The Hill Country

Nuwara Eliya

    Nuwara Eliya, the "city of lights," is the highest town in Sri Lanka and

that means a break from the oppressive heat and humidity that surrounds the rest of the country. It is surrounded by lush tea plantations. It is the main hill resort of Sri Lanka and the heart of the tea industry.

This city with an elevation of 6200 meters is the highest in Sri Lanka. Once a pleasure retreats of the European planters the town is still very much an English town was built entirely during the 19th century with many English style bungalows and buildings. Its architecture mimics that of an English country town, with red-brick walls, country house like hill club and mock-Tudor half-timbering.

Blessed with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it's hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. Temperatures are 14°C-21°C (Jan- April) 16°C-18°C (May-Aug) 15°C- 18°C (Sept-Dec). Nuwara Eliya is a good escape for those who miss cool breeze in tropical Sri Lanka at any time of the year.

Nuwara Eliya offers many activities for tourists including visits to tea plantations, golfing, horse riding, boating, hiking and of course exploring the beauty of the landscaped gardens, waterfalls and plateaus.Hemmed in by three of the highest mountains in the country; Piduruthalagala, the Great Western and Haggala, the city looks very isolated.

Thanks to the cool climes this is one city where you can never work up a sweat.


Horton Plains

 Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon.


Hakgala Botanical Garden

Hakgala Botanical Garden  is situated on the Nuwara Eliya-Badulla main road, 16 km from Nuwara Eliya . It was established in 1861 for the purpose of experimentation and promotion of Cinchona cultivation in Sri Lanka. Once after the Tea replace the Cinchona, it was turned into an experimental Tea cultivation. In 1884 it transformed to a garden since then many sub tropical and some temperate plants were planted in the gardens. Now the garden is famous for number of species of Orchids and Roses.

The climate of the Hakgala area, whose mean temperature is around 16ºC, is perfect for temperate-zone plants, both ornamental and useful. These include conifers and cedars from Australia, Bermuda and Japan, and cypresses from the Himalayas, China and as far as Persia, Mexico and California. New Caledonia gave Hakgala a special variety of pine, and there are specimens of this genus from the Canary Islands as well.An English oak, introduced around 1890, commemorates the "hearts of oak" of Britain’s vaunted sea power. There is also an excellent specimen of the camphor tree, whose habitat is usually in regions above 12,000 m elevation. The fern’s delicate fronds conjure up visions of misty grottoes, lichen-covered stones and meandering streams.

In the Rose Garden, you can experience the sights and scents of these glorious blooms in their infinite variety. From here it is a short stroll to the exotic sophistication of the Orchid House. A special attraction here is the variety of mountain orchids, many of them endemic to Sri Lanka. The languid low-country lotus and water lily also float in serene loveliness, emerging from a background of floating leaves to evoke the calm of saffron-robed monks, white-clad devotees and flickering oil lamps.

The secluded fernery at Hakgala lies in the shade of the Hakgala Rock, which is shaped like the jawbone of an elephant, from which it gets its name. Sri Lanka’s ferns are well represented here, as are those of Australia and New Zealand.


Nuwara Eliya Golf Club

Proud of its century old heritage hidden amidst tea estates and misty hills, the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is a favorite destination among keen golfers as well as beginners who come on vacation to the hill station. The 18-hole Golf Course and its Club House has a members club while visitors are welcome at all times. Boasting of one of the finest Golf experiences, the Golf Club offers accommodation as well as dining options while the bar and lounges are open to visitors as well. Dress codes and Golf standards should be adhered at all times. Golf Course is probably one of the most scenic and challenging Golf Courses in the world. Play golf in Nuwara Eliya and you’ll be transported back in time a hundred years to Sri Lanka’s colonial days. At times you might even feel like you’re in the Scottish Highlands. Built by British servicemen in 1889, the hill-country course is exceptionally beautiful.


Seetha Amman Temple

Driving down the winding roads of Nuwara Eliya, away from the main town, there’s a noticeable change in the surrounding area. Thick forests line the sides of the bendy roads. Sita Amman Temple is located here, on one of the narrow bends. There’s no proper sign or entrance so it’s most often missed due to it’s subtlety. The location of the temple is really beautiful. Dense jungles provide a picturesque backdrop behind the vibrant temple. According to Hindu mythology, this is where Princess Sita was held captive by King Ravana. A bubbly stream believed to be where Princess Sita bathed, gushes alongside the temple. The sita amman kovil is a quaint little temple with statues of rama, sita, hanuman, lakshmana and sugriva. Its distinguishing factor is that it is the only Kovil in the world dedicated to the Goddess Sita.


