Getting to Kangaroo Valley is half the fun of Visiting the valley
Just 100 miles (160km) from Sydney, there’s a small town that has a very big reputation. You will find only around 360 permanent residents in the National Trust village of Kangaroo Valley, but they take great pride in living in what is often called “the most beautiful valley in Australia.” They are more than willing to share their good fortune with guests, offering Kangaroo Valley accommodations that are as delightful to stay in as the area is to visit. When you do visit the valley, you will come away thinking that it is not just among the most beautiful in Australia, but ranks with the most beautiful in the whole world.
If you’re in a hurry, it doesn’t take long to get to Kangaroo Valley from either Sydney or Canberra. However, you probably won’t be in a rush, since much of the drive is through lovely countryside. Most visitors to the valley appreciate every minute of their trip and make quite a few stops along the way. When you finally do arrive there, you have to cross Hampden Bridge. This beautiful sandstone bridge, one of Australia’s most photographed landmarks, was erected in 1898 and is the oldest existing bridge of its kind in the country.
Kangaroo Valley’s beauty continues to be appreciated ever since the initial settlers discovered it in the 19th century. Unlike other areas which were exploited for their natural resources, it was the rich, fertile soil of Kangaroo Valley that attracted the first settlers. Surveyor/explorer George Evans, who made the initial European discovery of the valley in 1812 commented that “no painter could beautify” the landscape he viewed from atop Mt Tapatallee. It was perfect as it was. The aborigines, who lived in and around the valley for over 20,000 years, hold it in the greatest regard, viewing it as an important religious and healing center.
While they are few in number, Kangaroo Valley arguably has more creative and artistic local residents per capita than anyplace else in Australia. Their artistic and environmental sensitivities make the village among the most magical within the country. It seems to fit in perfectly with the landscape and even though small, guests can spend days exploring the galleries, gift shops and restaurants in the village itself. One popular spot on “the other side of the bridge” is the Old Barrengarry Store, which enjoys legendary status because of its range of sweet and savory pies. In the village itself, be ready for a treat as you discover the antique shops, the galleries and the boutiques before settling down to a gourmet meal.
Of course, you will not want to stay inside too much when you’re in Kangaroo Valley. The scenery is simply too spectacular. Bush walking is as popular now as it was with the aborigines 20,000 years ago. Remarkably, you can literally follow in their footsteps, since many of their trails remain. You can find an abundance of wildlife in the valley and on the surrounding slopes. The locals only request that you tread gently and treat their unspoiled paradise with the respect it deserves. You won’t need to be reminded, though. There’s something about Kangaroo Valley that makes you want it to remain exactly as it is forever.