Pandemic Picks

Are you following the biggest trends that have emerged in 2021 during global lockdowns?

Making your own sourdough, banana bread and preserves are so 2020 as we have upped the ante with our favourites, inspiring enough to put on the to do list for this year

Dalgona coffee emerged during the first few months of the pandemic, and its named after the Korean sugar candy 'dalgona' popular in the 70s and 80s. It’s made by whipping equal portions instant coffee with sugar and hot water into a froth before pouring over milk

#pancakecereal has clocked up over 1.6 billions views as people stuck indoors are looking for ways to take their kinds of their stress and anxiety by joining the Miniature food craze. Apparently smaller versions of everything make people happy.

Creative cooks have made Gardenscape Focaccia a social media trend and we can thank Samin Nosrat on her Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat show on Netflix for kick starting the movement

Cloud Bread has boomeranged back from the 1970’s, Mug Cakes are the new dessert trend and doughnuts have become their own kingdom with favour sensations filling our feeds.

One thing is for sure - localism is accelerating. Here are a few or our favourite local bites that will stay on the menu long after Covid 19 is a memory ….

World Photography Day

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography and with social media being an everyday part of our lives, creativity in imagery has never been important.

Since the early 19th century, photography has become an ever-increasing medium of personal expression. A photograph has the ability to capture a place; an experience; an idea; a moment in time. As the old saying goes 'a picture is worth a thousand words'  Photographs can convey a feeling faster than, and sometimes even more effectively than words can. A photograph can make the viewer see the world the way the photographer sees it.

Photographs even transcend the passing of time - a photo from a hundred years ago can still be as appreciated now, as it was then. A photo taken tomorrow, can still be just as appreciated by others in a hundred years' time. And imagery has revolutionised travel as we see with articles like 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World from Conde Nast Traveller

Let's support rising photographers and anyone who wants to capture the beauty in this world. "Like", comment and share their photos that resonate with you the most #WorldPhotographyDay

Picture from @trend.board



Reconnection Travel Is The Path Ahead

2022 is the year of the Wellbeing Traveller.

Forget revenge travel, the way ahead is all about reconnection as customers are telling us that prioritising meeting locals, understanding cultures, people and place, connecting with the environment and going back to their own heritage through travel is at the top of the bucket list for 2022 when borders reopen.




Berrima Named Top NSW Town

We are excited to share the news that Berrima, the place we call home has won the NSW Top Tourism Town Awards! Against 25 other towns as finalists, we are proud to come out on top in the towns with a population under 5000 residents. 

So, we wanted to share our FAVOURITE things about our town! 

Berrima Vault House - The newly opened Berrima Vault House is a contemporary heritage preserved, 5-star hospitality venue with a private members club!  A must visit venue when in town!

Schmokin AUS -This is one of our favourite places to rest and enjoy the countryside. A place to relax & recharge, meet friends, eat great street food - oh and did we mention the burgers are divine.

Peppergreen Estate -Looking for a cellar door experience or a delicious meal paired with local wines, Peppergreen Estate has you covered. Did we mention their home grown olive oil?

Surveyor General Inn -Built in 1834 for James Harper, the pub has since been transformed into a unique place to visit. Today it's the oldest continuously licensed hotel in Australia.

Berrima General Store -Located in the heart of the town, this is a popular meeting place to grab a coffee, sit down and people watch as you enjoy a pastry from inside.

Gumnut Patisserie - Famous for its delectable treats, Gumnut Patisseie is a must when in Berrima. Weather it be morning tea or for an afternoon snack, their exquisite pastries are award wining!

Harpers Mansion -Get lost in the maze, or explore the stunning gardens surrounding this heritage listed house. Overlooking Berrima, this is the perfect place to start your historical journey of the town.

Berrima Court House -Built in 1838, of local hand-hewn sandstone in Regency style, Berrima Courthouse was used to 1900 to convict crimes from cattle stealing, to notorious  bushrangers and murderers.

Berrima District Museum -This museum brings to life the history of the district. With a digital gallery, visitors can experience the Rembrant exhibition 350 years after his death, showcasing 26 of his greatest paintings.

