If you’re looking for things to do or maybe just some inspiration for your next getaway, Bowral is New South Wales’ ultimate weekend retreat.
Whether it’s a day trip, an overnight stay or a weekend away, Bowral in New South Wales is the perfect getaway – especially for you foodie, wine lovers and explorers.
This famed Southern Highlands town is famed for its fine dining, spectacular array of wineries and, of course, Australia’s best pies.
So, if you’re in search of the best places to eat, where to stay and what to do in Bowral, our ultimate weekender guide to Bowral in Southern Highlands, New South Wales will have everything you need!
How far is Bowral from Sydney?
Passing the Dharawal National Park and Picton, Bowral is approximately an hour-and-a-half drive from Sydney. On your way back we recommend stopping in Wollongong for a coastal change.
Where to Eat in Bowral, New South Wales
Meet Eschalot, a fine dining restaurant found in the heart of the Southern Highlands. It’s located in the historic village of Berrima and operates from one of the most significant heritage buildings in the area. The stunning house divides the restaurant into a series of elegant dining rooms to create a sophisticated and quiet fine dining experience. A large vegetable garden surrounds the restaurant, which is where the chefs source as much of their produce as possible.
As for their menu, it perfectly encapsulates the charming essence of Bowral and all that it has to offer. With everything from snacks to takeaway, a five-course seasonal menu as well as the chef’s picks, there is plenty to choose from.
If you’re stuck on what to order, we’d recommend the Pork Belly with white rum and miso pineapple ($27) to start; the pomegranate-infused Lamb Rump ($44) for mains; and, to finish, the renowned Fig Leaf Panna Cotta served with honeycomb ($19).
Eschalot | 24 Old Hume Highway, Berrima, NSW 2577
The Press Shop Cafe
The prettiest cafe in Bowral – but make sure you get in early, this one is always busy! The Press Shop offers a unique cafe experience where you can enjoy delicious coffee, colourful lattes, freshly made meals, sweet treats as well as gorgeous stationery. Could the combination get any better? The space is an accumulation of a design studio, print studio, letterpress stationery store and cafe all contained within the one beautiful space. Most days you can even watch their vintage presses in action!
One of the standout features is the heavy curved door – a stunning feature which is the quintessential English inspired finish. Make sure to pop by for breakfast and order the Deluxe Bacon & Egg Roll ($22) that’s layered with smashed avocado, two fried eggs, two rashers bacon, a hashbrown, cheese and capsicum relish.
Forget everything you thought you knew about pies. The Gumnut Patisserie’s pies will truly blow your mind. It’s no secret, hence why you could be waiting up to 45 minutes in a queue on a long weekend. But, we assure you, it’s well worth it. Owners Tracy and Vicki Nickl are some of the best pastry chefs of the Southern Highlands, utilising the finest of ingredients, combining tradition and pride to craft exquisite pastries, desserts and pies with no compromise on quality.
The Gumnut Patisserie has handfuls of pies and other baked goods that will leave you wanting more. If you can get in early, be sure to try The Eden, the Lamb & Rosemary or the Chicken & Leek. Finish with a croissant or scone to go, you won’t regret it.
Where to drink in Bowral, New South Wales
Harry’s on Green Lane
Harry’s on Green Lane is our go-to spot for a drink in Bowral. Taking the title as one of he best places to grab a tipple in Bowral, this cosy and stylish venue is the perfect eclectic mix of nostalgia, cool vibes and a splash of the old world. From the sky-high ceilings, to windy nooks and crannies filled with books, mismatched lamps, portraits and cane furniture; Harry’s is the perfect spot to escape the cold and sip on delicious wine and cocktails. It’s open daily from midday so you can spend all day there if you wish. Sit back, relax and sip on a full bodied red and unwind after your bustling day around Bowral.
