Uncover historical and rural charm in this scenic town on the outskirts of Sydney. Situated in the fertile Wollondilly Region, Picton is home to abundant natural beauty, railway heritage and a spectacular annual light festival. Discover native botanic gardens, historic walks and delightful streetscapes full of colonial architecture.
History & heritage
Your time in Picton can be as relaxed or busy as you like. Pick up a free map from the NSW Rail Museum for a self-guided historic walk of the town. Or take a scenic drive to discover the area’s notable heritage architecture and beautifully restored colonial homesteads like Belgenny Farm, established by John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1805.
Heritage attractions include St Mark’s Anglican Church, designed by the famous colonial architect Edmund Blacket – you can take an audio tour via your phone using the QR codes at the site. The picturesque sandstone Picton Railway Viaduct over Stonequarry Creek was finished in 1867. Another scenic creek crossing is Victoria Bridge, classified by the National Trust.
More railway heritage can be observed at the Mushroom Tunnel, the first railway tunnel used by NSW Railways and a beautiful example of the stone masonry of the 19th century. In the heart of Picton, you'll find Argyle Street, a quaint strip of cafes and local shops offering a range of charming gifts, treasures, ethically sourced goods, and colourful homewares and clothing.
More things to do
Adventure seekers should bring their bike to explore the tranquil countryside. Start at the picturesque Picton Botanic Gardens, which has a 9km track surrounded by a selection of native Australian plants. For more outdoor fun, drive to nearby Thirlmere and visit Thirlmere Lakes National Park, where you can go bushwalking and enjoy a picnic among nature.
Other fun activities in Picton include go-karting, for ages seven and up, at Picton Karting Track; and the popular Sydney Skydivers, for unforgettable views over the rural countryside. Visit in May for the annual Illuminate Wollondilly Festival of Art and Light, a creative arts festival, similar to Vivid Sydney, that sees local buildings lit up as artworks are projected onto their facades.
Eat & drink
The rich, country soil around Picton supports various agricultural enterprises, which means local restaurants can use delicious seasonal produce. Country hospitality, not to mention a cold beer, is on offer at the Picton Hotel and the George IV Inn, which traces its history back to 1839.
The heritage-listed Jarvisfield House, built in the 1860s by grazier John Macquarie Antill, is now the clubhouse of the Antill Park Country Golf Club, which also has a fantastic Thai restaurant.
For a slice of rural life, scope out the family-friendly Mowbray Park Farmstay to get up close to horses, alpacas, sheepdogs and the odd duck.
If you prefer the finer things in life, book a luxurious weekend at The Cottage Picton, which comes complete with a firepit, outdoor bath and stunning views of the surrounding foothills, or Kalinya Estate, a grand heritage-listed homestead perfect for large groups.
Picton is around an hour's drive southwest of Sydney’s city centre and 45min northwest of Wollongong. Or you can travel by train from Sydney.