Simply Inspiring Design

As a nature tourism business protecting the environment is part of our DNA and one thing the COVID 19 pandemic has taught us, is how important our relationship with natural world is on so many levels. Over the summer we have stumbled across some really innovative ways that people all over the world are working with the environment to solve some fascinating challenges. Here are a few to read this weekend that offer some much needed good news.

Known as the world's cleanest waste-to-energy plant, Denmark's CopenHill is a waste-treatment plant 10 minutes from downtown Copenhagen featuring a slope that residents can ski down. Not only do they import rubbish to burn, rather than it going to land fill, but they have created a recreational park in the process. Here is one journalists account of skiing down the slopes of this new hybrid energy source and living building.

Travel with purpose is now the new buzz word and it's great to see Conde Nast taking the lead with its first sustainability issue in March 2021- as the editor Melinda Stevens comments 'So after many months and many discussions, here is our edition focused on exactly the most important matter at hand.

This is the new issue of Condé Nast Traveller. Because we mustn’t get downhearted now. This is when the true commitment begins, for our planet and for the people who live on it. Do as my most lovely Yorkshire-born creative director does in the mornings when times are tough. He looks at me, holds up his fist, gives a smile and says, ‘Come on, let’s go again.’ If you don't subscribe, it's worth every pound for the iPad downloadable monthly issue.


Have you heard about Compton Road in Brisbane? It's a 1.3 kilometre road widening project that cuts through Karawatha Forest, one of the largest areas of remnant bushland and recognised as of national significance. In 2003 Professor Jones was asked to consult on the best way to widen the road and protect local wildlife. What was proposed for Compton Road incorporated a wildlife overpass with rope ladders for possums, poles for gliders and customised culverts to act as tunnels for small animals to pass beneath the road. It was the most ambitious project of its type in the world and it worked.

What this very clever project shows us, is that animals are smart if we just help them. Within 3 weeks of installation koalas were using the ledges to navigate the road, keeping them safe. "Just six months after completion we were absolutely overwhelmed by how many animals were there. On the busiest nights in summer, we had 45 animals using all the crossing installations. Even little animals, which had never seen a structure like it before, were scurrying through an 80-metre tunnel." Professor Darryl Jones.

We need more projects like this in Australia - write to your council, local member and newspaper. Let the revolution begin.

Paradise Without The Plane Ticket

Forget the Plane....Its all about National Parks and our Canoes, Cool Climate Wines & Canapés

"There's escaping the city for an afternoon, and then there's driving 20 minutes down a dirt road to a secluded river and hopping into a canoe. In this canoe, it's quiet, very still.

The Kangaroo Valley's bushland surrounds you, ascending on either side of the waterway, creating a landscape that's punctuated only by the occasional kingfisher flapping by or a solitary trout breaking the surface with a small splash.

And I haven't even mentioned the best bit: this canoe is filled with wine. And snacks. So as you're floating down the river — minimal paddling is necessary — you'll be able to pop a bottle of local sparkling and tuck into a few canapés."

Sometimes its best to let others tell the story

Great words by Lauren Vadnjal after her canoe day with us. This is our signature experience and its an adventure like no other.

Degustation with a Difference

The Highland Valley Forage 

If you missed out in 2020, or are just wanting to come back and experience innovative producers, creative chefs, great wine, intriguing locals and stunning views, we have just released tickets to our March Forage.

This unique degustation event tells the story through food and wine of how the Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven and Coast South of Sydney are connected. From the dry red mineral rich soils of Canyonleigh to the cool climate mountain villages and rolling green hills of the highlands, down the sandstone walls to the valley with all its lush produce and direct coastal access to fresh seafood from the ocean.

As guests wander along the picturesque Three Views Walking track in Morton National Park, they will enjoy a bespoke lunch at 10 stations whilst witnessing, first hand, how far the the Australian bush has come since the 2020 bushfires. And the regrowth, germination by fire and recovery is as much part of the culture of our country as the food the earth nurtures.

Each walking group is 10-20 guests and all health and safety COVID 19 guidelines observed. Click below for tickets and get your accommodation booked before the crowds. 

