Mona Farm, Braidwood
Mona Farm is so committed to giving you an exceptional food experience that they’ve brought on former Sepia, Cafe Paci, and est. Chef Tristan Rebbettes (now a 2022 Good Food Young Chef of the Year finalist). Despite the fact they don’t have a restaurant, Rebbettes, and his team’s remit is to deliver the best room service of your life or create private dining experiences in your guesthouse or within the property’s 124-acre gardens and farmland. In between meals and luxuriating, check out one of the most impressive private art collections in the state. Inside the heritage lodges, there are the works of more than 50 local and international artists, and dotted across the century-old Southern Tablelands farm is an impressive sculpture collection, including enormous abstracts from Peter Lundberg.
Hidden Valley Farms, Goulburn
Rows of pear, apple, and quince trees scattered around lush farmland; earth riddled with Perigord truffles and heads of purple-rimmed garlic; then you, sitting under the stars, eating it all. That’s the experience offered at Hidden Valley Farms. The rest of the days, you’ll spend one of two ways: either relaxing in the quiet of the Goulburn countryside or being fully immersed in the farm experience – picking olives, feeding animals, and learning about the sustainability of the land you’re on. After it all, you’ll retire to a sauna or a woodfired outdoor bath and a night in the farm’s self-contained cabins.
Nimbo Fork Lodge, Nimbo
Imagine a picturesque lodge nestled in the hill of a misty Snowy Mountains valley. A club with lush interiors, views of a gum canopy and the surrounding countryside, and baths next to ceiling-high windows. Now imagine that experience is punctuated by meals at Three Blue Ducks, a restaurant run by the acclaimed farm-to-table and sustainability-focused hospitality group of the same name. The menu is a mostly Mediterranean expression of Riverina produce, besides its Sunday lunches, where you’ll find a modern take on a British roast.
Osborn House, Bundanoon
You could easily drive past Osborn House without noticing a thing, but behind those tree-lined Bundanoon back streets is one of the most luxurious experiences in the Southern Highlands. The building is a restored 1892 manor, and the interiors are courtesy of former SOHO House design director Linda Boronkay. The rooms have forest views and baths that’ll melt away an afternoon, and there’s an in-house spa and pool worth their trip. Then there’s the dining experience, split between two beautifully styled restaurants: George (a relaxed bistro) and Dinah’s (a more sophisticated Italian-inspired fine diner). The real showpiece, though, is Fire Feast, a spectacular, once-a-week Argentinian open-fire barbecue featuring the best of the region’s meat and produce.
Belle Bois, Capertee Valley
This elegant bed and breakfast designs its entire food experience around produce from the Capertee Valley and its surroundings. Start your stay with a full hot breakfast or homemade muesli with local fruit, then spend the day exploring the biodiverse Capertee Valley by hiking the land or kayaking the river. Return to homemade snacks and espresso coffee, then end the day with a French dinner looking out into the countryside. You may even spot an echidna or wombat from the table. For a more immersive experience, the Belle Bois family organizes private two-day food tours of the valley that’ll have you feasting on local truffles, honey, premium lamb, edible flowers, and wine.
Mavis’s Kitchen & Cabins, Uki
What better place to plant an organic garden and orchard than on the fertile soils around the World Heritage-listed Tweed Valley rainforest? That was the idea for Mavis’s Kitchen and Cabins, a beautifully designed set of wooden lodges with an accompanying restaurant using tropical produce from the kitchen garden. Horticulturalist Jackie Hopkinson takes care of the produce, and head chef Simon Liljeqvist takes on the menu. The result is a unique and innovative food offering that traverses multiple cuisines and cooking styles. Try the seasonally rotating menu in a dining room overlooking the lush garden, pick up an epic picnic hamper and take it on a rainforest adventure, or get three courses delivered to your cabin for a luxurious night in.
NSW has 12 distinct wine regions, and dotted throughout are vineyards with overnight options, lauded restaurants, and immersive food experiences. Pokolbin’s Hanging Tree Wines offers a homestead stay, and if you drop in around April, you can take part in the festivities of the Olive Harvest Festival. Borrodell Estate in Orange puts you up in cottages by the vines and serves you Borrodell farm produce (including truffles during the winter) at its restaurant, Sisters Rock. In Mudgee, Blue Wren has beds in a refurbished farmhouse, and The Barn is a casual restaurant with beautifully presented seasonal recipes. The Southern Highlands’ Bendooley Estate provides architecturally striking cottages, an inventive restaurant sporting a dining room with views on one side and bookshelves on the other, plus vineyard scenery so epic the estate is regularly booked for weddings.