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Picton is the heart of the Wollondilly Shire, a historic rural town only one hour’s drive from Sydney and in close proximity to the Illawarra, Macarthur and Southern Highlands.
As one of the earliest European settlements, Picton was “discovered” when a number of cattle went missing in the early days of the colony. The herd were found in 1795 by a convict near the Nepean River and the area became known as Cowpastures, then Stonequarry until 1841 when the name Picton was established. Picton is believed to have been chosen to honour a soldier, Sir Thomas Picton.
Home to many historic buildings, it is full of character with interesting architecture, significant railway heritage, bustling café’s, boutique shops and a native botanic garden, all easily explored by foot.
The Picton Botanic Gardens is popular with locals and visitors alike and is only a 10-minute walk from the town centre and can be easily reached by car. With six kilometres of walking, running or cycling track, it is the perfect destination to explore the beautiful natural surroundings and local plant life. It is a great spot for dog walking and includes a dog off-leash area. Enjoy a picnic, a BBQ or let the kids loose on the play equipment. Seating is available and bathrooms have disabled access.
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Wollondilly is well known for its railway heritage and Picton is home to the oldest existing stone archway in NSW, the picturesque Stonequarry Creek Railway Viaduct. The huge sandstone arches stand in their original condition and is still in use today.
The Viaduct is located at the end of Webster Street in Picton, is surrounded by historic homes and natural parkland and is a close walk to the heritage listed railway station.
There is a wonderful selection of places to eat including Smoke N Grill, an authentic smokehouse serving the best burgers and smoked meats within Wollondilly. Other options include Picton Social or Moses Barnes, chic cafés sporting colourful interior murals with opportunities to eat alfresco as you watch the world go by. One of Australia’s oldest pubs, the George IV Inn, was built in 1835 and was home to Scharers Little Brewery, one of Australia’s first microbreweries. It offers a great selection food, beer and cider, including locally brewed Cedar Creek Cider.
Visitors can easily take a walk around the historic town centre and follow the self-guided Historic Picton Walking tour. One of the stops on the tour and a great starting point is the Picton Courthouse on Argyle Street, built-in 1864 it is still in use today.
At the intersection of Argyle Street and Menangle Street is the Old Picton Post Office, currently being renovated and soon to be opened as a co-working space. The former National Australia Bank sits on the opposite corner. For those interested in local history, the Wollondilly Heritage Centre and Museum is 15 minutes away by car run by knowledgeable volunteers and open on weekends.
Only a short drive away is the NSW Rail Museum where visitors can board a steam train and enjoy a 40-minute round trip as they step back in time. The NSW Rail Museum houses the largest collection of rolling railway stock in Australia and is open 7 days.
Thomas the Tank Engine fans should pay a visit to the museum on one of the popular Days out with Thomas events. Each year the township alongside the museum hosts the Thirlmere Festival of Steam, two days of celebration including a street parade, steam train rides, market stalls, entertainment and more and welcomes more than 20,000 visitors.
Wollondilly features stunning rolling hills and vast hectares of bushland, this of course means it is home to some interesting animals. The Australian Wildlife Sanctuary is a short drive up the road and hosts exciting tours including Ultimate Wildlife Experiences and Wild Nights Out during school holidays. Next door is the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary dedicated to breeding pure Australian native dingoes, bookings are essential for both attractions.
The vast open spaces, fertile soil and clean air are perfect for growing fresh produce and visitors can enjoy some pick-your own experiences including: Cedar Creek Orchard for seasonal apples, peaches, nectarines and persimmons; Berrylicious Strawberries, both a 10-minute drive away; and Mowbray Park Produce; beautiful blooms are available at Jonima Flowers, offering a selection of over 100 different locally grown varieties of flowers and foliage across the seasons.
For further details of what to see and what’s on in the Dilly, as it is affectionally known as by the locals, follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or order or download your free Visit Wollondilly Guide or go to visitwollondilly.com.au
The historic township of Picton is the heart of the Wollondilly or the Dilly as it is affectionately referred to by the locals. Located just over an hour from Sydney, 40 minutes from the Illawarra, the Macarthur and Western Sydney, it is a great place to get away and unwind.
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