Homes

Multimillion dollar mansions, no paps and guaranteed privacy: The surprising country hideaway where Aussie celebs retreat to get out of the spotlight

Their secret weekend getaway spot, revealed.

By Rebecca Sullivan
While there's no denying that Australia's capital cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, are a major drawcard for our top Aussie celebrities to lay down their roots, they can also be a nightmare for those trying to stay out of the spotlight.
Many celebs choose to see out their working weeks at their city homes, with Sydney hosting the headquarters of all the major TV and radio networks, but then take a break from the crowds and intense scrutiny on the weekends, retreating to their quiet, private and sprawling country estates.
And there's one area that's become a hot favourite among our biggest A-list stars over the years - the Southern Highlands in New South Wales.
The region is just 110 km south-west of Sydney, a short one or two-hour drive away, making it the perfect weekend getaway location.
The area is home to several popular suburbs, including Bowral, Robertson, Mittagong, Moss Vale and Sutton Forest.
The low-key country vibe and less densely-populated areas mean celebs can enjoy relative anonymity among these parts, away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and eagle-eyed fans.
The area has become hugely popular with some of our top-earning celebs, who have used their big pay cheques to purchase multi million dollar properties, in addition to their city pads.
So which famous faces have laid down their roots in the lovely Southern Highlands?
Keep on scrolling to find out.

Samantha Armytage

Sam recently got engaged to her boyfriend, who also lives in the Southern Highlands. Image: Instagram
The Sunrise host owns a beautiful $2.2 million, five bedroom country retreat in Bowral.
She also owns a home in Sydney's Bondi, where she stays during the week while filming the breakfast TV show.
Her new fiancé Richard Lavender is also a fan of the Southern Highlands - he owns his own property there too.
Sam recently put her Bondi pad on the market, a sign that she wants to sew deep roots in the Southern Highlands.
Sam enjoying a sunny morning stroll near her country abode. Image: Instagram

Michelle Bridges

Michelle has now moved permanently to the Southern Highlands, following her split from The Commando. Image: Instagram
Former Biggest Loser trainer Michelle purchased a home in the Southern Highlands village of Kangaloon with her ex-partner Steve "The Commando" Willis for a reported $2.7 million in 2017.
The stunning five-bedroom property, which includes a tennis court with tennis pavilion, a solar-heated swimming pool, guest barn, art studio, purpose-built vegetable gardens and a dam, backs directly onto the bush.
Until recently, Michelle also owned a $6 million apartment in Sydney's Potts Point, which was registered entirely in her own name. But she sold that pad earlier this year, following the announcement of her split with Commando and her shock drink-driving charge.
Now she and the couple's son Axel live permanently in Kangaloon, with Michelle frequently posting happy snaps from her relaxing country retreat.
Michelle getting in her daily workout, while looking out at her property's amazing view. Image: Instagram

Nicole Kidman

Nicole recently opened up her home to Vogue magazine. Image: Vogue
While they own properties in Sydney, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, Nicole Kidman and her musician husband Keith Urban also own a mansion in the Southern Highlands suburb of Sutton Forrest. The couple purchased the property for $6.5 million in 2018.
In late 2019, the home was one of many in the area threatened by the severe bushfires sweeping the nation. Thankfully, their house wasn't lost.
"Their house is not on fire. It is under threat, so they are keeping a close eye on it," a representative for the couple told People magazine at the time.
The couple also donated $500,000 towards the bushfire appeal.
"We're devastated," Nicole told Channel Ten's Angela Bishop of the tragedy.
"Keith and I are pledging $500,000 to all the services, the rural services fighting the fires right now," she said.
Nicole pictured inside her dreamy, light-filled home. Image: Vogue

Phoebe Burgess

Phoebe played with her daughter Poppy in her parents' backyard in Bowral. Image: Instagram
Before her split from her NRL star husband Sam Burgess last year, lifestyle influencer Phoebe and the couple's two children, Poppy and Billy, were living in a multi-million dollar Maroubra mansion in Sydney's east, which they sold in January for $5 million.
But since her marriage breakdown, Phoebe has been spending the majority of her time at her parents' property in Bowral.
"It makes sense as Phoebe's support network is in Bowral. She grew up there, her mum and dad are there and her sister Jemima," a source told The Daily Telegraph last October.
"It's only an hour away from Sydney so not too hard for Sam to still see the kids and Phoebe to be able to attend events for her clients," the insider said.
Phoebe still returns to Sydney for work and media commitments, and is regularly spotted in the city or eastern suburbs in head-to-toe designer clothing.

Kyle Sandilands

Kyle Sandilands with his ex-girlfriend Imogen Anthony at their property in Robertson. Image: Instagram
The KIIS FM radio star owns a beautiful 1890s Federation style farmhouse on 61 hectares in Robertson, which he shares with his ex-girlfriend Imogen Anthony, who grew up in the area.
The farm, called Twin Creeks Farm or Taballa, has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a guest house with a self-contained bedsit, as well as an orchard with apples and citrus trees, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
There are stone-lined creek beds with mini waterfalls which result in a large pond with goldfish and platypus.
Kyle bought the property for almost $3 million in 2018, yet despite splitting from Imogen last year, the former couple will not sell the property.
In fact, it's believed Imogen was even self-isolating at the farm during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that she is no longer dating the radio king.
"Kyle and Imogen will never sell the property," a representative for Kyle revealed in April, after the pair split in November last year.
"The farm is home to over 100 rescue animals who'll continue to be cared for."
Imogen posing with one of the animals on the farm. Image: Instagram

Kate Ritchie

A dressed-down Kate Ritchie perched by her front door in the Southern Highlands. Image: Instagram
Former Home And Away actress-turned Nova radio star Kate Ritchie owns a $1.75 million weekend retreat in Burradoo.
She purchased the property with her former NRL star husband Stuart Webb, although the couple are believed to be living apart following Stuart's recent brushes with the law.
The house features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a formal lounge and a large mud room and a sprawling garden estate.
Kate regularly posts photos from her Southern Highlands home on Instagram, where she often stays with her daughter, Mae.
The 41-year-old also owns a three bedroom home in Sydney's Randwick, which she purchased for $990,000 in 2003.
A gorgeous snapshot from the garden in Kate Ritchie's country home. Image: Instagram