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                            SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS | Experiences
 Imagine it, create it,
offer it... and they will come
RECENT RESEARCH FROM SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY FOUND PEOPLE WHO SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES, ‘DOING STUFF’, ARE HAPPIER AND FEEL THEIR MONEY IS BETTER SPENT THAN PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY ACCUMULATE MORE STUFF. WHICH IS WHY OUR WINERY TOUR OPERATORS (PAGE 54) AND THE EXPERIENCE PROVIDERS BELOW, SOME BUSY WORKING WITH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL TOUR COMPANIES AND AGENTS, ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY. LOCATED AS WE ARE BETWEEN THE SYDNEY AND CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS, A RECENT REPORT BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT (SEE PAGE 17) FOUND THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS IS PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO GIVE ‘THE VISITOR ECONOMY’ THAT IS, GLOBAL AND NATIONAL EXPERIENCE HUNTERS AND TOURISTS, THAT UNIQUE SOMETHING THEY SEEK.
WILDfest Southern Highlands
& Highlands Harvest Feasts
Last year trailblazer Amanda Fry, who ‘used to do PR for the Kardashians’ launched WILDfest Southern Highlands. This festival offered intimate glimpses into the Highlands with trips such as the luxury Canoes, Champagne & Canapes, and sumptuous overnight glamping and dining under the stars with Wild Native Feast at Joadja Distillery. And all this novelty and glamour attracted a new market of adventure seeker with gourmet taste.
Amanda promises this year’s week long WILDfest in September will be even bigger and better, with five new categories that include two remote wilderness luxury retreats and tailored itineraries. Meanwhile, her series
of Highlands Harvest Feasts kicks
off on June 23 with the Feast of the Beast dinner to celebrate the winter solstice. Enjoy wild venison and catering by the terrific Rustic Table, beverages by locals Far Ago Hill Wines and Southern Highlands Brewing Company, plus music and revelry at a location in a State forest that will be
revealed on the day. All sounds very Kubrick-ish, doesn’t
it. But Fry hastens to add the event has no dark magic overtones: ‘Feast of the Beast is a family event that centres on nature’s growing cycles and introduces non religious, non prejudicial and past world activities from Celtic, Pagan and Nordic history for enjoying great food, wine and entertainment.’ Other feasts to be held on significant days
of the equinox calendar include the Love Feast in September and the Midsummer Feast in December. Feast of the
Beast Saturday June 23, WILDfest Southern Highlands, September 28-October 7 wildfoodadventures.com.au
NOSHtrekker Southern Highlands
Escape Southern Highlands first met former Bowral girl Tahnya Butterfield-Gill, founder of Singapore based food experience company NOSHtrekker, last year at a sumptuous Berrima dinner at the home of former Hermès hostess Christiane de Bievre. Back then Tahnya told us that what inbound international travellers, especially from South East Asia, want is ‘cultural souvenirs of areas collected from experiences with locals’. Making good on her belief the Southern Highlands is one of the hidden gems of New South Wales, she recently announced NOSHtrekker packages to the Southern Highlands from Singapore.
These three day, two night packages with transfers from Sydney and Canberra include Golf for Gourmands and Taste of the Southern Highlands packages. On offer are private dinners cooked by local chefs including Escape’s own food sage, Geoff Jansz, boutique accommodation, and a range of activities such as golf, shopping, walks, and visits to food producers and cool climate wineries.
‘With so much mainstream travel focus on the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains,’ says Butterfield-Gill, ‘the Southern Highlands is an ideal location for those wanting a different experience. It’s great for people who think they have seen it all.’
Tours from Singapore begin in September. Keep an eye on NOSHtrekker’s website for other local culinary events. noshtrekker.com
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