Mittagong in Australia is a retreat from the stresses of daily life



Mittagong can be found in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, in Australia. The residents call it Mitta. It supports 7,460 residents, including those of Welby, Balaclava, Braemor and Willow Vale, localities within the vicinity. Situated between two mountains, Alexander and Gibraltar, it lies against the Old Hume Highway linking Sydney and Melbourne. The Nattai River flows nearby and is tributary to the town’s own Lake Alexandra.

Once called New Sheffield the town now takes its name from the aboriginal Dharawal peoples. Mittagong means “little mountain” but some suggest it can also mean “plenty of native dogs”. They offer as evidence the fact that dingoes used to live there in great numbers.

Rising prominently over the town is Mount Gibraltar, formerly thought to be a volcano but now considered to be the result of long-ago igneous intrusion. Colloquially called “The Gib”, Gibraltar is formed as a ridge instead of the traditionally thought-of pointed peak. Walking trails lead to where a granite quarry was once active as well as lookout points on the cliffs that give a view of Mittagong and of Bowral.

There is a large nature reserve at the peak, the Mount Gibraltar Reserve, called Bowrell, “a high place”, by the Aborigines. The mountain stands eight-hundred-sixty-three meters above sea level. Many telecommunications and broadcast towers can also be found here. Climbing the mountain faces are great areas of dense timber stands.

Nature can also be found in the town, though an originally man-made natural feature. Lake Alexandra sits off of Mittagong’s primary avenue. Though it began its existence as a supply dam for the railroads, it is picnic and recreation spot popular with locals and visitors alike. Seventy acres of parkland are home to profusion of bird species and so the lake grounds attract birding enthusiasts. As well, one can found barbecue pits and campgrounds that serve those who come here to enjoy picnic dinners. Trails lead off from here to the Forty Foot Falls, an interesting natural site wherein a cave can be found behind a sheer waterfall.

On the outskirts of town “the Maltings” can be seen on Old Hume Highway as one enters Mittagong from Brauner. “Maltings” is the local nickname for a complex of old malt houses. These abandoned historical buildings once served as breweries for former beer company New South Wales, Tooth and Co. The building you see as you first enter town down the highway is one of the original buildings and is over one hundred years old. A renovation was begun a few years ago but not completed.

Finally, built on the site of the original iron mines on which the town’s industry was originally founded in the 1800′s is the Highland Market Place, a large shopping center which opened in 2007. It has many retail franchises such as Big W and Woolworth’s. Another shopping center was recently added to the Market Place, the Highlands Homemaker Center, and houses such retailers as Dick Smith Electronics, The Good Guys and Fantastic Furniture. In the car park is a historical site displaying the original remains off the nineteenth century iron mine.

Mittagong preserves both its urban and natural history, and these preservations are on display and available to residents and visitors alike. Visit our website to see some options in Mittagong motels as well as many other types of accommodation.

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