3 hours 36 mins from Sydney
Hilltops, in southern NSW, less than two hours’ drive from Canberra, embraces Boorowa, the twin towns of Harden and Murrumburrah, and Young. Young is noted for its juicy cherries and other stone fruits, but wine was part of its history as early as the 1880s. Its second wind, though, arrived in the 1970s and Hilltops vineyards now cover nearly 600 hectares. All the mainstream grape varieties are here, although the reds have proved the most successful. Shiraz punches above its weight, but there’s a quantity of cabernet sauvignon and Italian reds are flexing their muscle, too. BTW, the butchers win prizes for their sausages around here! Weekends away are rewarded with pubs, antique shops, architecture, big country meals and pit-stops for local honey and grass-fed beef. Tumbarumba, further south, boasts boutique labels whose producers make an important contribution to the greater Riverina by supplying cool climate fruit, mostly chardonnay and pinot noir. Much of the grape crop from the region is sold to major wine companies with production facilities outside the area.
Contributor, Gourmet Traveller WINE
A tribute to the early settlers and their gold rush contribution - March
One-stop shop to road test all the local drops - September
Boorowa is home to fine merino wool, studs and flocks - October
Big kites soaring, workshops, street performers, 60 market stalls - October
Three days of festivities, parades, competitions, music and markets in December
The town of Young is two hours from Canberra and about four hours from Sydney. Other notable towns in the region are Harden and Boorowa.
CountryLink operates service to Young from Cootamundra. Cootamundra has direct train services to and from Sydney Central Station and Melbourne Southern Cross, taking about 5.5 hours. More information on https://transportnsw.info/regional Young Community Transport offers a bus service between Canberra and Young. For more information, visit http://www.youngcommunitytransport.org.au/
Canberra airport is the closest airport, about an hour from the Hilltops region. Canberra airport has flights to all major Australian cities and direct flights to New Zealand and Singapore.