Southern Highlands Pub & Winery Tour
- $650 pp
- 1 hour
A full day itinerary exploring some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you will find anywhere in Australia; including three stops to catch your breath and sample the Illawarra’s finest offerings in wine, beer and Australian cuisine.
- Rock star entrance to three superb culinary and wine and beer locations
- The mountains, waterfalls and gorges of the Great Dividing Range
- A packed hour long flying schedule amongst spectacular natural scenery
- Experience the unique thrill of a helicopter take-off and landing
- Only minutes flying time until you are immersed in the natural habitat of the Illawarra’s mountain environment.
- Barren Grounds in Budderoo National Park
- Landing at Crooked River Wines at Gerringong
- Landing at Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley
- Hampden Iron and Wood suspension bridge
- Fitzroy Falls
- Southern Highlands
- Landing at Centennial Vineyard at Bowral
- Wingecarribee Reservoir
- Macquarie Pass
This full day itinerary of food, wine, beer, helicopters, mountains and waterfalls is a guaranteed sensory delight. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, you’re in for a real treat.
Departing from Illawarra Regional Airport, we’ll join the coastline over Kiama where you’ll have a birds-eye view of the famous blowhole and fishing harbour. From the air you’ll see all the little bays, beaches and coastal walking tracks that make Kiama a popular tourist spot throughout the year.
The coastline south of Kiama, as we track towards Gerringong, is as spectacular as it is dramatic. Having seen the meandering, rolling, Kiama to Gerringong walking track from the air, you’ll want to make that the next item you tick off your bucket list. The architectural masterpieces built as homes in some of the hills and valleys just off the coast are a sight to behold and a dream residence for most.
Gerringong itself is home to the award winning vineyards at Crooked River. Crooked River’s commercial winery was completed in 2001. The winery boasts 280,000 litres of stainless steel fermentation and storage tanks and 70,000 litres of oak barrels. In 20 years of production, Crooked River Wines has won multiple awards for its premium quality red and white wines. Crooked River Wines is the largest vineyard on the NSW South Coast.
A spectacular setting with views overlooking the vineyard, Crooked River Restaurant is also the perfect location for lunch. With such an extensive menu there are sumptuous options for everyone no matter their taste. We guarantee that you’ll find just the right red or white to complement your meal as well.
After a couple of hours for lunch, wine tasting, contemplation and a relaxing walk around the grounds, it is time to head to our next destination.
Departing from Gerringong, as we fly over the mountains and valleys of the Great Dividing Range, the evergreen Kangaroo Valley spreads out before us. Formerly know as Osborne, Kangaroo Valley village was first settled in 1817. The first recorded sighting of the valley – other than by the aboriginal Wodi Wodi tribe who trod the tracks of the valley for at least 20 thousand years previously – was by the surveyor/explorer George Evans in 1812 who declared the valley as a sight that “no painter could beautify.”
The Friendly Inn is at the heart of Kangaroo Valley Village. Built in 1871 it was a brick and stone construction with 17 rooms. Today it provides for the quintessential Australian country pub experience. Great food and drink, warm friendly locals and spectacular views from the beer garden that make you thankful you decided to drop in and say hello. From our landing spot at the end of the beer garden, you won’t have to walk too far to board for the next leg of your tour.
As we bank and turn over the village, climbing out for Centennial Vineyard, keep an eye out for the mighty old Hampden Bridge; a wooden and iron suspension bridge opened for traffic way back in 1898. An aerial view provides a much better platform to appreciate the extent of its span as well as the sandy “beach” below it; a cooling off spot for tourists and locals alike throughout the summer.
Our flight path out of Kangaroo Valley takes us over the absolutely stunning scenery of Morton National Park. The sandstone cliffs of the escarpment and the seemingly endless Aussie bush are reminiscent of the walls of the Grand Canyon and the jungles of South America. As we approach and rise up and over Fitzroy Falls you’ll see the immense expanse of Fitzroy Reservoir as well as the incredible man-made canals feeding water off and down to the bottom of the mountain range to the Bendeela and Kangaroo Valley Power Stations.
The remainder of the journey towards Centennial Vineyards is across the beautiful rolling landscape of the Southern Highlands; an internationally recognised award winning wine region offering strong competition to other Australian wine producing areas such as the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River. Looking across the undulating patchwork of farmland stretching out below, you will also notice the highest point in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands region – Bells Hill – standing proud at 803m above sea level.
As we land amongst the manicured grounds of Centennial Estate the anticipation of great food, great wine and great views is palpable. A three course meal washed down with perhaps a shiraz or a chardonnay beckons. Take your time, relax and enjoy the surrounding gardens. And when you’re ready your helicopter awaits to take you back to base.
Headsets are available for all passengers inside the helicopter so that they can talk to eachother and share the experience while flying.
Feel free to engage your friendly pilot for his informed narrative and commentary
Customers should allow 1 hour in total for the whole experience including check-in, safety briefing, photo opportunity around the helicopters, boarding, flight time and then disembarking after flight.
Free tea and coffee facilities as well as a comfortable viewing lounge overlooking the helipad is available for all passengers as well as for family and friends spectating on the ground
Safety is paramount. All safety processes and procedures as required by Touchdown Helicopters and the governments Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) are strictly adhered to in all aspects of conducting this scenic flight.
Please Note: Lunch and wine tasting not included in the cost of this package.