At times it s lovely to just take off from the city routine to get to know oneself better. Drive down to Bowral, just 90 minutes from Sydney to transport yourself into a weekend of relaxation with quaint stores to browse, museums to enrich and gorgeous highland landscapes to take the pressure out. This is what Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW offered us this weekend.
From the time we landed in Sydney, my husband wanted to go to the Bradman Museum like any other cricket fan. This did not materialise as he often got voted down as we had no other cricket fans in the house. When his uncle and aunt arrived, the voting got a better majority and we took off for the weekend drive. So here we are exploring Bowral.
Bowral is a sweet town that makes up for everything quaint that you don’t get in the city’s mad rush. Being the largest town in the southern highlands, Bowral is the best spot to explore the national parks, waterfalls and trails of the southern highlands. The town was made famous by Sir. Donald Bradman, the legendary cricketer, attracts a lot of sporting enthusiasts. Then, there are highlands specials, honey, wine and cheese that will keep you coming back to this idyllic town.
Set in the 19th-century looks, Mount Gibraltar overlooking the town of Bowral is an all-season destination. 132 km south West of Sydney or 169 northeast of Canberra, nestled among the rolling hills of the Southern highlands this bustling town opens the gateway to explore the instaworthy land. At an elevation of 690 meters, the land was home to the Gundugurra people.
How to get to Bowral?
By road: the drive from Sydney to Bowral takes about 90 minutes by the Humes highway. From Canberra, it is less than 2 hours via the Humes highway en route to Wollongong.
Railways: just a 20-minute walk from the Bowral train station take one to the village. alight the trains coming from Sydney to Canberra or the one from Campbelltown to reach here. Check the NSW transport link to see timings, fares and any recent updates
What to see in Bowral ?
Bradman Museum: Once you are in Bowral, all toads lead to the Bradman Cricket Museum. This interactive and informative museum surrounding the life and achievements of Sir Don Bradman is a dedication to cricket itself. This state-of-the-art museum is one of its kind that walks you through the origins of cricket to the modern ages celebrating the game and the people who create history.
Bradman walk: the scenic self-guided tour of about 1.7 km taking you through the life of Sir Don Bradman is an important one if you are a cricket lover. Plus on such s beautiful autumn day, it is lovely to be able to enjoy the purity of air and the love for the outdoors.
Corbett Gardens: famous for the Tulip Festival, raising town draws crowds of hundreds to celebrate the colours in the centre of town at the beautiful Corbet Gardens. The park is open to the public all year long except for the tulip festival season.
Ngununggula art gallery: paying respects to the traditional language, this regional art gallery is a tranquil getaway to connect with your creative inner space. This artistic learning and exploration space hosts artists and events throughout the year.
Antique shopping: if curios, unique funds and antiques are your things you will find this town extremely satisfying. With the iconic Dirty Jane’s to start within and around the town is studded with vintage eclectic collectibles.
Milk factory gallery: an exhibition space frequented by art enthusiasts. Featuring artists and having a collection of handmade art in various mediums, the space is a point of interest to satisfy your soul.
Honey Tours: being one of the largest teaching apiaries in NSW, Bowral conducts the best of honey tours. Learning about the bees, their feeding habits, the flowers that create the flavours and more is an exciting part of exploring Bowral.
Winterfest: having winter when the majority of the world has summer gives Australia the chance to celebrate the Winterfests to its best. With a range of workshops and children-friendly activities, this is a time to be in the Southern highlands.
In addition to these the Borealis in the vines, cycling fest etc are also great times to be in this town.
Staying the weekend
Bowral is used to having people over and knows how to look after them well. During the Tulip season, the town fills up with crowds. Though you could just stay in the town, beautiful places like Pepper Craigburn estate, Milton Park, Arcadia or Berida, provide that country charm that helps you truly get away from the city.
Italian, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese or Cafes, you name it and Bowral will satisfy that in style. Though a small town the food scene here is strong. Walk around the Corbett gardens are be ready to get your tummy rumbling with the aromas. With the quality of wine and cheese to match, cafe breakfasts and sandwiches to sink your teeth are spectacular. Don’t forget to book ahead and take yourself ( or a friend) to high tea at Dirty Jane’s while you are here as that is pure luxury.
What to see around Bowral?
Bowral being the hub for the southern highlands, it is so easy to access the beautiful natural surroundings of Moss Vale, Mittagong, Robertson or Jamberoo from here.
Waterfalls: there at about 12 well-known waterfalls at driving distance from Bowral. Nellies Glen and the two-tiered Belmore Falls captured my attention. The famed Fitzroy Fall is en route to Robertson from Bowral.
Lookouts: the spectacular views of the entire southern highlands can be experienced from the lookout points near Bowral. The Mittagong Lookout and Bowral Lookout are the nearest. The Hammock Hill lookout is another one to check out.
Trails: there are plenty of trails right next to Bowral in the Redford national park and Bangadillly national park. The Cherry tree walks and the wombat trail are the well-known ones around this area.
Countryside: those rolling greens studded with cattle and horses is a characteristic feature of southern highlands. The houses looking like they are from Brigerton with vast lands surrounding them certainly are about premium real estate. You could look to have a homestay in some of these who are open to the idea to have a feel of that countryside living.
Climate and costume
The slight elevation in altitude keeps Bowral cooler than Sydney. Bowral does follow the southern hemisphere seasons and showcases the four seasons. Depending on the season, keep the jacket handy and dress in layers. Make sure you have good hiking boots for the national parks. Check the fire range before you head into national parks and keep your trail trackers alive.
Travelling with children and elderly.
Bowral is a comfortable town with children and the elderly. Parks, cafes and stay places are children friendly and the community is lovely with the younger generation. Be careful with children if you are going on Walking trails or National parks. Wheelchair access is possible in most places other than the nature walk and national parks.
Other day trip ideas from Sydney
If wine, cheese, cricket and town vibes are in your plan, Bowral is the spot. Enjoy this tranquil slower-paced break over the weekend. Even if you do just a day trip, Bowral is soul-satisfyingly good without tiring you out.
If you have any beautiful locations in Bowral that we should check out next time, Let us know in the comments below. If our post has been helpful to you in any way, share that thought with us here or through our Instagram or Facebook accounts.
So rest, relax and rejuvenate with a quick drive to Bowral.