As a wedding photographer based in Bowral, and as someone who has been shooting weddings for ten years, I’ve become quite familiar with the majority of the Southern Highlands wedding venues. After all, there are only a limited number venues in the area, so I end up shooting at the same set of venues quite frequently. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad thing at all! I often marvel at how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many amazing Southern Highlands wedding venues. I don’t envy the task my couples face of having to actually choose one of these amazing locations over another, because they’re all amazing places to hold a wedding.
So, below is a list of the Southern Highlands wedding venues that I’ve had the pleasure of shoot at. I’ll keep adding to this list as new venues open.
Bendooley is probably one of the most well known Southern Highlands wedding venues, and for good reason. It’s a beautiful complex of old stone buildings, creeping ivy, manicured lawns and rugged fields of tall grass. It’s located near the small town of Berrima, and is a short distance from Bowral. I’ve become good friends with the staff at Bendooley and I’ve seen time and time again how much care and effort they put into making every Bendooley wedding something very special. You can have a look at a Bendooley Estate wedding blog post here.
Bendooley recently opened a second venue (on the same site) called the Stables. It’s a wonderful new Southern Highlands wedding venue, with the same amazing Bendooley food, service, and photo opportunities. I had the pleasure of shooting the very first wedding at the new Stables – a few shots as follows.
Imagine a vineyard with amazing wine, incredible food, and amazing photo locations. Centennial is that spot. It’s one of my favourite Southern Highlands wedding venues and, together with Bendooley, I shoot here many times each year. I love Centennial because it has a perfectly located ceremony location, which faces west and is next to a large tree, meaning no harsh shadows and no squinting while you read your vows.
There are so many different locations and opportunities for amazing photos at Centennial; each time I shoot there I end up finding something new that I hadn’t seen before. Oh and the food here is soooooo good, seriously. You can check out one of my full Centennial Vineyards weddings here.
Growwild Wildflower Farm
Full disclosure – Growwild has a very special place in my heart, because it’s my childhood home! I grew up here, and my parents now own + run Growwild as a wedding venue. For this reason, and simply because it’s an absolutely amazing place to hold a wedding, Growwild is one of my absolute favourite Southern Highlands wedding venues.
It began as a functioning wildflower farm, with a heap of Australian native flowers in long rows (perfect for photos). A wonderful Yes Events marquee is permanently situated on raised grass area amongst the vines; it’s the perfect place for a candlelit reception. There’s an old converted barn which can function as a wet weather ceremony spot, too. You can have a look at a full Growwild wedding here.
Briars Country Lodge
The Briars is something really special. You can find it just off the main road between Bowral and Moss Vale, but when you drive in you feel like you’re worlds away from other people. There are two aspects to the Briars; the pub near the road, and down the back is the accommodation, wedding ceremony + reception spaces. This combination of location, great ceremony and reception spots, together with heaps of accommodation, makes it a wonderful option when you’re looking at Southern Highlands wedding venues. Full Briars wedding blog post here.
Milton Park Country House
Driving down the tree lined driveway at Milton Park is a sublime experience. This sprawling estate feels like an old English manor, with its acres of landscaped grounds, statues, flowers and lawns. The ceremony spot is lovely and shaded, and of course you can get ready on the grounds – there are heaps of hotel rooms. There are also two reception areas; the Orangerie, which is intimate and lovely, and a much larger space down the back. Full Milton Park wedding here.
Ok, so Jaspers technically isn’t in the Highlands, but I include in in this list of Southern Highlands wedding venues as it’s not too far away, and I end up shooting there quite often. Offering accommodation for bridal parties, a pool for those hot summer days, a giant chess set, heaps of amazing photo locations and a stunning reception room, it’s not hard to adore this venue. The team at Jaspers are wonderful, and from what I’ve seen nothing is too difficult for them. Even in the rain I love shooting at Jaspers – see my latest Jaspers wedding blog post here (it rained a lot!)
I remember looking at photos of the main house at Somerley a few years before I shot there, thinking ‘oh man, I hope I get a booking for that place someday’. I eventually did, and I fell in love with this incredible Southern Highlands wedding venue. The owners lite on-site in the main house, which itself makes an incredible photo backdrop. You can choose from a bunch of different ceremony locations, and I absolutely adore the old ‘school house’ which is where the receptions are held. There are rambling gardens, old sheds, long grass, and there’s accommodation for the bridal party onsite. Full Somerley wedding here.
Hillview Heritage Hotel
Right next to Somerley House in Sutton Forest is another of my favourite Southern Highlands wedding venues – the wonderful Hillview Heritage Hotel. This place is primarily a hotel, but you can also have your wedding onsite, both ceremony and reception. The ceremony spot has an incredible view over the valley. There are amazing photo locations – old tractors, huge trees, paddocks and long driveways. Full Hillview Heritage Hotel wedding here.
As far as Southern Highlands wedding venues go, the Robertson Hotel is quite special. It’s old – like, very old. Apparently it was named ‘Most luxurious hotel in the Commonwealth’ in 1925! Not much has changed during that time. This stately building sits atop a small hill, and is surrounded by wonderful gardens and greenery. Being a hotel, there’s plenty of room for you + your guests to stay and get ready on the wedding day. The bridal suite is my favourite from any local venue: high ceilings, white walls, perfect for photography. You can have the ceremony indoors, and you can also have it outside on the front lawn under fairy lights – see the photos below. Full Robertson Hotel wedding blog post here.