Southern Highlands Brewing & Taphouse
A little further out of Bowral you’ll find the trendy and fairly newly renovated brewery, the Southern Highlands Brewing & Taphouse that’s home to flowing beer, patterned tiles, wood, wrought iron and many patrons. An extremely popular drinking spot in the Southern Highlands, it is the perfect location for both large groups or an intimate setting. They have an extensive beverage list including craft beer as well as some extremely delicious pub meals. Our two must-eat dishes include the Slow Cooked BBQ Pork Ribs (from $34) that’s served with a side of fries and slaw; or the Pumpkin Sage Linguine ($20) which sees a blissful combination of semidried tomatoes and pinenuts unite.
The Surveyor General Inn
Meet the Surveyor General Inn – Australia’s oldest continuously licensed inn!
This quirky charmer is filled to the brim with history, sandstone, wood and the smell of a crackling fire. The original taproom is still the main bar, with its stone walls, pressed timber and metal ceilings. Featuring an 80-year-old carved cedar bar; if you’re looking for a pub feed you can’t go past the Bush Ranger’s Bistro, with a traditional barbecue area and an extensive a la carte menu. The beer garden is another highlight spotted with long benches, umbrellas and oak barrels. This is the perfect spot to pop into after a day full of exploring. Head down for a drink, some live music and be challenged to a game of darts with one of the locals.
The Best Wineries in Bowral, New South Wales
Centennial Vineyards is located just a few minutes from Bowral. The vineyard is over 760-metres in altitude which means that grapes ripen slowly and have an enhanced flavour and intensity. It’s so high up, in winter it can snow here! Centennial Vineyards grow numerous types of grapes across their 80 acres of vines, including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris, albarino, pinot meunier, pinot noir and tempranillo. The chardonnays are some of our favourites – light yet buttery. Pop by for a tasting at the cellar door.
Artemis Wines is a stunning family-run winery who were the first to plant pinot noir in the region. The vineyard reaches altitudes between 600 – 700-metres which assists in growing beautiful grapes in the sub-temperate climate. The winemakers here focus on using a blend of the old world and new world winemaking techniques making each bottle unique and of complex flavour. Not only can you enjoy their delicious wines, you can gorge on local produce (cheese and charcuterie boards) and on Sundays, wood fired pizzas. Do we need to say more?
Tertini Wines is one of the most renowned wineries found in the Southern Highlands. Known for their exceptional pinot noir, riesling and chardonnay, this is a spot wine lovers cannot miss. The family run winery has a simple philosophy: to create the finest, small batch wines in an unique and sustainable way. For one of the friendliest cellar door experiences, you’ll need to pop by and meet Nicole and Sandy who pride themselves on showcasing the beautiful drops on offer. There can never be too much wine, so do yourself a favour and visit Tertini.
Things to Do in Bowral, New South Wales
If you like antiques, artworks or just anything quirky, Dirty Janes is an absolute must. Run by the dynamic father daughter duo, Athol Salter and Jane Crowley, Dirty Janes offers you a museum-like shopping experience, except you can touch absolutely everything! From collectables, furs, clothes and books, to sculptures, furniture and jewellery, there is nothing you cannot find. And if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s still an entertaining experience as your senses are overloaded with colour, history and stories. Once you get a little tired from all your exploring, you can pop by the tea salon, Your Vintage Occasion, for a little break. Sip your favourite tea blend from fine bone china cups and saucers whilst enjoying delicious scones, jam and cream. Shopping, tea and scones all in one go, how could you not love it?
After a weekend of pies, wine and fine dining, why not shake it up with a little outdoor fun which only costs a friendly $4. The beautiful Fitzroy Falls is found in Morton National Park. Walk through the visitors centre, along the bush track, and you’ll find yourself at the breathtaking lookout where you will witness the beautiful waterfall plunging over 80-metres to the valley below. It’s an ideal base to explore the lush escarpment country of the Southern Highlands between Robertson and Nowra. Continue a little further along the track (approximately 500-metres) and you’ll discover the Twin Waterfall lookouts- two smaller, yet beautiful lookouts across the valley.
Southern Highlands Markets
The Southern Highlands know how to do markets. They run them so well it’s likely there’ll be one on every weekend. With a mix of markets including public school, village and evening/night markets on alternate Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll have a number of opportunities to source delicious produce, wine, arts and crafts, baked goods and locally made furniture from Bowral, Bundanoon, Berrima, Moss Vale and more!