(Burrawang – all photos Dee Kramer)
About an hour and a half south-east of Sydney in the Southern Highlands, a place bristling with pretty gardens, quality wine, thundering plateaus and bunyip legends, you’ll find the charming village of Burrawang. Here, in this town of around 200 people, you’d be at wits’ end not to spot the Burrawang Village Hotel, which proprietor Ed Woolfrey calls “the heart and hub of town”.
Established in 1927, the hotel once functioned as the town’s general store. Today it’s a reputable restaurant, hotel and pub exuding a gritty warmth, with its wooden furniture, sandstone walls, fireplace and polished wooden floors. Outside, its Greek-style courtyard offers splendid views of the undulating, pastoral countryside.
My good friend and photographer Dee Kramer and I had arrived for the serious business of lunch and a scout around, but not before we had a chat to Ed, who told me that like all good businesses, the Burrawang Village Hotel is home to a fair share of locals. Thursday nights are pizza nights, when the region’s doctors, truck drivers, farmers and lawyers arrive to unwind.
However, it’s the weekend when the place gets in full swing, when people flock from all over to escape to this handsome highland haven. Ed explained the hotel lies somewhere within “the great triangle” of Sydney Canberra and Wollongong, resulting in an eclectic bunch of visitors.
Getting down to business, Dee and I began to steadily demolish the risotto balls – filled with roast pumpkin, mushroom and parmesan; and the chorizo and caramelised onion pizza – which we washed down with a couple of Pigs Fly Pale Ales. Our food was crisp, moist and tasty, the combinations were in sync and our spirits considerably lifted. Of course, being in prime wine country, we had to try a bottle of regional 2006 pinot noir out back.
Feeling a little like we were at an F. Scott Fitzgerald party, sipping wine in a fetching European-styled courtyard, we discovered that here you could play both French (petanque) and Italian-style boules. Similar to bowls, the object of the game is to get the boules (heavy steel balls) as close as possible to the jack (smaller ball). Games often occur here spontaneously on Sundays in the summer through word of mouth. Boules are supplied.
What’s there to do in and around town?
Besides strolling through the comely village, or perhaps investigating the veracity of the town bunyip (rumoured only to come out at night), you might want to check out the lofty Belmore and Fitzroy falls, located 8km and 6km from the hotel respectively. These well exposed, magnificent looking falls give a great sense of the striking Southern Highlands country.
As for the hotel, best come during lunchtime, which is 12pm – 2:30pm seven days a week, or for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6:30pm until late. For those reluctant to leave, there’s eight rooms upstairs, each which contains a queen-sized bed and comes with a continental breakfast at $150 per night. For those desiring a tad more, there’s three suites overlooking the valley, equipped with king-sized beds and spas for $290 a night.
For more information on the Burrawang Village Hotel, check out their website.