Tulip Time hits Bowral


With Tulip Time well underway in Bowral, spring fever is in the air. The famous Tulip Time Parade is on today through the main street in Bowral at 3pm. Get along to see it – it really is special. It is when Southern Highlands community spirit is in full bloom as well!

In keeping with the the spring theme, my garden is also getting into the spirit, so I thought I’d share some of the colour with you.


Spring is here – hello tulips


It is always exciting when the first tulip of spring comes out. Sad I know, but it means that another Southern Highlands winter is out of the way and there is colour back in my garden!

The best time in the Southern Highlands is almost here!


That’s right, Spring is just around the corner and already the Southern Highlands is in full bloom ……… a wee bit early.

The sun is shining, the blossoms have blossomed, the daffodils are out in full force and the weather is just glorious.

Before we know it the Tulip Time festival will be on in Bowral.

There’s no better time to come and visit!

Considering a move from Sydney to the Southern Highlands?


Well you are not alone – there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to make the tree change due to the high cost of housing in Sydney and many people not wanting to move away from the city to the burbs. I can certainly relate to that!

I am often asked about what it is like to live here after moving from Sydney almost two years ago now – what the pros and cons are. So I thought it was time I wrote a post to help people out.

Please keep in mind this is simply my experience and opinion and everyone is different, but this advice might just help you make a clearer decision.

Fabulous lifestyle
It is such a great lifestyle down here – fabulous restaurants and cafes, lots of space and fresh air, lots to do and explore, plenty of golf courses, gorgeous drives, lots of vineyards, not to mention a great place to raise children. Generally speaking it is much more affordable to live (but don’t be fooled, there are also very expensive areas too) and it is still so close to Sydney – only an hour from the airport (in non-peak times).

So straight to business ………. if you are planning on commuting every day like my husband does, I won’t lie to you it is tough. That is the only downside about living down here.

Catching the train from here takes two and a half hours and the trains only come once an hour, so if you miss a train you have to wait a long time for the next – this is definitely the worst option. Most people either drive into the city or drive to Campbelltown and catch the train from there – trains run every 10-15 minutes and it only takes my husband two hours door to door each way. If he drives, he leaves round 5.30am and leaves work at 7pm to beat the traffic. If you travel in the main peak times, it will make a 1.25 hour journey take 2.5 hours!

Other options are to stay in Sydney one or two nights or if your company allows, work remotely!

Everybody is different and has different circumstances, but I wanted to throw the options out there.

City to country living
Other than that we love it completely and can’t see ourselves moving back anytime soon. From been such a city gal, I haven’t missed it at all. But I think the main factors contributing to the easy transition is that I met a lot of good friends down here early on, everywhere does good coffee and we have brilliant cafes and restaurants down here (some restaurants have SMH Good Food hats and would give Sydney fine dining a run for its money) – so I don’t feel I am missing out at all. Coffee/restaurant culture is important to me!

Say no the burbs!
I didn’t want to do the burbs thing in Sydney! We have 1,500 square metres, lots of trees, a four bedroom house that is completely renovated – all for the price of a 1 bedroom shoebox flat in Neutral Bay – not to mention a great, less stressful lifestyle! Of course – there are some hideously expensive parts to the Southern Highlands as well – an area not far from us ranges $4-8 million for a house – they also get 100 acres with it though!

All my friends in the Highlands have moved down from Sydney too – mainly northern beaches, lower north shore and eastern suburbs, who all moved for the same reason. We can’t afford to buy where we want to live and don’t want to move to where we can afford for the sake of having a house. So there are a lot of like minded people down here.

I met most of my friends through the kids – at the park, joined a few mothers groups, etc. I made good friends within a week of moving here and are still good friends almost two years on. It makes settling in so much easier – get involved! Everyone is so friendly.

Great place for kids
It’s a fab place for kids – great schools (private and public), an indoor soft play centre, lots of parks including the lovely Lake Alexandra, kid friendly country pubs, all the usual Kindermusik, Kindergym, etc. There are lots of kids clothes and shoe shops – ranging from the expensive Seed down to Target/Big W.

There are lots and lots of gorgeous boutique stores in the Southern Highlands catering to most people. If you do want big shopping malls and department stores though, the closest is 30-40 mins away at Campbelltown at Macarthur Square. Not the nicest place in the world, but good for a big shop. But apart from that we have everything here. I also have started buying heaps online.

