Bowral

The hub of The Highlands and home to one of Australia’s most famous (and picturesque!) cricket fields, Bowral is well known for its busy shopping vibe and an exciting art scene. The bakeries are next level, the cafes plentiful and bars and pubs can be pumping, particularly on weekends! There’s also a super strong foodie scene in Bowral with plenty of well known restaurants playing host to locals and visitors to the Southern Highlands. Here's The Fold's guide to all things Bowral - what to do, see and experience in this gorgeous town! 

 

 

GREAT OUTDOORS

While Bowral is a bustling town, there are plenty of ways you can step away from the busy-ness, grab some quiet time and get back to nature in the parks, tracks and beautiful gardens Bowral has on offer. The Cherry Tree Walk is a picturesque five kilometre pathway that winds around the eastern side of town – you can stroll it, roll it, ride it or run it! Corbett Gardens is tucked away behind Bong Bong Street and awash with tulips from late September. Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens and the grand gardens of Retford Park in East Bowral are also worth a visit. Fancy getting active? Head out for a social ride with The Fixed Wheel or knock out some laps at Bowral Pool.
 

Corbett Gardens

pic from Highlands Photography

Bong Bong Bike track

pic from Highlands Photography

 

RETAIL THERAPY

While Bong Bong Street runs right through the centre of town and historically has been the centrepiece for all things retail and shopping in Bowral, Station Street and the roads that connect Bong Bong to Station Street offer up a variety of shopping options – you could spend all day wandering around town stocking up on anything really! Antiques, homewares and boutique fashion stores sit side by side with fresh food stores, bookshops, newsagents, jewellers and more. Springetts Arcade is a handy one with locals and the Bowral Public School Markets on the second Saturday of every month (with an extra Christmas market in December) is also popular with Highlanders wanting to support and buy local. See? Bowral is a rural shopping mecca! 
 

Main Street

 

WINING + DINING

From the fine dining experiences of hatted restaurants Biota and Horderns at Milton Park Country House through to a fun and raucous night out at a local pub, Bowral has plenty of options for foodies to fill up on all things deliciousness. A strong café scene means you’re covered for brekkie, brunch and goooood coffee. And of course, if wine and long lunches are your thing, Centennial Vineyards is worth a visit, for sure.

 

Ludo

 

MOVERS AND MAKERS

Bowral has long had a fabulous art scene, and with more creatives moving to the area every year, the creative community has become an ecelectic one! There are plenty of fabulous art galleries to get your cultural fix and keep an eye out for exhibitions from the recently formed Artists of the Round Yard. Amazing work! There are also some highly skilled creatives producing some seriously fine work - furniture designers, milliners, dressmakers - you name it.....there is someone in Bowral creating it. Pop into the HODAK+YOUNG studio on Station Street to get a feel for the next level design and creativity that lives in this beautiful town of ours. 

 

Hodak and Young

 

STEP BACK IN TIME

Nationally recognised as one of the country’s premier sporting museums, it’s pretty exciting that we have The Bradman Museum in Bowral. Not just for cricket fans, this museum pays homage to the great man himself of course, but also hosts exhibitions throughout the year celebrating all facets of this super popular international sport. Don’t forget to pop into the cafe for a milkshake!
 

Bradman Museum

pic from Highlands Photography

 

RAINY DAYS

Dirty Jane’s is such a fabulous indoor space filled to the brim with antiques, vintage fashion, art and more…..treasure hunting is the perfect way to spend a rainy morning or afternoon (oh, and pop into The Tea Salon for some scones while you’re there!). Empire Cinema is an obvious choice for wet weather fun for all ages. They often have awesome special screenings and mini film festivals – always worth a look. And of course, Bowral’s art galleries, Bowral Library and the Bradman Museum will keep boredom at bay when it's bucketing down. 
 

Empire Cinemas

pic from Highlands Photography

 

JUST FOR KIDS

Plaster Pitt is a fabulous space for kids who love getting creative. Or if you are raising a mini pinball wizard, head to Play Party Zone on Station Street. Housed within Play Party Zone is a soft play area onsite called Kid's Oasis - perfect for littler ones! Kids under the age of 12 can join the Empire Kids Club to earn rewards each time they visit. Bowral Pool is always a popular option in the warmer months and Glebe Park, which is the park behind the Bradman Museum, is a popular playground with local littlies. Most of it is fenced and there is a tractor they can climb on (such fun!). The Mary Poppins statue there is also a favourite with the kidlets. 

plaster pit

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

Bowral is home to plenty of awesome special events throughout the year. Tulip Time kicks off in late September and draws garden fans and green thumbs from near and far. In June, the Southern Highlands turns into the Southern Pielands as we celebrate all things pie – yum! – with Bowral hosting PieFEST on the last weekend of June bringing this hugely popular event to a close. The race that stops the Highlands, Bong Bong Picnic races, happens in November. We were super excited to see the introduction of the Highlands Craft Beer Cider Festival to the Bowral event calendar for the first time in 2019 (it’s back in 2020, peeps!) and if you are looking for one of the biggest and family-friendly events in Bowral, you can’t go past Bowral Family Carols. Fireworks, fab entertainment and the most picturesque of settings on Bradman Oval creates a beautiful and festive vibe – it’s one of of our faves for sure! And the October long weekend means it's time for the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival, also at Bradman Oval. One for the foodies and lovers of all things wine - ummm, that would be us!!! 

Tulip Time

pic from Highlands Photography

 

WHEN FRIENDS COME TO STAY

Retford Park is a truly unique experience for visitors to the Southern Highlands. Gifted to the National Trust by James Fairfax on the proviso the property and its surrounding gardens and stunning buildings are shared with the community, there is always something interesting and fabulous going on here! The Open Garden weekend is on the first weekend of every month in the warmer months. There are also House Tours available but they are popular so you have to book, and fast. As we said, there is always something new and different happening over there, from Dog’s Day Out’s, wellness weekends to the Artists of the Round Yard’s latest exhibition, Retford Park truly is a special place.
 

SUPPORTING LOCAL BIZ

We are incredibly lucky to have so many amazing local businesses in Bowral, and our Business Directory is the place to find them! From mechanics to medical centres, landscapers to legal services, beauty salons to builders…..The Fold’s Business Directory has got you covered.   

 

OTHER TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

Check out our guide to the other towns and villages in the Southern Highlands.

LOVE THE HIGHLANDS? US TOO!

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