Whether it’s world-class food, vintage shopping or spectacular hiking you’re after, Bowral has it all.
Beloved as a getaway for Sydneysiders, the Southern Highlands is also buzzing with creative local communities who have developed it to become one of the loveliest areas in the country, that doesn’t lack in fine coffee and food, either. Here is our perfect 24 hours in the area’s adopted capital, the quaint town of Bowral.
8.30am: Breakfast at Flour Water Salt
Set yourself up for the day with a cup of the best coffee in town at Flour Water Salt, a delightful café on Bowral’s main street. Try their house-made sourdough and pastries while you’re there – you won’t be sorry.
10am: Explore the local stores
Bowral has a reputation for antiques, and it’s well-founded. Walk along Bong Bong Street and you’ll find numerous stores, but the biggest hitter has got to be Dirty Janes, a sprawling, kaleidoscopic emporium with over 75 stalls offering everything from vintage jewellery to clothing, furnishings and aged miscellany. You could spend hours in here exploring every nook and cranny: it’s a bargain hunter’s paradise.
12pm: Have a long, lazy lunch
With its focus on organic produce and an always interesting menu, Raw and Wild Market and Cafe is a great spot for lunch. It’s also a bonus option for vegetarians and vegans - you'll be well-taken care of here, trust us, they offer tonnes of options. For something altogether more fancy, check out Ludo, a beautifully decorated café-cum-restaurant situated in a charming pale blue, wooden house a short walk from the station.
2.30pm: Take a hike
Also known as ‘The Gib’, a hike up majestic Mount Gibraltar will be much needed after all that delicious food. At 863m, it’s the highest point between Sydney and Canberra and is popular with both locals and visitors. Pop your shopping items in the car and get to hiking – the walk takes less than an hour, so won’t take up too much of your day, but the views from the top, taking in all that countryside, are breathtakingly beautiful.
4.30pm: Get pampered at Endota Spa
Check into your hotel (more on that below), grab a shower, then get yourself down to Endota Spa for the ultimate in relaxation. We love the soothing ‘Organic Relax’ massage, but if you’ve got the time, it’s well worth it to go for a package and get every inch of your body looked after.
7pm: Dine at one of Australia’s best restaurants
It has become the town’s most famous offering, but Biota Dining and Rooms isn’t just a name; it’s a must. The food here from patron-chef James Viles is some of Australia’s best, with much of it sourced from his stunning onsite kitchen garden. Go for the five or seven-course tasting menu; neither will disappoint. And drinks in the bar by the fireside are a must afterwards – their cocktails are next level.
10.30pm: And then rest-up in their gorgeous rooms
If you’re eating here, you may as well go the whole hog and stay over too. Biota’s rooms are understated and elegant, with branches decorating the walls and comfy beds to rest your body after a big, bountiful feast. Plus you only need to stumble a few steps to get into your bed after that feed, so you can take full advantage of those thoughtfully curated matching wines with dinner.