A quiet and attractive village, noted for its European-like countryside and atmosphere.
Where is it?: Bundanoon is 137 km south-west of Sydney; 17 km south of Moss Vale; 680 m above sea-level.
Events: each April, the town hosts Brigadoon at Bundanoon, a 'Highland Gathering' festival featuring Scottish pipe bands, country dancing, Highland games and a street parade. Bundanoon is also known for its annual Garden Ramble.
Bundanoon, like its fellow Southern Villages of the Southern Highlands, became a well-known tourist destination early in the 20th century; its picturesqueness and the exquisite scenery of what is now Morton National Park, combined with being a stop on the CityRail railway line, made it a pleasant and convenient holiday area for city dwellers who could not afford the more expensive accommodation at the popular Blue Mountains resort area.
By the 1950s, however, changes in lifestyle, particularly the affordability of the motor car, gave city dwellers more options, and Bundanoon declined. The Sydney real estate boom of the early 21st century has made Bundanoon an affordable haven within commuting distance of the City.
Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park
Morton National Park: one of the largest parks in NSW, it protects a strikingly beautiful wilderness area that sits between the Southern Highlands and the Shoalhaven Coast. Its maze of dissected sandstone plateaux supports a wide range of plant communities, and a correspondingly diverse array of wildlife.
One of the prettiest walks in Morton National Park is to the long abandoned Erith Coal Mine found in a cool forest at the bottom of a waterfall. Erith Coal Mine was operative between the early 1860s and 1872, and then 1881-1889. The main tunnel was dug horizontally into the coal seam which you can see clearly at the base of the cliff. The coal was hoisted in skips to a staging area directly above the mine entrance. Look up and you can see the huge antique pulleys used to pull up the coal. From there the coal was sent by light railway to the rail head, then on to Moss Vale.
Take a picnic, and enjoy it sitting on the rocks near the pool at the base of the waterfall. For the more adventurous why not take a dip in the lovely clear pool, at the base of the waterfall.
Glow Worm Glen Walk: a great evening activity for the whole family. Glow worms are only visible after dark. A torch is essential to negotiate the track safely. To help protect the glow worms, turn off torches once you reach the glen, keep quiet and stay on the platform. Guided walks are conducted during school holidays and group tours on request. Maps are available from the Visitors Information Centre in Mittagong or National Parks and Wildlife Service at Fitzroy Falls.
Origin of name: though it sounds Scottish, Bundanoon is actually derived from the word 'bantanoon', used by the Dharawal Aborigines, whose land it was prior to white settlement. The word is thought to mean 'big deep ravine' or 'place of deep gully', a reference to one of the central attractions of the town which is only a couple of kilometres from the edge of the Illawarra Plateau. When the railway arrived, it ran through the property of pioneer white settler, Charles Jordan. Consequently the station was called Jordan's Crossing. The residents petitioned for a name-change in 1880 and the next year it was renamed Bundanoon. Gov. Lachlan Macquarie had named the settlement of Suttons Forest in November 1820 after Charles Manners-Sutton, the speaker of the British House of Commons.
Brief history: In March 1818 Charles Throsby passed through the area and called it 'Bantanoon'. The village began to emerge in the late 1860s. Coal mining commenced in 1867, though timber getting and to a lesser extent sandstone quarrying, drove the local economy. Its natural scenery soon made it attractive to visitors who were catered for by a string of guest houses. In time Bundanoon became the major holiday resort of the Southern Highlands and a retreat for honeymooners.