Located to the south of the Macarthur District at the foothills of the Southern Highlands some 80 km south west of Sydney, Wollondilly Shire is surrounded by natural beauty and rural pastures. It's 2,560 square kilometres stretch from Bargo in the south, Appin and Menangle in the east, Warragamba in the north with the Nattai wilderness, Yerranderie ghost town and Burragorang Valley to the west. The area is mostly rural, with small scale industry and commerce. Notably, the Wollondilly supplies much of Sydney Metropolitan and surrounding areas with water from Warragamba Dam, Cataract Dam in Appin, Cordeaux Dam in Wilton and Avon and Nepean Dams, which are accessed via road through Bargo.
The district is rich in aboriginal and European history. A colourful tapestry interweaves the Dreamtime legends of the Gundangurra and Tharawal people on a backdrop of gorges, ranges and plains with a rural patchwork created by the white settlers who followed the first fleets famous straying cattle to the Cowpastures. Each of the towns and villages have their own stories to tell and personalities to meet but the rural charm with country hospitality is found everywhere.
The Wollondilly Visitor Centre is located in the Old Picton Post Office building, corner of Argyle and Menangle Streets, Picton. Open 7 days, 9am - 5pm.
Picton is a small town in the Wollondilly region to the south west of sydney, is home to many historic buildings, including two types of bridges not found easily anymore elsewhere in the state - a timber trestle bridge that crosses Stonequarry Creek - and the Picton Railway Viaduct.
Thirlmere, like many towns and villages in regional New South Wales, was born with the coming of the Great Southern Railway in 1863 to 1867. It was valued for its proximity to Thirlmere Lakes which provided water for the steam trains. Today Thirlmere is home to the the state's largest railway museum - Trainworks.
Buxton, like several other villages along the old loop line to the south of Picton, began life as a railway siding. Most other stations had crossing loops and sidings to allow trains to pass on the line, or to store the extra engines, although Buxton did not acquire one until 1912.
Located about 100 kilometres south west of Sydney, Bargo is a main residential town surrounded by farmlands. The Avon and Nepean Dams are close by. The Nepean Dam has first class picnic facilities, with the added bonus of beautiful bushland and the spectacular views of the dam: an ideal family day's outing.
Holding over four times the capacity of Sydney Harbour, Lake Burragorang is the source of almost 70% of Sydneys drinking water. There are two access corridors for bushwalkers: Mount Mouin to Mount Cookem and Belloon Pass to Yerranderie. Vehicle access is limited.
Maldon is a small village to the east of Picton, known for its historic suspension Bridge. Maldon has long been home to a cement factory owned and operated by Boral Cement. A flour mill owned by Allied Mills, commenced operations in 2009. Maldon Gorge is a popular picnicking, bushwalking and swimming spot.
A small village in the Macarthur/Wollondilly districts, Menangle is 69 km south east of Sydney. Menangle has several heritage-listed buildings. These include Camden Park House, The Menangle Store, the Rotolactor, and the Menangle Railway Viaduct.
Established in 1810, Appin is the oldest town in the Wollondilly, and one of the first villages in regional New South Wales. Some of the first land grants here can still be seen in the names of the farms on the right hand side of the road from Campbelltown. This land has been farmed continually for almost 190 years - for wheat, barley, and vegetables in the earliest days, and later dairying and fodder for horses.
Located about 65 kilometres west of Sydney, the small township of Warragamba was originally built as a temporary construction town for the building of the Warragamba Dam starting in 1948. Many of the workers stayed after the dam was completed. The dam has visitor facilities.
A private town with buildings left just as they were more than 50 years ago, Yerranderie is one of the state's most authentic, unchanged silver mining ghost towns. Its buildings have been restored to their original condition as accurately as possible, and the displays are all of genuine relics collected by miners over the decades.
Dharawal National Park
Dharawal National Park offers a diverse bushland experience in southern Sydney. Sustained by a distinctive network of creeks, this leafy park is of great significance to the Dharawal Aboriginal people and protects a number of special Aboriginal sites.
This deep waterhole is situated at the end of the Gulger Gorge on the Nepean River, between Camden and Penrith. The basin is a natural geological feature on the junction of the Cumberland Plain and the Blue Mountains escarpment. It is popular among residents of western Sydney who here come to and participate in activities such as walking, fishing, swimming and canoeing.