Wingecarribee Shire covers an area of 2700 km2, has an estimated population of 51,134 and is also known as the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
This Shire is an important catchment area for water supply to Sydney, Wollongong and the Northern Shoalhaven. Much of the Shire is located at or above 640 m above sea level, with the main towns being Bowral, Moss Vale and Mittagong.
With four distinct seasons, the Southern Highlands is renowned for many European-style gardens. With a land area almost as big as Sydney, the region contains many micro-climates. Average rainfall is approximately 1000 mL per annum where summers are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are short, cold, and mostly clear. The average temperature for January is 25 °C and 12 °C for July.
There are 20 primary schools, two public high schools, four private high schools, one special needs school, Moss Vale TAFE and a University of Wollongong campus.
Two hospitals offer an extensive range of on-site medical, surgical and support services. There are numerous aged care homes, plus home care supports and facilities for residents with a disability. A broad range of services such as dental, optometry, podiatry, physiotherapy, alternative health practitioners and therapies are on offer. Community centres and programs include drop in, counselling, loan and crisis support and information.
The Shire contains 16 preschools, family day care, or out of school hours care services. There is also an array of resident and community associations, Rotary, CWA, Lions, Red Cross, Men’s Sheds, gardening, environmental groups, and bush care clubs.
The Shire contains 23 sporting grounds hosting numerous clubs and representing most sports, three outdoor swimming pools and a year-round aquatic centre.
The Wingecarribee region hosts annual food, music, and cultural festivals featuring performing arts, cinema, galleries and libraries, and contains the Ngununnggula Regional Gallery at Bowral.
Wingecarribee contains many cafes and restaurants at a broad range of price points in all towns and villages, with a growing focus on locally-grown produce. There are 18 cellar doors and four breweries.
Main street shopping is available in the towns of Bowral, Moss Vale and Mittagong and the villages of Berrima, Robertson, and Bundanoon. Highlands Marketplace and Highlands Hub offer a mix of stores and parking in one convenient location at Mittagong.