Book lovers are well catered for in the Southern Highlands, with everything from antiquarian books to new releases, with book shops scattered throughout the region.


Sprinkled through the picturesque towns and villages of the Southern Highlands are many delightful bookshops and literary points of interest.

Established in the year 2000, the Southern Highlands is the first Australian representative of the international book town movement, inspired in the 1960s by the UK town of Hay-on-Wye, located on the Welsh border. Its eccentric, but admirably energetic, resident Richard Booth MBE worked to enliven his small rural community by establishing a ‘town of bookshops’. His brazen publicity stunts – including a ‘bookish kingdom’ with its own passports – attracted visitors, most of whom bought a book or two, and some even became booksellers themselves. The idea caught on, and other towns and villages throughout the world, typically in rural communities keen to prosper from tourism, were inspired to join the movement and save the printed book.

Book town crusaders cater to people who love books and enjoy the fun of browsing through bookshops in search of literary treasures, old and new. Book towns thrive on visitors and locals who are passionate about the printed word, especially in a time of technological flux. Books have even been published about these ‘paradises of the printed word’, and British author Alex Johnson summed up the resurgence with these words:

“At a time when libraries are becoming an endangered species and independent bookshops struggle against the rise of the e-book, book towns are beacons of hope in the fight to keep the traditional book alive.  Please visit them and buy a book or two”.

1. Bendooley Estate

Bendooley Estate has so much to see and do. Explore Berkelouw Book Barn. dine at Bendooley’s restaurant. Stay in luxurious cottages, visit the cellar door, find you perfect wedding location or conference venue.

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2. Berrima Court House

The Berrima Courthouse can now truly lay claim to offer visitors a remarkable and extraordinary theatrical experience. A new sound and light show innovation brings together the very latest in audio visual technology. At the press of a button the visitor will find all their senses heightened to a level seldom experienced. As a narrator suddenly appears from out of the darkened court room & gives his historical chronicle to events in Berrima all in 5.1 surround sound. This visual prelude also includes the trial of the infamous murderers of the 1840s. As you are encircled on all sides by jury, public gallery, clerks of the court, barristers, the judge, and the accused this all goes to enhance the occasion. The terrible and final judgment will astonish most as the judge suddenly appears and makes his final summation as to what happens after execution. We promise you a most memorable encounter at the Berrima Courthouse. Open 7 days 10.00am - 4.00pm

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3. Berrima District Historical & Family History Society

The Berrima District Historical & Family History Society assist with all historic information for the Southern Highlands of NSW.

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4. Bowral Central Library

Offering a full range of library services. Check out the website for more details.

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5. Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Home of cricket memories.

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6. Highlife Magazine

There is no other magazine in the nation like Highlife, often described as the Tatler of Australia. Based in Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, approximately half way between Sydney and Canberra, Highlife has evolved since 1996 to become a magazine of international standard.

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7. The Phoenix Bookstore

Risen from the ashes after the catastrophic fire in the heart of Bowral - a new name and a new address

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8. Mittagong Branch Library

Offering a full range of library services. Check out the website for more details.

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9. Moss Vale Branch Library

Offering a full range of library services. Check out the website for more details.

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10. Southern Highlands Booktown

Welcome to Australia’s First Booktown. COME FOR THE BOOKS – WE’RE BOOKTOWN! The Southern Highlands has long housed more than its fair share of creative and well-read people but the crowning glory has to be its status as Australia’s First Booktown. Since 2000 the Southern Highlands of NSW  has augmented its cache of local authors, […]

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11. The Bookshop Bowral

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