We hope to see you on Saturday, 6 March 2021

Here's what some of our guests said about the last event - one couple even got engaged! 
"The food was phenomenal. That almond soup, the gazpacho, the goats cheese, and all the amazing flavours before and after them. It was wonderful to see how the country is regenerating and to stand at those view points and watch the weather descend  It really was a fabulous day. Thanks so much to you and all your incredible Southern Highlanders for providing it."
"we cannot thank you and your team enough, as well as all the amazing chefs, suppliers and producers- what a wonderful experience in a rejuvenating landscape. We are already planning on attending future wildfest adventures! For Mike and I, our commitment to each other during the event made it all extra special and being able to share the joy with everyone there"

And if you can not make our Autumn Date - dont worry the Forage is back on Sat 23 Oct 2021 for Spring

Feasts that Ignite the Imagination

Like many of you, we are keen to put 2020 behind us and look ahead so we are excited to announce our 2021 feast line up. We are looking forward to seeing you all at one or more of our events throughout the year.

Autumn Alfresco Lunch – Wine Harvest Feast  Sat 20 March 2021
During the Autumn Equinox it's grape picking time in the Southern Highlands so we celebrate with a lunch in the vines. For the last few years this has been at the award winning Far Ago Hill Vineyard in Canyonleigh. In 2021 we move to a new home at St Maur Vineyard in Exeter. This is a unique opportunity to experience this stunning private vineyard as the autumn colours start to flood the highlands and we go beyond the cellar door to dine in the vines. In addition to tasting Lot41 from St Maur, we will also be introducing you to Wollumbi Estate Wines in 2021.

Here's what our guests say on TripAdvisor
"Such a magical long lunch among the vines – the food was spectacular and the service flawless, accompanied by soft acoustic music from incredible musicians. We went for a friend’s 40th birthday and it will truly remain an afternoon to remember. Thanks to Amanda for being the perfect host!”

Winter Solstice – Feast of the Beast  Sat 19 June 2021
After our sold-out event in 2018, 2019 and a hybrid event in 2020, our Winter Solstice Feast is happening again. This is pure Winter Equinox and back to our forest party feasts pre COVID 19, now that number restrictions have been eased. The menu is designed around a whole beast cooked slowly with fire so get ready for a seasonal culinary adventure with local wines, storytelling, fire-side music and revelry as we bring to life our own local Highland ritual.

Expect a forest feast with Celtic, Nordic and Highland history, woven in. Rug up for dinner cooked by fire to warm your heart, music and tales told by creatives as the days shorten and nights grow cold and misty. Prizes for ‘Best in Feast’ attire so get your costume ready. This is a child friendly event. Not sure if dress up is your thing? Here is what our guests say on TripAdvisor

"Wow what an event! All dressed up in mediaeval costume celebrating the winter solstice in the middle of the Meryla State Forest. Rather chilly but the fires kept us warm together with the mulled wine and my grandma's fur coat. Wonderful group of people and a fun time"

Samhain Feast – Hallows’ Eve Sat 30 Oct 2021
Hallows' Eve also known as Samhain in the Celtic religion, falls on 30 October in 2021, and is traditionally celebrated with a feast as its the night before All Saints Day. We are thrilled to add this new feast to our calendar and have lots of great details to share with you over the coming months.

Join us for a truly magical pumpkin feast representing the five elements of nature - Earth | Water| Fire | Air | Spirit - in this night for druids and witches. Tapping into seasonal, homegrown & wild sourced food we have created a magical menu with match local beverages to bring the past, present and future together in a unique event.

Summer Solstice - Wild Harvest Feast for Yule Sat 18 Dec 2021
Join us for our new Summer Wild Harvest Feast in the picturesque Southern Highlands. Each year we bring in a guest chef to create a wonderful 4 or 5  course dinner cooked by fire. In 2019 had Citi Chef of the Year Lennox Hastie from Firedoor Fame cook our Fire Feast with a menu as delicious as it was creative. Stay tuned for our 2021 guest chef.

Here is what our guests said about this 2019 feast on TripAdvisor
"From the beautifully remote location, to the unforgettable food cooked by Lennox all on an open fire. The night was all tied together with matching local wines and matching top hats and tiara’s. So much thought and effort when into curating the night"

Digital Detox

Join the Digital Detox

Have you heard? Ed Sheerin is on board
Maybe a year off social media is a bit extreme so why not just a few days? Its time to re connect with nature and plan a well deserved break.