Daycare is much cheaper as well! In Sydney we were paying $80-90 a day, whereas down here you will pay around $60 a day! Pre-school is about $34 a day. There are a lot of centres in the area, but they do vary considerably in quality. So the best thing to do is check a few of the centres out and make sure the one you choose suits your needs.

Surviving the winters
I was worried about the winters and how I would survive as I am a summer girl. But it hasn’t been bad at all – I actually found living in Sydney much colder as no where is centrally heated. Our place in Sydney was freezing! So I think having central heating has made a huge difference.

It is also about layering – get yourself a warm coat and you will be fine.

Business without borders
Living here has also made me realise how easy it is to run a business from home and not be based in Sydney. I run my own marketing communications business from home with six global clients (based in Sydney, Singapore or Melbourne) and it is great to know that life does revolve outside of Sydney!

All services (phone, internet, etc) are fine here – not as much choice, but the usual suspects are here Optus, Telstra, TPG, etc. I haven’t noticed a difference in quality with speed and connections.

Just do it!
We had tossed around the idea for a long time and eventually we just said let’s do it! We didn’t want live life always wanting to do something and then spend all the time talking about and never doing anything about it. Eventually we just said let’s try it. We are not making a huge investment in our house so if we decided we didn’t like living here then we can just sell up and move back. We now can’t see ourselves moving back to Sydney!

Southern Highlands springtime is almost here


Well I am happy to report that there is only one more week of winter and spring is already beginning to show an early arrival with gorgeous blossoms and tulips blooming everywhere throughout the Southern Highlands. It really is such a beautiful sight!

It also means that Tulip Time is not too far away, kicking off on Tuesday, 21 September and finishing on Monday, 4 October. 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Tulip Time, so there are lots of celebrations planned – for more details refer to the 2010 Festival Program.

The annual Tulip Time street parade will be held at 3pm on Saturday, 25 September along Bong Bong St in Bowral, with marching bands, vintage and classic cars, fire trucks and much more. The parade is lots of fun for the kiddies …….. big and small!

Also coming up, Centennial Vineyard will play host to another Day on the Green for any fans of Simply Red out there. Marcia Hines and Ross Wilson will be the supporting acts. The event will be on 4 October during the October long weekend.

Lots of exciting festivities coming up to herald the start of spring and to say good riddance to yet another cold winter. Why not come and visit the Southern Highlands …… and while you’re here, be sure to check out some of the great restaurants, cafes and vineyards the region has to offer.

Autumn is in full glory!


For anyone wondering when is a good time to visit the Southern Highlands, the answer is now with autumn in its full glory!

Shades of red, orange and yellow everywhere is simply stunning …… mix it with beautiful warm days and the Highlands is the place to be! OK so the mornings and evenings are getting a tad cooler hinting winter is on its way, but don’t let that stop you!

It just reminds me of why we moved down here – it doesn’t get much better than this. Well there is spring, which is also amazing, but time to focus on autumn!

So what are you waiting for – come and visit!

Fun for kiddies in the Highlands


With two kids of my own, I guess it is about time I share my thoughts on places to take kids during your stay in the Southern Highlands.

To keep them entertained, you can’t go past Lake Alexandra. There is a fantastic playground (not fenced though), flat walking/bike track around the lake, lots of ducks to feed, plenty of space for a picnic …… and the best bit is it’s free!

For more playground activity, I can recommend the park at Bradman Oval in Bowral. It is an enclosed playground with the standard fun activities for kids.

There is another great bike/walking track for kids that runs through Bowral along Cherry Tree Walk. It is a flat pathway that follows the creek from Bowral Swimming Pool carpark (Oxley Drive) through to East Bowral. Lots of pretty trees and lots of ducks to feed along the way. You have to cross a few streets along the way, so probably best not to leave the little kids unattended.

In case of bad weather ……. or just a simple energy release for your kids, you can’t go past Neeny’s Playhouse indoor place centre near Highlands Shopping Centre in Mittagong. It has areas for different age groups so there is something for babies through to 12 year olds. The main fun can be found on the climbing wall, jumping castle and three story jungle structure. There is a cafe as well to keep the mummies sustained while the kiddies are at play!

If you’re looking for places to catch up with friends over lunch or drink, but need somewhere to keep the kids entertained, you can’t go past Briars in Moss Vale. It has paper tablecloths for the kids to draw all over ….. as well as a fenced playground outside. The Burrawang Village Hotel also has a huge grassed area for the kids to run wild.

I am sure there are lots of other things for the kids to do, but this list should get you thinking and keep the kids entertained.