NSW Southern Highlands with Sarah K – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog. | Daily life
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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    NSW Southern Highlands with Sarah K – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

    I’m originally from Perth, but left WA to study at university in Melbourne, taking architecture at RMIT and film at VCA.  My family and I then lived in Sydney for 10 years, and spent two years in Hobart before relocating to Moss Vale in New South Wales’ Southern Highlands. We have family who have long lived in the area, and we often travelled from Sydney to spend a weekend here before settling in more permanently in 2012.

    What I love about Moss Vale and its surrounds makes for a long list: the majestic trees and gardens, the fact that I can grow my own produce (fruit, nut and maple trees) as well as rare beautiful flowers (there are lots of black, white and blue flowers in my garden). I also enjoy how, in a smaller community like this, all types of people are thrown in together, and then of course the ease of getting around in comparison to a city.

    In terms of natural beauty, the landscapes are so beautifully varied. There are pockets of lush rainforest (especially around Robertson and Burrawang), and then some of the clusters of ancient sassafras trees along laneways make it seem like you’re somewhere in the English countryside, but they’re are in fact native to these parts.

    The area’s wine and boutique beer industries have really blossomed, and the cafe culture is finally happening too. Moss Vale had been regarded as a bit of ghost town in terms of retail and life on the main street, but things are changing, there’s a new vibrancy!

    The higher altitude here means a colder climate and high rainfall, which is part of the reason for the incredibly beautiful gardens; the spring and autumn are really spectacular. Throughout the colder months, stop in at one of the restaurants or pubs and sit beside a warm fire with friends while you enjoy a drink or hearty meal. This is also my favourite time for flowers – look out for the hellebores and bulbs, especially snowbells and miniature iris!

    The spectacular Fitzroy Falls in the Morton National Park is just under a two hour drive from Sydney. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    NSW’s Southern Highlands are known for their cool temperate climate, lending to an abundance of wineries, dairy farms, beef studs and sheep properties. This shot was captured en route, a few kilometres before arriving to Fitzroy Falls. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    Sarah was stoked when Highlands Merchant opened in Moss Vale. The cafe is owned and run by Lisa Wisken, pictured here is Head Chef Rachel Howlett. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    ‘The area’s wine and boutique beer industries have really blossomed, and the cafe culture is finally happening too,’ says Sarah over lunch at Highlands Merchant. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    Sarah is calling Dirty Jane’s the best place for second-hand Australian and European goods in NSW, if not the whole country! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    The precinct occupies a whole block in Bowral, and is divided into more than 75 stalls. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    After a day of sight-seeing and shopping, Sarah K leads us to Bistro Officina for an espresso martini and a hearty meal. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    Alexandra from France and her Italian husband, chef Nicola Coccia, run the place, which boasts a bistro menu is focused on Mediterranean cuisine and premium meat specialities. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    Bistro Officina. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.


    ‘Throughout the colder months, stop in at one of the restaurants or pubs and sit beside a warm fire with friends while you enjoy a drink or hearty meal,’ Sarah recommends. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

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