Spend a big weekend in a tiny house and explore this tranquil hamlet, where it’s all about local produce, spectacular scenery and a relaxed country atmosphere.
Tucked away in Robertson, an easy two-hour drive from Sydney, you’ll find Foxglove Cottage: a Tiny Away cabin in the beautiful Southern Highlands on Gundungurra Country. This little piece of paradise is our home for the weekend, and sits on the working farm of our hosts Max and Miriam. As we arrive on Friday night, they greet us with a warm welcome and plenty of recommendations for things to see and do during our stay.
Tiny Away aims to provide guests the opportunity to enjoy unique properties and reconnect with nature in an eco-friendly, sustainable way. Our tiny house is private and cosy, complete with an outdoor fire pit and an undercover screen for movies. Inside the cottage awaits our first taste of Robertson: a cheese platter with locally made brie and vintage blue cheese, a jug of crystal-clear spring water, fresh milk, Max’s homemade port and mead, as well as his award-winning honey. With full bellies, we fall asleep to the gentle sounds of rain on the roof and a chorus of frogs from the nearby Missingham Creek. I’m already excited for what’s in store tomorrow.
We wake to a view of green pastures and grazing horses, and decide to visit the Lees Road Lookout, just a ten-minute walk from the cottage. As we pass sweeping farmland and curious cows, I’m not surprised that Robertson was the setting for the film Babe! The lookout sits 580 metres above sea level and offers breathtaking views over the Illawarra escarpment, rainforests and rolling green hills, all the way down to Lake Illawarra and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great introduction to the landscape, and clear why Robertson is known as the “green heart of the Southern Highlands.”
From Foxglove Cottage it’s just a short drive to the town centre, so we head in for breakfast at Moonacres Kitchen, a popular local cafe, where we tuck into pancakes with poached pear and rhubarb compote. The owners pride themselves on using ingredients grown from their organic farm, and also run cooking classes at the Moonacres School.
It may be small, but Robertson is full to the brim with delightful cafes, quirky shops, small galleries and friendly locals. It has a thriving community art scene, so we pop into the Southern Highlands Artisans Collective to admire their latest exhibitions. Across the road is the Old Robertson Cheese Factory, which houses Mumma’s Country Kitchen, a gorgeous cafe and dairy store selling locally made cheeses, chutneys, jams, oils, marinades and more. Inside, you’ll also find The Cool Room – A Country Emporium filled with fascinating vintage wares and curios: we spend a good half hour rummaging, but could have easily spent the whole day.
We pick up some local salami from Pecora Cheese and Wine, a gorgeous little wine bar with delectable grazing plates, and for a bit of town history, visit the peaceful and fascinating Robertson Cemetery. Another spot for history buffs is the Robertson Hotel – built in 1928 and once considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the Commonwealth, it’s a great place to enjoy a fancy meal or high tea.
Robertson is also host to the annual ‘spud-tacular’ Robertson Potato Festival, so we stop by its quirkiest landmark, the Big Potato, for a photo op before heading out to explore the countryside. Robertson is spoilt for choice when it comes to natural beauty, with three waterfalls within easy driving distance of the town. At Carrington Falls, a short, accessible track circles the top of the falls, which drop a spectacular 90 metres into the valley below. The nearby Blue Pool is a serene swimming hole that cascades down to Nellie’s Glen, a great spot for a picnic, or there are plenty of other walking tracks for keen bushwalkers to explore.
After a quick chilly dip in Blue Pool, we stop by the famous Robertson Pie Shop for a late lunch before heading back to Foxglove Cottage. We spend the afternoon soaking up the peaceful atmosphere of the farm, lounging in the hammock, and being introduced to Max and Miriam’s three horses and two friendly Border Collies. It’s relaxing and I already feel totally at home.
Max and Miriam recommend getting takeaway from Pizzas in the Mist, a popular woodfired pizza restaurant and eating it by the fire, but as the rain picks up, we opt for a meal at the charming Robertson Public House instead. The mushroom burger and chicken parmy hit the spot, and I think back on our day well spent with great food, natural beauty and a good amount of relaxation.
The next morning as we’re getting ready to leave, Max asks if our batteries are recharged. The answer is a resounding yes.
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