Berrima is widely recognised today as the best preserved example of a Georgian village on the Australian mainland.
A fortunate series of events created the Berrima we see today. 1831 to the 1860s was a time of promise and growth, which came to an abrupt end when the railway bypassed the village in 1867. For the next hundred years there was little or no development in the village.
Today’s visitor to Berrima can experience the quiet charm and romance that comes from those features of the village which remained frozen in time and which now so wonderfully portray those earlier times. (See the Historic Berrima page for a map and list of these features.
Berrima was not always quiet and charming. From the 1950s onward, cars and trucks were taking more passenger and freight traffic away from the railway. The village quiet was increasingly disturbed by heavy traffic along the Hume Highway (previously known as the Great Southern Road).
Travellers, and especially those journeying between Canberra and Sydney, found Berrima a convenient stopping point for a break and a meal. To these travellers, Berrima was mostly a strip of eateries and shops straddling the highway and catering to the passing trade.
The increased highway traffic was at best a mixed blessing to Berrima. While some businesses were benefiting from the passing trade, crossing the main road had become a hair-raising experience for pedestrians. Most people in the village were delighted when, in 1989, Berrima was bypassed by the South Western Freeway.
The village is no longer merely a stopping point on the way to somewhere else. Today’s Berrima is a delightful destination in its own right – for a day trip, for a weekend, or for a much longer holiday.
Eating out in Berrima
Places to eat range from: fine dining through to mid-range restaurants and bistros; cafes, tea houses and coffee shops; to sandwiches, cakes, pies and takeaways. Your taste will be satisfied in at least one (perhaps all) of Berrima’s many eating-places.
A Unique Shopping Experience
From fine art to groceries, from pottery to soft toys, antiques to exotics, jewellery to garments, books for reading and crafts for making or to have made for you, from pampering your taste buds to pampering your whole body; it’s all here in Berrima’s galleries, salons, craft shops, gift shops, clothing shops, kids shops and other specialist retailers. (And for those contemplating a tree change or hill change, Berrima even has its own real estate agent.)
Meet Half-way, Stay All Day (Or Longer)
Berrima is within easy driving distance from major population centres. Friends meet at Berrima for lunch or dinner, wander around the village and enjoy its many delights, perhaps stay overnight and explore the wineries, or maybe just relax.
Stay A While: Explore Berrima
For the solitary visitor, for a couple or family; exploring the village, the river and the region around Berrima requires more than just a day trip. A hotel, a motel, numerous cottages and B&Bs are located in and around Berrima village. Accommodation is priced from budget to luxurious with weeknight and weekend packages available.
Dynamic new primary industries
The Southern Highlands is a recognised cool climate wine region with Berrima at its hub. The first plantings were at Joadja in 1983, and there are now ten wineries within 15 minutes drive from Berrima village. Eight of the ten have cellar doors.
The Berrima district saw Australia’s first commercial breeding of alpacas in 1990, and this industry has grown and developed into the sophisticated breeding and production process seen today.