Gregory Lake

Gregory lake is located about one kilometer away from Nuwara Eliya town. It was build under the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873. This is the most prominent attraction in Nuwara Eliya and all the vistors used to come here and spent some time by the lake and relax. This was used as a place for water sports and for re-recreational activities during the British time. It’s a beautiful experience to see the sun set at one end and the lake at another. It’s a breathtaking view.  You can also go boating and rowing. You can go for horse riding around the lake


Victoria Park

The Queen Victroia Park is located by the Nuwara Eliya City center and one of the must visit attraction. This park was name to commemorate the 60th Jubilee Coronation of Queen Victoria in the year 1897. The park covers 27 acres of land. Victoria park is a place to relax and enjoy the natural sights and clean mountain air. This place is famous for bird watching where bird lovers would spend long hours.  There are large verities of plants and trees available. Victoria park come alive with the flowers. Kids will love this place because there are plenty of room to play.

River Nanu Oya that runs through the Victoria Park and a number of lakes within it supports the endemic birds of Sri Lanka as well as migrant birds from neighbouring countries and regions such as the Himalayas. Among the birds are Kashmir flycatcher, Indian blue robin, Pied thrush, Dull-blue flycatcher and the yellow-eared bulbul.


Labookele Tea Estate

Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre, situated approximately 1500 meters above sea level in the heart of Labookellie Estate, one of the finest tea plantations in Sri Lanka, is today a popular stop in an international travellers itinerary providing an opportunity to experience Mackwoods Tea at its best in the salubrious hill country clime as well as providing an instructive glimpse of the manufacture of Ceylon Tea. The Labookellie Tea Centre which has for long been a popular land mark amongst both locals and tourists to Nuwara-Eliya from Kandy for their requirements of garden fresh high quality Labookellie Tea. This Tea Centre has been expanded and refurbished to give its many visitors & customers better service in a more comfortable setting. Mackwoods provides visitors with a free guided tour of Labookellie tea factory, an educational experience in the tea cultivation and manufacturing process.


Pedro  Tea Estates

Pedro Tea Estate at Boralanda, 3 km away, still uses some original machinery & is less commercialized than other estates. There are some very pleasant walks through the plantations here, especially down to the tank and to Borburu Ella.


Soft adventure at Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya’s scenic mountainous terrain provides visitors with numerous hiking possibilities. Mount Pedro or Pidurutalgala rising to a height of 2555meters above the sea level is a great place for hiking enthusiasts, although the summit isn’t open to the public Waterfalls around Nuwara Eliya make the hiking and trekking all the more pleasant: Ramboda Falls, Devon Falls, Lover's Leap  Falls are to name a few. The Turf Club is also located within the city and affords visitors horse riding and pony riding. Boating opportunities are made possible by the boat house at Lake Gregory.


Water Falls around Nuwara Eliya

There are many popular waterfalls around the town. Many could be visited as a part of trekking and/or hiking expeditions.


Ramboda Falls 

Ramboda Ella is located by the Pussellawa, the A5 highway( Pussellawa- Nuwara Eliya road). Ramboda falls consists of three sections. You will get a good view of the middle section from the A5 highway, just above the bridge. This is very small in size with compared to other parts. You can get a far view of the top part from the main road, but not the complete view of the fall. You needs to climb up to see the top part of the Ramboda falls and there is a pathway just before the bridge.You may find the climbing bit difficult, but you will be compensated with the great view of the top fall and the surrounding. The bottom part of the Ramboda falls is located under the bridge. You can get a side view of this lower part from main road ( close to the tunnel entrance). If you need to see the full section of the bottom fall, you need to walk down from there to reach the lower waterfall. This is call Ramboda basin.


Lover's Leap 

The whole world loves lovers. Especially if they leap off a precipice to a rocky death in the name of their love.  As did a young prince and the girl he loved when the soldiers of the king, tried to drag him back to the palace by force. The two lovers embraced for one last time, held hands and jumped off the mountain of Pidurutalagala. History does not record their names, but since that fateful escapade the waterfall nearby is called Lover's Leap. To this day, every drop of water that cascades down the sloping rocks to the pool below is an eulogy to their undying love. This is off the Nuwara Eliya - Kandapola Road. The waters are taken to brew the famous Nuwara Eliya Beer.


Devon Falls (named after Devon, a pioneer coffee planter)

Devon Falls is one of the most popular waterfall in the country specially due its clear view from the popular Hatton Nuwara Eliya Road. The best view is from Dimbula where a special viewpoint is located with parking facilities. On the other side of the road is the famous Mlesna Tea Center where you could have a fresh cup of tea could be had. Almost Everybody who travels on this road to Nuwara Eliya is bound to at least break rest here before continuing the journey.


St. Clair Waterfall

St. Clair Waterfall can be easily view from just 3 km away from the Thalawakele Town, in Hatton Thalawakele main road ( A7 road, Nuwara Eliya ? Awissawella Road). The name given, because this fall is located in St. Clair Tea estate. .