The historic town of Appin dates back to 1811. Named after a Scottish village, Appin is an hour’s drive southwest of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and home to the picturesque Cataract Dam, one of Australia’s oldest dams. You’ll discover colonial heritage and an important Aboriginal memorial.
Bring your mountain bike, too. The 10B cycling trail in Dharawal National Park begins at the Appin Road entrance of this beautiful wilderness that protects a number of special indigenous sites. The 15km track follows an unsealed road through open forest and woodlands along a sandstone ridge.
The fifth village in the colony, Appin retains fascinating colonial buildings and ruins such as Windmill Hill. In Appin Public School is the first public school built under Father of Federation Henry Parkes’ 1866 Public Schools Act. There are colonial churches dating back to the first half of the 19th century.
Stroll in the town and admire the heritage, and then stop for a hearty meal and a cool drink at the Appin Hotel, a lovely country pub with a wide verandah and enchanting beer garden. You can enjoy live music on most Saturday nights and the bistro is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Experience the natural beauty of the area on a scenic drive to Douglas Park, a charming town a short drive northwest of Appin and near a popular kayaking spot on the Nepean River. Just south of Appin is Cataract Dam, Australia’s largest engineering project at the time of construction – 1902 to 1907.
Near the dam wall and picnic area is the Appin Massacre Memorial to the Aboriginal people killed by British troops on April 17, 1816. A memorial ceremony for the Aboriginal people who died in 1816 is held every year on the Sunday nearest to April 17 and is followed by a barbecue in the picnic area.
You can walk across the dam wall for spectacular views of the river and water catchment. The dam wall stands 56 metres and a castle-like sandstone building sits on top. Appin is 18 minutes’ drive south of Campbelltown and half an hour from the beaches of Wollongong, NSW’s third-largest city.