ESCAPE TO THE ROMANTIC COUNTRYSIDE OF BERRY IN NSW, AUSTRALIA

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This weekend saw me explore the lush countryside region of Berry and Kangaroo Valley. It was one of those gorgeous spring days where it was crisp in the shade and hot in the sun, my idea of springtime perfection. Cruising down the highway in a 1974 Beetle, the journey from home in Clovelly to Berry took two and a half hours. The trip itself is approximately 144km from Sydney's CBD to the centre of Berry, so in a car that can travel over 100km an hour comfortably, you'll arrive in Berry within two hours. With nothing but the wind cooling us though the windows and conversation flowing endlessly, the drive along the coastline of New South Wales sailed by. Arriving in Berry just on midday, there was only one place to stop and get lunch - The Sourdough Bakery. Parking on a quaint side street and walking down Prince Alfred St, it was my second time to the Bakery and again, I immediately notice a mix of hipster kids and the elderly enjoying their meals. This is obviously the place to eat in Berry.

I would recommend getting to the Bakery just on midday or early in the afternoon; although if you do visit the Bakery in the early afternoon you run the risk of missing the daily specials which are utterly delicious and sell through very quickly. After waiting for five to ten minutes for a table, which is fairly standard, and another five to ten minutes as we poured over the menu, we finally chose the white wine mussels with crispy sourdough bread and pork meatball fettuccine to share between the two of us.

The Bakery also has a selection of desserts for those partial to something sweet after a meal; usually there are three options on the lunch menu. Whilst there was no overindulging on this particular visit to the Bakery, if you do feel like something sweet on the run, the Bakery offers a variety of delicious cakes and tarts, which are perfect for enjoying whilst continuing on foot around the town of Berry. And the Bakery obviously offers a selection of homemade sourdough breads which are perfect to take home for the week ahead.

After this mouth watering lunch, a walk through the centre of town ensued. A bustling street with organic cafes, pubs and lollie shops, we walked 'off piste' and were affronted with a gorgeous open paddock with rolling hills in the background and a group of dairy cows chewing on mint coloured grass surrounded by rusty barbed wire fencing. Immediately getting a sense to explore off the beaten track, the Beetle was beckoning us to drive out of Berry and into Kangaroo Valley.

With a bag of lollies and caramel fudge in our hands, we drove aimlessly through Kangaroo Valley and past gorgeously coloured wisteria trees, which seemed to thrive in this region. Driving up a winding steep road which was lined with thick Australian natives and the odd palm tree, the Beetle was working tirelessly to reach the top of the mountain and received a respite when we decided to turn down a No Through Road. Winding down the road we soon discovered an incredible outlook of gorgeous farming fields and paddocks with the ocean stretching out in front of us.

At the end of the No Through Road we stumbled upon a rusting abandoned sheep shearing cottage and a timber house which looked as though it hadn't been lived in for months. I didn't get an overly comfortable feeling at the estate, if anything it felt quite eerie, so we jumped back in the Beetle and continued on with our blissful exploring through Kangaroo Valley. Making our way back down the steep winding road over the other side of the mountain, a scene straight from Lord of the Rings materialised in front of our very eyes.

Deciding to take a random right turn, we found ourselves at the end of a rocky, dirt road which could not be accessed by car. Choosing to give the little Beetle a rest in the shade, we continued on by foot in between two vast grazing paddocks and slowly but surely, at the base of a steep hill, we could hear the content sound of running water. Opening a paddock gate and following a faded dirt footpath we came across what could only be described at Hobbitville; lush green slopes, thick pine trees, wombat cubbies and water rushing down the creek.

Suffering from wanderlust we ventured barefoot, me nervously, across the creek trying not to fall into the water due to the slippery rocks. Once we made it across to the other side, naturally we discovered the side we were on originally was much more secluded and lush, so we crossed the creek again. Fun if I had some awesome creek slash rock walking shoes on, which I didn’t. Finally, we found a cute little spot where we threw down some blankets and enjoyed a cosy afternoon nap under the dappled light from the sun as it pierced through the trees.

If you plan on visiting Berry, here are the details for The Sourdough Bakery. Enjoy!

The Sourdough Bakery 23 Prince Alfred St Berry NSW 2535 +61 (2) 4464 1617