Six ways to spend a mini-break in the Hilltops region | HerCanberra

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Six ways to spend a mini-break in the Hilltops region

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Ahoy there, minibreak! With many of the ACT’s neighbouring NSW jurisdictions now open to Canberrans, weekends away have become a reality once more.

One destination perfect for those with itchy feet but not a lot of time is the Hilltops region—a picturesque spot located just 90 minutes northwest of Canberra.

The Hilltops encompasses the townships of Jugiong, Harden-Murrumburrah, Young and Boorowa—and if these names aren’t familiar to you, they should be.

With rolling scenery, vineyards, canola fields, cherry orchards, cute little towns and delicious paddock-to-plate dining, the Hilltops is the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway—after you finish patronising Canberra’s own restaurants, bars and shops that also need your help after a long lockdown, we might add.

However, we also understand why some Canberrans are keen to stretch their legs, and if that’s you, here are five things to include in your Hilltops adventure.

A night (or two) at the Sir George

Lying 90-minutes north of Canberra via Yass, Jugiong is the gateway to the Hilltops, with rolling paddocks greeting you on the drive from Canberra.

Built in 1852, The Sir George has undergone a stunning transformation in recent years thanks to mother and daughter duo Liz Prater and Kate Hufton, who have transformed the historic pub and hotel into quite the destination. The Sir George’s main building now boasts a pub, restaurant, whisky room and billiard room, while a chic outdoor seating area overlooks a grassy play space complete with cubby house and farmyard petting area—perfect for families on a Sunday afternoon.

Uphill you’ll find a semi-circle of dark wooden ‘barns’ around a manicured lawn, each its own hotel suite complete with linen sheets, soft beds and Hunter Lab toiletries—the perfect base for your Hilltops getaway.

Want to stay a little while in Jugiong? Pop into the neighbouring Parlour J Beauty for a wind-down beauty treatment to really start the weekend right (did someone say Mindful Facial?) or head for breakfast or coffee at The Longtrack Pantry—a beloved stop-off for travellers that features amazing food and a provedore.

Riverside Drive, Jugiong | sirgeorge.com.au

Snap a selfie with a canola field

If you went to The Hilltops in spring and didn’t take a canola photo, did you really go?

As the weather warms, you’ll find brilliant yellow fields of canola in bloom all across the Hilltops and they make excellent Instagram fodder. HOWEVER! Before you tiptoe through the canola, a word of caution to keep out of the fields themselves, unless you have verbal permission from the farmers.

They are people’s crops after all, and there are plenty of ways to photograph them safely without setting foot in the field.

Grab breakfast at The Marsden Street General, Boorowa

From the team behind the beloved Pantry on Pudman, The Marsden Street General offers an achingly chic breakfast, lunch and coffee destination in the sweet town of Boorowa.

In minimalist tonal surrounds, enjoy a selection of sweet and savoury dishes alongside baked treats and stylish goodies to take home.

You’ll have trouble staying for just one meal.

25 Marsden St, Boorowa | @themarsdenstgeneral

Eat some cherries

While COVID restrictions may have changed some orchards’ offerings, Australia’s cherry capital of Young will still be holding pick-your-own sessions this November and December.

At Ballinaclash Orchard, they’re offering bookings for COVID-safe pick-your-own sessions from November.

See ballinaclash.com.au for more information and visithilltopsregion.com.au for more options.

Sample a local drop (or two)

 

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A post shared by Grove Estate Winery (@groveestate)

Recently awarded Best Large Cellar Door in the Hilltops Region by Gourmet Traveller, Grove Estate Winery offers two things in spades: delicious local wines and views for days.

Sitting atop a hill on the outskirts of Young, order one of the cellar door’s four styles of wine tastings while you soak up views across the valley. There are also cheese platters and a very sweet cellar door dog named Stubby to help you while the afternoon away.

Cellar Door Monday–Sunday, 9 am to 4.30 pm | 4100 Murringo Road, Young, NSW | @groveestate

Shop up a (local) storm

While you’re in the region, why not #buyfromthebush in person?

Some boutiques to put on your radar include Little Wren Homewares in Boorowa, The Ohana Collection in Harden, Curators Collective and The Quirky Crow in Jugiong.

Feature image: The Sir George by Tim Bean Photography

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