It's time to overhaul your Cookbooks

COVID-19 life is a see-saw ride of restrictions, reduced restaurant capacities and isolation, meaning we are all at home more without the luxury of eating out as often as we would like. So it's time to use that extra time to overhaul your recipe bibles, find the best cookbooks that will inspire you and use some of those ingredients you just don't know what to do with.

If You Panic-Bought Too Many Beans...
Beans are trending - lots of us are discovering the diverse textures, flavours, and applications of legumes that used to sit abandoned on dusty pantry shelves. Now's the chance to grab those cans off the shelf, un-bag those dried legumes or grab some fresh produce and test out one of these 125 bean-centric recipes.
You will be so glad you did.

Your Last Tin Of Coconut Milk Is Taunting You
One of the best cookbooks for these times is Jessica Elliott Dennison’s Tin Can Magic, which contains dishes from nine different canned foods, including coconut milk, anchovies, tomatoes, and sweet corn. Each recipe is easy to follow, requires few fussy ingredients, and yields dishes that look like something from your favourite farm-to-table restaurant. Time to get creative!

Meat-Free Monday's Are A Thing
More by Matt Preston is all about making vegetables the 'Hero' to any meal. With more than 100 delicious recipes to choose from, with more of everything: flavour, texture, colour, this is a great addition to your collection. Maybe you want to eat more vegetables, or less meat, or try cooking some tasty vegan meals to broaden your repertoire and still put a broad smile on the faces of those you are feeding?
A book destined to be well thumbed from day one.

Moving Salad to The Centre
Community, by Hetty McKinnon moves salads firmly to the centre of the plate, injecting colour, life and flair into everyday vegetables, and showing you how to achieve exciting flavours and hearty main meals with simple, nourishing ingredients. Hetty's passion for vegetables aims to inspire others to use these colourful, vitamin rich foods in every meal, everyday. Perfect for vegetable garden inspiration as you harvest your first COVID 19 Winter crops.

Family Food & Feelings
Family Food & Feelings by Kate Berry takes you through the year, school term by school term. It’s often hilarious, sometimes dark and full of recipes that satisfy kids and adults alike. More than a cookbook, this is life-affirming, warm and incredibly real. Family, Food & Feelings will be your friend on the shelf for good days and bad, and everything in between. We have all been there, and we're not alone.

Living off the Land - Australian Native Foods
From Warndu founders Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard comes Warndu Mai, or “good food” in the Adnyamathanha language. This cookbook inspires Australian's to use the native ingredients of the land and recognise indigenous knowledge and custodianship. It deserves a place in every Australian kitchen and we get more adventurous and enjoy native foods like never before.

Taking Cooking in the Wild to the Next Level
Sarah Glover brings you rich flavours in the great outdoors - evoking sight, smell and the taste of the Australian Wilderness. Weather it be on the edge of a windswept cliff, in a clearing in the forest, or on a sandy stretch of beach, this book helps you discover how easy it is to create a stunning four-course meal with a few pots and one fire. Her recipes are simple and straightforward-often involving only a handful of ingredients-and her instructions are easy and clear. And right now she has an outdoor kids cook book in the works....we are standing by for that one.

Recipes for the Quintessential Garlic Lover
We all know that Garlic is a superstar ingredient unlike no other, so we absolutely love this Garlic Feast cookbook by Janice Sutton. Whether roasted, fried, pickled, fermented, smoked or any other way, garlic is the cornerstone of cuisines throughout the world. And its very easy to grow, so maybe this is the start of your vegetable garden.

The Iconic Australian Cookbook
No Aussie household would be complete with this classic cookbook. The Complete Margaret Fulton Cookbook is the biggest and most comprehensive cookbook yet. The 500 carefully chosen recipes cover a broad spectrum of cooking techniques, meals, snacks, hors d'oeuvres and desserts. They range from the simple to the elaborate and include comprehensive sections on stocks and sauces, herbs and spices, soups and egg dishes, meat, poultry, pasta and cakes and bread. A must for an Aussie Kitchen!