Exeter and the Southern Highlands are an easy trip from Sydney or Canberra, either for the day, or as a weekend break. The Highlands offer a relief from humidity and it generally cools down at night so you can sleep comfortably under a doona or blanket.
There are many B&Bs and excellent guesthouses in the area, particularly in the next village to Exeter, Bundanoon. Try Tree Tops Guest House or Mildenhall, both are excellent. The Bundanoon website has listings of accommodation in the area.
A must do on any Highlands break is this new market in the Southern Highlands village of Exeter - it's new, fresh and held on the green at Exeter Oval on the first Saturday of the month. The New Year Market is next Saturday, 5 January.
At the previous market event we found deep cool shade under the massive deodars, where a variety of garden stalls offered seedlings, punnets of herbs, rare cottage plants from the Back o' the Moon open garden, Moss Vale and potted heritage roses.
At the last market we found Nicole Freeman selling designer shoes, bags and interesting jewellery she sources in Sydney and sells to the locals for a fraction of its original cost. She's definitely worth a visit. The local bread was wonderful and we found it freezes well if you want to take home a supply. Near the bread was yet another flower stall manned, and we mean manned, by Sandy Crisp (in large Akubra), who grows over 1300 varieties of pelargoniums. He had hundreds on display, perfect potted colour.
One of the things not to miss is the Market Cafe in the Village Hall - linen tablecloths, attentive, if busy staff, and great food. We had sausage rolls and, in deference to the heat, iced coffee. Someone was extolling the virtues of the cafe's barista while we were there. We've checked out the market website for the cafe's New Year menu and noted it includes Pavlova and Ice Cream Sundaes.
Other good things about Exeter Market's website are the listing of stallholders - each has a profile and contact information, so they can be found afterwards. Plus there is a map, local weather information and links to other attractions in the village: a gallery and general store which is part book shop, cafe as well as post office and local produce store and don't miss the Pumps Antiques.