Southern Highlands Pub & Winery Tour
- Duration: 5 Hours (approx.)
- Location: Wollongong, NSW
- Product code: CENT60
- Rock star entrance to three superb culinary and wine and beer locations
- The mountains, waterfalls and gorges of the Great Dividing Range
- A packed hour long flying schedule amongst spectacular natural scenery
- Experience the unique thrill of a helicopter take-off and landing
- Only minutes flying time until you are immersed in the natural habitat of the Illawarra's mountain environment.
- Barren Grounds in Budderoo National Park
- Landing at Silo's Winery at Berry
- Landing at Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley
- Hampden Iron and Wood suspension bridge
- Fitzroy Falls
- Southern Highlands
- Landing at Centennial Vineyard at Bowral
- Wingecarribee Reservoir
- Macquarie Pass
- Headsets are available for all passengers inside the helicopter so that they can talk to eachother and share the experience while flying.
- Feel free to engage your friendly pilot for his informed narrative and commentary
- Customers should allow 6 hours in total for the whole experience including check-in, safety briefing, photo opportunity around the helicopters, boarding, flight time and then disembarking after flight.
- Free tea and coffee facilities as well as a comfortable viewing lounge overlooking the helipad is available for all passengers as well as for family and friends spectating on the ground
Detailed Tour Description
This full day itinerary of food, wine, beer, helicopters, mountains and waterfalls is a guaranteed sensory delight. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, you're in for a real treat.
As you depart Illawarra Regional Airport your first destination is Silos Restaurant for a spot of wine tasting. But don't let the thought of Silos Estate Wild Ferment Chardonnay distract you from the spectacular views. Within minutes of departure the cliff faces of the Great Dividing Range feel close enough to touch and the foothills of Jamberoo Valley are rolling beneath you.
Soon we are traversing the Barren Grounds Reserve and preparing to descend down into the valley and over the picturesque village of Berry. Berry was originally settled back in 1822 amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in Australia and a real treasure to behold. Famous for its arts and crafts shops and its cafes, Berry is also home to the famous Silo's Vineyard and Restaurant.
Before long we are on final approach for Silo's, established way back in 1870, famous for their "honest and fresh, farm style food" and their selection of wines fermented from grape vines hand pruned and picked on the premises. After an hour of wine tasting and a relaxing walk around the grounds, it is time to move on to the next destination on the itinerary.
Departing from Berry, as we fly over the mountains and valleys of the Great Dividing Range, the evergreen Kangaroo Valley spreads out before us. Formerly know as Osborne, Kangaroo Valley village was first settled in 1817. The first recorded sighting of the valley - other than by the aboriginal Wodi Wodi tribe who trod the tracks of the valley for at least 20 thousand years previously - was by the surveyor/explorer George Evans in 1812 who declared the valley as a sight that "no painter could beautify."
The Friendly Inn is at the heart of Kangaroo Valley Village. Built in 1871 it was a brick and stone construction with 17 rooms. Today it provides for the quintessential Australian country pub experience. Great food and drink, warm friendly locals and spectacular views from the beer garden that make you thankful you decided to drop in and say hello. From our landing spot at the end of the beer garden, you won't have to walk too far to board for the next leg of your tour.
As we bank and turn over the village, climbing out for Centennial Vineyard, keep an eye out for the mighty old Hampden Bridge; a wooden and iron suspension bridge opened for traffic way back in 1898. An aerial view provides a much better platform to appreciate the extent of its span as well as the sandy "beach" below it; a cooling off spot for tourists and locals alike throughout the summer.
Our flight path out of Kangaroo Valley takes us over the absolutely stunning scenery of Morton National Park. The sandstone cliffs of the escarpment and the seemingly endless Aussie bush are reminiscent of the walls of the Grand Canyon and the jungles of South America. As we approach and rise up and over Fitzroy Falls you'll see the immense expanse of Fiztroy Reservoir, as well as the incredible man-made canals feeding water off and down to the bottom of the mountain range to the Bendeela and Kangaroo Valley Power Stations.
The remainder of the journey towards Centennial Vineyards is across the beautfiful rolling landscape of the Southern Highlands; an internationally recognised award winning wine region offering strong competition to other Australian wine producing areas such as the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River. Looking across the undulating patchwork of farmland stretching out below, you will also notice the highest point in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands region - Bells Hill - standing proud at 803m above sea level.
As we land amongst the manicured grounds of Centennial Estate the anticipation of great food, great wine and great views is palpable. A three course meal washed down with perhaps a shiraz or a chardonnay beckons. Take your time, relax and enjoy the surrounding gardens. And then you're ready your helicopter awaits to take you back to base.