Australia

The magical Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is a magical area located less than 100 miles (160km) from Sydney. The village of Kangaroo Valley, with a population of just 360, is a National Trust listed village and the valley itself is often cited as “the most beautiful valley in all of Australia.” Many people who have visited the region argue that this is an understatement, believing it to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. The only way to judge for yourself is to book into a unique Kangaroo Valley accommodation and experience it firsthand.

Kangaroo Valley

Whether you approach Kangaroo Valley from Canberra or Sydney, the drive takes only 2 hours and much of that is through beautiful rolling hills. It can truly be said of this valley that “getting there is half the fun” and often travellers find that the drive takes much longer because they make so many stops along the way. Once you get there, you are treated with a taste of old Australia before you even enter the town when you cross the historical Hampden Bridge, a beautiful sandstone bridge built in 1898. This suspension bridge is the oldest surviving bridge of its kind in Australia.

Hampden Bridge

Kangaroo Valley’s beauty has been appreciated ever since the first settlers discovered it in the 19th century. Unlike other areas which were exploited for their natural resources, it was the rich, fertile soil of Kangaroo Valley that attracted the early settlers. Surveyor/explorer George Evans, who made the first European discovery of the valley in 1812 commented that “no painter could beautify” the landscape he viewed from atop Mt Tapatallee. It was perfect as it was. The aborigines, who lived in and around the valley for over 20,000 years, hold it in the highest esteem, viewing it as an important spiritual and healing centre.

Although they are few in number, Kangaroo Valley arguably has more creative and artistic local residents per capita than anyplace else in Australia. Their artistic and environmental sensitivities make the village one of the most beautiful in the country. It seems to fit in perfectly with the landscape and although small, visitors can spend days exploring the galleries, gift shops and restaurants within the village itself. One popular spot on “the other side of the bridge” is the Old Barrengarry Store, which enjoys legendary status for its range of sweet and savoury pies. In the village itself, be prepared for a treat as you explore the antique shops, the galleries and the boutiques before settling down to a gourmet meal.

Of course, you won’t want to stay indoors too much when you’re in Kangaroo Valley. The scenery is simply too spectacular. Bush walking is as popular today as it was with the aborigines 20,000 years ago. Remarkably, you can literally follow in their footsteps, because many of their trails remain. There is an abundance of wildlife in the valley and on the surrounding slopes. The locals only ask that you tread lightly and treat their unspoiled paradise with the respect it deserves. You won’t need to be reminded, though. There’s something about Kangaroo Valley that makes you want it to remain exactly as it is forever.

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