By Olivia Bourke
Often considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Australia, Kangaroo Valley is a wide valley surrounded by the high mountains of the Southern Highlands. The valley is known for its strong artistic community and beautiful outdoor experiences. Here’s some of the highlights of what you could be doing on a weekend around Kangaroo Valley:
With plenty of opportunities to experience nature and the outdoors of Kangaroo Valley, you can join the Man from Kangaroo Valley Trail Ride which is a horseback riding tour that takes you through the valley’s rich rainforest and mountains, offering panoramic views over Lake Yarrunga and the Kangaroo River. If you want more than the horse ride, you can choose to stay in self-contained lodges with the national park by your doorstep.
Kangaroo Valley camping is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors when you’re staying at the Bendeela camping and picnic area which is set in natural bushland on the banks of Kangaroo River. It offers basic campsites with toilets and drinking water, however there is no electrical power provided. Staying closeby to river allows you to conveniently go fishing and swimming the Kangaroo River and Lake Yarrunga.
For those who love their hiking, there’s the Three Views Walking Track in Morton National Park that treats you to scenic views combined with three lookouts over cliff-edges, birdwatching and wildflowers. With a distance of 9.5km return and 3-4 hour duration, this walk will take some time, so plan accordingly.
Kayaking is also a popular activity at the Kangaroo Valley. You can choose to do half day, full day or multi day canoe or kayaking trips. Expect to see fish swimming down the river and streams, kangaroos casually drinking on the river bank, or maybe even a platypus. You never know what you’ll come across when kayaking down the river.
Sights to See
Decide on your Kangaroo Valley accommodation with ease – there are lots of options available and it doesn’t matter which part of the valley you stay at because everything is closely accessible.
Not far from Kangaroo Valley are Fitzroy Falls and Gerringong Falls. Fitzroy Falls plunges water over 80m to the valley below and is a good place to explore the terrain of the Southern Highlands.At the award winning Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, you’ll be exposed to interesting information on the local history of the area and what kinds of wildlife you can stumble upon in the area.
The wonderful Kangaroo River winds through the Kangaroo Valley and wilderness areas of rainforests, farmland and meets the Shoalhaven River at Tallowa Dam. The dam at Tallowa is a great spot for barbeques and picnics.
Culture & History
Hampden Bridge, a suspension bridge that goes across the Kangaroo Valley is one of the things to see in the area as it is the last surviving wooden suspension bridge in Australia, consisting of gothic Victorian sandstone towers as part of its design. At the bridge is the Pioneer Village Museum.
The Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Museum is the place to go for a day of bushwalking combined with an enrichment of local history of the area. Set up in an area of about 1 hectare, the museum consists of buildings such as a school house, cottage, dairy and war remembrance room built to late 19th and early 20th century standards which hold artefacts from those days.
Once a year, the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival brings in an array of Australian and international folk performers to the area. This three day event celebrates the art, music, dance, poetry and craft of the valley. There are options to camp at several locations in the valley for the festival.
Food & Wine Tasting
In Upper Kangaroo River, the Yarrawa Estate is a winery that you should check out. The vineyard farm is also where macadamia, walnut, pecan, citrus, Japanese raisin trees and other seasonal farm produce is grown. At Yarrawa Estate’s cellar door you can engage in wine tasting and sampling of gourmet local produce.
As for food, there’s a couple of hotspots such as the Friendly Inn Hotel for a good old pub feed, Kangaroo Valley Olives for cooking classes, tastings of locally grown olives and olive oil, the Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop for fresh daily made pies and Kangaroo Valley Fudge House for some sweet handmade delights. Flavours of the Valley is a popular cooking school experience that offers unique culinary activities on a private property that overlooks the bush and cliffs of the valley. It focuses on local produce, quality and gourmet food.
About Olivia Bourke:
A young traveller, writing about each adventure in the hope others will leave their comfort zone, and explore this beautiful planet we live on! Based in Sydney, exploring her own backyard every chance she gets. Check out Olivia on GreatLost.com.