Up a long driveway, hidden amongst the hills of Kangaroo Valley, hides the wonderful Melross Farm. A long tree lined drive, lovely old sheds, and an incredible hilltop field with idyllic views of sunset over the mountains. Melross feels like a family farm which you can take over for the weekend for your wedding. It has various cottages with heaps of accommodation; you can choose where you’d like to have the ceremony based on the time of day and where the sun will be. There are heaps of amazing photo spots, an I absolutely love the reception area – an old converted barn that you can deck out as you please. Full Melross wedding here.
Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat
This wonder venue feels like an old school camp, with heaps of accomodation for lots of guests. It’s totally private which means you aren’t going to disturb neighbours with your noise. There is wildlife everywhere – so many wombats! The ceremony location at KVBR is amazing – it’s known as the Bush Chapel, and is set down a short trail and amongst an incredible collection of huge boulders. KVBR is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a DIY wedding where you and your crew can spend the entire weekend.
There are two Peppers venues in the Highlands. The first of these is quite close to Bowral, and is located near Centennial Vineyards / Gibraltar House. It’s a beautiful golf course, at the centre of which sits a gorgeous old hotel. There are sooo many photo locations around Craigieburn; every time I shoot there I find something new. I particularly love the old tennis court. There’s heaps of accommodation which means your guests don’t have to drive home after the wedding if they don’t want to. Full Peppers Craigieburn wedding here.
Peppers Manor House
The other Peppers venue in the Highlands is Peppers Manor House. It’s also a rambling old hotel set on a golf course, but it has a distinctly different feel to its sister venue. There’s still accomodation, and a wonderful ceremony location in front of a big tree. The venue itself is set apart from the golf course and is surrounded by lovely old sheds, which make for epic photo locations. There’s a big hill up the back which makes for an epic sunset spot, too. Click here to see a full Peppers Manor House wedding.
Gibraltar hotel is a relatively new venue. I remember watching it get built ten or so years ago. It’s a beautiful spot on a golf course, next to a lovely lake (complete with a family of ducks that sometimes come out for photos – see the shot below). One of my favourite aspects of the Gibraltar Hotel is the bridal suite – it’s huge, and with amazing light for hair / makeup shots. Gibraltar has a really great wet weather ceremony option just in case it’s not looking good on your wedding day. Click here to see a full Gibraltar Hotel wedding.
Mali Brae farm
I’ve only had the pleasure of shooting one Mali Brae wedding, but I’m super keen to shoot more! I’m hanging out to shoot more, because this venue is incredible! It’s a lovely farm set in the Southern Highlands countryside, with owners who are super friendly and accommodating. I absolutely adore the reception area, which is an old converted barn. The wedding I shot here was held in the middle of winter; it was chilly outside, but there was a fire pit keeping everyone warm. Being a farm, there are sooo many photos spots to explore, and if you’re lucky you might even get picked up in a ute and brought back to the reception so you don’t have to walk. Click here to see a full Mali Brae wedding.
One of the quirkiest venues I’ve ever seen, Wombat Hollow is also one of my favourites! I love how Wombat Hollow feels like a blank canvas that you can pretty much turn into whatever you want. The owners live on site, but are suitably removed from all the action (so you won’t disturb them). There are a multitude of old sheds (if you haven’t figured out, I love old sheds), heaps of paddocks and fields, and great ceremony spot locations. Click here to see a full Wombat Hollow wedding.
Montrose Berry Farm
Montrose Berry Farm is a working berry farm deep in the Southern Highlands. It’s a wonderful property with old stone buildings, and acres of berry plantations. I love how this place is quite farm from town, and feels a world away from everywhere. The photos that this venue offers are pretty incredible. You can also choose to have your reception in the evening outdoors, with tables on the lawn under romantic fairy lights. Full Montrose Berry Farm wedding here.
During the week, Biota functions as a restaurant – one of the best in Bowral. I’ve been there for dinner quite a few times and am constantly amazed by the food. A few weekends each year (not too often), Biota is transformed into a magical wedding venue. While the grounds are lovely, the reception room is wonderful, the real star here is the food. I don’t think you’ll eat better wedding food at any venue in Australia. Click here to see a full Biota wedding.
Burrawang School of Arts
This wonderful DIY location is a hall in the village of Burrawang. It’s essentially a shell – you can turn it into whatever you like, but it definitely lends itself to a more rustic vibe. For a full Burrawang School of Arts wedding, click here.
Hopewood House is located near Bowral on Centennial road. It’s quite close to some other venues like Centennial Vineyards and Gibraltar Hotel. It’s a beautiful old manor house that I’m sure holds a lot of history. While some local venues have farm-style grounds with old crumbling sheds and vines, Hopewood is more like an English garden, with manicured lawns and lots of landscaping. Around every corner is a new photo spot waiting to be discovered. The ceremony spot is lovely, and the reception room is gorgeous. Full Hopewood House wedding here.
What’s my favourite Southern Highlands wedding venue?
Well, the truth is, I don’t have one! These venues are all wonderful in their own way. I’ve worked at most of them multiple times, and I’ve come to know the owners and managers. You’ll be in great hands at any of these venues. The difficult part is now up to you – you have to choose one!
If you’re looking for a Southern Highlands wedding photographer, please get in touch.