroom over 50 mannequins are dressed in period costume depicting the court of the day. There is also a wide screen audiovisual film of the life and times of Berrima.
5. Discover Georgia-era domesticity at Harper’s Mansion
Positioned on a hill overlooking the historic colonial village of Berrima you’ll find Harper's Mansion. It’s a grand, 1834-built brick house surrounded by two acres of charming cool climate gardens. The house has been restored to authentically depict an early Australian Georgian country house.
The garden boasts a long hazelnut walk, a large pond home to native frogs and an old well. And not to be forgotten, children young and old will delight in the extensive maze, formed by a tall leylandii hedge.