The Hilltops Region of Australia’s south-east has a look all its own.
As the visitor drives north from the tablelands and Canberra area, the countryside changes subtly. A tapestry of sweeping land opens before you, criss-crossed by obviously fertile river plains and occasional rocky outcrops – all relics of an ancient volcano, Mount Canemumbola.
It is these fertile soils that have long stamped the region as a primary industry force; delivering up grains, fine wool, beef cattle and a range of stone fruit.
As we near our first objective, the town of Boorowa, livestock is wandering through paddocks turned white by early morning frost.
We’re mesmerised by the sunlight bouncing off the icy ground and spotlighting the red and yellows of leaves still freshly fallen from Autumn.
Stopping by the roadside, we attempt to film the beauty, knowing only too well that cameras can rarely do justice to nature’s lightshows.
The Hilltops Region features the historic towns of Boorowa, Young and Harden-Murrumburrah, along with numerous smaller villages.
Each has its pioneering stories and storytellers – and each town regularly celebrates its particular culture and history with a series of popular community events.
Together, the towns of the Hilltops are embracing the future; celebrating a diverse past; and carefully promoting a fast-growing tourism economy.
According to its own literature, the Hilltops Region attracted 414,000 visitors in 2016 alone, injecting AUD$79million into the local economy.
This regional development was the main reason for our visit. We were keen to sample just why Hilltops was creating such interest among travellers – and how the region had played to its strengths to become a tourism buzzword.
And, at the same time, we wanted to see how the population centres themselves – and the people there – had changed during the development of the Hilltops identity.
We’d lived at Young more than 30 years ago, so that centre had particular sentimentality to us.
But, we’d been away a long time – and what we found on our ramble through the Hilltops both surprised and delighted.
Join us over the next week as we explore this journey and outline aspects of the Hilltops Region through our eyes.
As well as following this feature here on Memorable Destination, you can also join us on the ‘Memorable’ stable of Instagram accounts @memorable_destination @memorable_travels and @memorable_hotels.
The feature will also be highlighted on both our Twitter and Facebook accounts.