As the saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no Moss Vale deep in the Southern Highlands is just that, a town going places. Edged in by thick green pines, the cooler climate even in springtime is like a pretty English summer. Evergreens, hedges and conifers lining the hillside and pops of tulips and daisies fill the wild winter landscape, front yards and streetside parks. It’s as pretty as a picture but look beyond and you’ll find a town and region still on the move.

On the village greens

There’s no shortage of towns and villages to wander around once you pass through Mittagong, about 90 minutes inland south of Sydney and they’re each made unique by the abundance of local produce, artisan cafes and handmade goodies. Some like Bowral, are full to the brim of restaurant choices, designer tourist stores and mainstream brands and others home to a corner General Store and one Pub. Moss Vale on the other hand, being a little deeper into the Highlands feels more like you’ve landed in an upmarket country town rather than gone in search of one.

Fresh character, old charm

Moss Vale has a little quirky side too with a traditional 1950’s style US diner sitting alongside highbrow homeware stores and artisan cafes. The retro inspired Wine Mosaic Lounge incidentally is straight out of the pop art era, lovingly renovated from the original Bank of NSW built in 1958. With original artwork, it has private dining in what was once the vault. Within minutes walk to Main Street The Old Nunnery has been watching the passings of village life since it’s days as a Catholic Dominican Nunnery in the early 1900’s and is now a contemporary and welcoming B&B.

There’s no question that Moss Vale is home to lavish homesteads and the retired wealthy, but unlike other upmarket small townships, it’s not trying hard to be what’s it’s not. And so you get a warm vibe from the locals who are chatty and interesting, with stories from their animated history and lively rural past.

Southern comfort

The greater surrounds of Moss Vale take you past green dairy pastures east towards Berrima or south west along the meandering road winding into picturesque Kangaroo Valley. The wooden suspension bridge overhanging Upper Kangaroo Valley River or the single lane stone turret bridge as you enter the Valley tell the story of settlers past. You’ll find sandy spots by the side of the gurgling river and feel a million miles away from the ordinary.

Even as a small township Moss Vale punches way above its weight when it comes to eating choices. Thai Som Boon is better than your local favourite Thai dining experience, there’s an authentic Tapas Bar and the renown one hat restaurant Birch, set in the quaint old Post Office. With a spontaneous mid week getaway in mind, you’ll enjoy the spoils of fine wine and food in the surrounds of mythical forests and the gentle countryside.

You might also enjoy Backyard Backpacking to discover more local getaways close to Sydney.

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