9 November 2017

Canberra Day Trips: Sutton Forest

| Canberra Day Trips
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The Old Butcher’s Shop in Sutton Forest, from Aussie Towns.

Don’t blink as you drive through Sutton Forest, or you might miss the quaint village in the stunning Southern Highlands. While the village contains just a scattering of buildings and shops, it’s a top spot to relax and soak up the countryside, take a refreshing walk in the spectacular natural areas or sample some cool-climate wines at several impressive wineries.

With a population of less than 1000, Sutton Forest is one of the oldest colonial settlements outside Sydney, and there’s plenty of history to be unearthed there. The former NSW Governor’s summer residence, Hillview, built in the 1850s, now offers open days and accommodation for visitors.


There are some imposing manor homes and estates, including several that belong to Australia’s rich and famous, in the surrounding areas. There are plenty of places to stay in the region if you’d like to explore for longer.

If it’s rural tranquillity and perfect scenery you’re looking for, Sutton Forest fits the bill. The rolling hills, lush farmland and pristine forests are serene, quiet and beautiful.

Why you’ll love it


There are some spectacular private gardens in the region, with Red Cow Farm and the historic Peppers Manor House offering garden-lovers endless delights. Golf lovers can play a round at Mount Broughton.

Sutton Forest is surrounded by farms and cellar doors in vineyards, so it’s perfect for a spot of wine-tasting. Montrose House and Berry Farm is terrific for a relaxed amble.

If you’re feeling peckish, Sutton Forest Inn will fit the bill in the old-style pub with a bistro.

A dominant building in the town is the Old Butcher’s Shop (pictured in the header image). It dates back to 1895, and it has had several incarnations, often with a nod to the Scottish links to the Southern Highlands.

Getting there

Sutton Forest is on the Hume Highway between Canberra and Sydney and is a short drive off the highway via Golden Vale Road. Within easy driving distance are the picturesque towns of Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale.

When to go

The lovely gardens in the Sutton Forest area are particularly attractive in spring and autumn. Take a look at details for open gardens in the region before you head off.

Key details

  • Duration: driving from the centre of Canberra to Sutton Forest takes just over an hour and a half
  • Distance from Canberra: around 160km
  • Recommended for: garden enthusiasts, anyone interested in history, wine aficionados or those looking for a quiet but picturesque spot to recharge and enjoy idyllic countryside
  • More information: Southern Highlands: Sutton Forest

Have you spent time at Sutton Forest? Do you have any tips for others planning to visit the area?

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