A guide of what to do in Berrima, NSW.
This beautiful, historic village is like the grand old dame of The Highlands. Berrima’s stunning sandstone buildings, country cottage gardens and river walks make it super popular with visitors and Highlanders. There are plenty of gorgeous cafes and bakeries for delicious breakfasts, brunches and lunches, and Berrima is also home to some pretty fabulous restaurants – including the fabulous Eschalot – and a fun, country pub. Get your history fix at Harper’s Mansion (check in with them first as they have some COVID restrictions happening) and the local museum, visit the lovely gallery or just shop ‘til you drop – so many gorgeous stores! Here’s The Fold’s guide to all things Berrima – what to do, see and experience in this beautiful town that time forgot (but remembered again!).
Berrima’s location on the banks of the Wingecarribee River means there are some gorgeous spots for picnics, barbecues and leisurely walks. One of our faves is the Stone Quarry Walk, also known locally as the Platypus Walk which starts behind the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. If you have the patience to sit tight, you may even catch a glimpse of a platypus! We love the Berrima River Walk - it's like a history lesson and workout all rolled into one! And if you’ve got a kayak or canoe, you can drop it in here and head west up the Wingecarribee for a leisurely paddle.
JUST FOR KIDS
You know that a park with a flying fox is always going to attract the little ones, right? Berrima Market Place Park, smack bang in the middle of the village has one! A fantastic playground with loads of green space for kids to run off the sugar rush they may have got from visiting The Lolly Swagman, a traditional lolly store literally bursting at the seams with anything and everything sweet and delicious. You can also grab the kids [and you!] an ice cream cone at The Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop [be sure to pick up a basket on your way in as you'll likely want to fill it with all the jars and bottles of hand-made deliciousness you'll find in the shop].
There are so many fabulous stores in Berrima. It’s the diversity of offerings we love! Meander your way from the top of the village down the main street ducking in and out of the gorgeous shops – fashion, homewares, goodies for the foodies, and gorgeous arts and craft items. We could spend all day wandering around shopping here (in fact, we have!). And don’t forget about Berrima Schoolyard Markets on the fourth Sunday of every month – it’s a busy, fun market with a buzzy vibe - they've been closed this year due to COVID but we're hoping they return in 2021.
The Berrima District Museum is a place to while away a rainy afternoon. The passionate museum volunteers help bring local stories to life – historical AND current – with a mix of state of the art digital storytelling, gorgeous photography and awesome historical treasures. And the fabulous Whitewall Art Projects is another place to take shelter and get your creative fix thanks to the vision of Gallery Directory Thomas Bucich - this is a stunning gallery full of super-interesting art from locals, the Australian Masters and international artists.
WINING + DINING
There are some pretty amazing restaurants in Berrima. For a small town, it has a super impressive roll call of wining and dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Josh’s Café, Eschalot and PepperGreen Estate's Tasting Room are all fab options for a delicious lunch or night out. Head a little further afield for The Loch’s legendary Sunday lunches, Joadja Estate's awesome live music events or taste wine, buy a book and eat delicious food by the fire at Bendooley Estate. We are also loving the new addition to the local foodie scene - Schmokin is a unique mix of live music, food, drink, motorbikes, e-bikes, clothing and more - told you it was unique!
STEP BACK IN TIME
Harper’s Mansion is a beautiful Georgian residence, built in 1835 and furnished in colonial period style. It’s a super way to learn more about what life was like in The Highlands in the 19th century. One of the best things about Harper’s Mansion is the gorgeous two acres of garden it sits within. Rose bushes, fruit and vegetable gardens, a woodland walk and (this is a local favourite) a garden maze! They've only just reopened due to COVID and have some restrictions in place, so get in touch with them before you visit. You can also tour Berrima Courthouse, built in 1835 and home to numerous trials involving bushrangers and some not-so-law-abiding citizens of The Highlands. Take it to the next level and book yourself in for a night-time ghost tour. Boo!
Sadly, the annual Australia Day event isn't happening in 2021....but pop 26 January, 2022 in your diary - it's too much fun to miss out on two years in a row!
Berrima comes to life on Australia Day – it’s one of the most popular places in The Highlands to celebrate all things Aussie! Markets stalls, jumping castles, live music, face painting, and allllll of the lamingtons. Yum! The highlight is the Grand Parade – such a fun, street parade quite unique to Berrima. See classic cars and vintage tractors, give the emergency service volunteers a wave and clap along with the local bands. Fun for all ages!
What is it about gorgeous, historic villages that attract super-talented and creative people? Pop into Berrima Village Pottery to have a chat with ceramicist Paul Bruce. We also loved getting to know more about New Yorker now Highlander, Thomas Bucich's creative life when we visited him at Whitewall Art Projects recently. Visit Natascha Moy Homewares [just outside the local fave Courtyard Cafe] where the shop is filled with the hand-made and creative wares of people from all over the Highlands.
WHEN FRIENDS COME TO STAY
The iconic Bendooley Estate is a favourite among locals and foodies, and is a must-visit if you’re hosting out-of-towners. The reinvention of the Bendooley Estate began when the Berkelouw family bought the estate forty years ago. Browse the gorgeous Berkelouw Book Barn, settle in for share plates and wine tastings at The Cellar Door or a long lunch by the fire in the main dining room. A quintessential highlands experience, for sure.
Unfortunately, these guys aren't open at the moment due to COVID but when they do reopen, for a change in pace, head to Zen Oasis on Medway Road for a peaceful afternoon escape. The restaurant onsite serves up deliciously, fresh oriental cuisine and loads of super healthy delights – vegetarians will LOVE this place! Walk off your delicious lunch with a stroll around the lake surrounded by gorgeous sculptures. You’ll leave this place feeling super calm and relaxed.
We are so lucky to have so many amazing local businesses in Berrima, and our Business Directory is the place to find them! From medical to manufacturing, beauty salons to builders, pet boarding to finacial planning….The Fold’s Business Directory has got you covered.
OTHER TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
Check out our guide to the other towns and villages in the Southern Highlands.