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Things to do in Bowral: Where to Eat, Drink, Play and Stay

Make the most of your Southern Highland getaway with our edit of things to do in Bowral.


Sometimes a weekend away is all you need to recharge your battery and there is no better place than Bowral to do it. This country town is all about the finer things in life: sipping wine by a crackling fire, waking up to misty mountains, strolling through gorgeous gardens, and feasting at chef-hatted restaurants. There's an abundance of things to do in Bowral, but most of all, it’s a foodie and shopping destination, making it the perfect base for a weekend getaway. And, like the other Southern Highlands’ villages, it’s bursting with country charm.

Here’s how to make the most of your weekend trip with our list of the best things to do in Bowral. 

Things to do in Bowral: Eat

Franquette Creperie

Franquette Creperie

If you can only stop for one meal in Bowral, head straight to Franquette. This charming slice of Brittany offers an indulgent dish for every meal of the day. Swing by mid-shop for a coffee and crepe or revel in a long lunch of shared galettes, cocktails and authentic French cider paddles. Every single item on the menu has been thoughtfully considered from the largely gluten-free offering to the dedicated vegan menu. The drinks list is impeccable so you might need to plan a second visit to sample the best that France has to offer. 

329 Bong Bong Street, Bowral 

The Press Shop

The Press Shop

The Press Shop is everything you want from a weekend brunch spot and more. Fashionably decorated in shades of pale blue, white and marble, and with elegant timber and brass embellishments, it has the ambience of a chic French patisserie. While the menu changes regularly (sometimes on a daily basis) to reflect the best of Bowral’s produce, you can expect a mix of sweet and savoury treats such as couverture chocolate doughnuts, fluffy scones with jam and cream, toasted sandwiches, gluten-free cakes, vegetarian tarts, and moreish breakfast bowls. 

391-397 Bong Bong Street, Bowral

Gumnut Patisserie

Gumnut Patisserie 

Your visit to Bowral is not complete without a stop at Gumnut Patisserie. Peruse shelves stacked with exquisite pastries, pies and breads that look almost too good to eat. These guys win awards year on year for their exceptional delicacies so anything you choose is guaranteed to be delicious. We recommend swinging by as early as you can because these goodies don't last long! 

Sitchu Tip: The Lemon Tartlet is sublime. 

Shop 7, Grand Arcade, Bong Bong Street, Bowral 

Leila's at The Grand

Leila's at The Grand

Craving a Middle Eastern Feast? Head to Leila's where the share plates are in abundance and the recipes have been passed down through generations. Not sure what to order? The banquet menu is great value and covers off plenty of Leila's signature dishes. 

295 - 299 Bong Bong Street, Bowral 

Onesta Cucina

Onesta Cucina 

At this lively, family-run restaurant, every plate stars fresh, regional produce. It’s a must-visit at least once when you're working your way through your list of things to do in Bowral. Seeking to deliver the freshest food imaginable, Onesta Cucina craft a new menu every day with dishes like Parmigiano Reggiano Pannacotta with Blue Swimmer Crab Insalata, Trout Roe & Parma Ham and Housemade Potato Gnocchi with Braised Lamb, Red Wine & Rosemary Ragu. Salivating? Us too. 

5 Boolwey Street, Bowral 

Rush Roasting Co

Rush Roasting Co 

Coffee on your mind? Head directly to Rush Roasting Co. These guys roast their own ethical beans so you can trust your brew will be incredible. They also cater to all tastes with single espresso, filter and cold brew available. Pair with Rush's breaky or lunch menu which covers eggs, salad, burgers, toasties and baked goods. You'll leave fuelled up and ready to go. 

64 Bowral Street, Bowral 

The Hungry Monkey

The Hungry Monkey 

Originating in Kiama, The Hungry Monkey has made its way to Bowral and we couldn't be more pleased about it. Delicious and simple staples are the name of the game with incredible burgers and brunch favourites making up the bulk of their menu. If you're keen for a top-notch brew with your breaky or lunch, this is where you'll get it. 

Shop 17, 310-312 Bong Bong Street, Bowral

Bistro Sociale

Bistro Sociale 

A cosy weekend in the Southern Highlands pairs perfectly with a decadent French meal. Bistro Sociale, tucked into Berida Hotel, is the perfect spot to settle in for a while with an open fireplace in the colder months and a sunny terrace perfect for an apertif in the summer. For eats, you can expect Euro vibes aplenty with the likes of soupe du jour, confit duck leg and French steakhouse selects. 

6 David Street, Bowral 

Harry's on Green Lane

Harry’s on Green Lane

Harry’s on Green Lane is a cafe/bar that screams French country chic. Delight at the picturesque courtyard dining complete with wrought-iron bistro tables and chairs, or venture indoors and be transported back a few centuries by classic decor, bookcases groaning with vintage hardbacks, and walls covered in faded French prints. 

21 Banyette Street, Bowral

Things to do in Bowral: Drink

Harvey's Bar

Harvey’s Bar

Tucked inside the Park Proxi Hotel, this sleek cocktail bar embraces the hotel bar aesthetic to the full. Sip on a dry martini in a leather armchair or wander out to the terrace to enjoy a cocktail whilst the sun sets. Harvey's Bar also hosts live jazz so be sure to swing by if you're feeling groovy. 

7 Boronia Street, Bowral 

Royal Hotel Bowral

Royal Hotel Bowral 

This relaxed pub is the perfect place to soak up the last hours of a day spent exploring. Sit by the fire with a drink or in the sundrenched courtyard. If you fancy a bite to eat, the elevated pub classics menu is a treat. Fancy a spot of live music? Swing by on a Saturday for some tunes. 

255 Bong Bong Street, Bowral 

Things to do in Bowral: Play

Milk Factory Gallery

Milk Factory Gallery

The exhibitions at this contemporary art gallery are beautiful and change all the time. You'll find everything from photography exhibits to ceramics, printmaking, painting and sculpture. There are also plenty of lovely local made goodies for you to purchase as a memento of your trip. Hungry? Your Vintage Occasion is located within the Milk Factory and offers high tea, fresh scones, breakfast and light lunches. 

33 Station Street. Bowral 

Shop up a storm at Bowral’s best boutiques.

Be sure to hit Highland favourites like Suzie Anderson Home and Few & Far for covetable homewares, along with The Potting Shed for all things gardening, The Bookshop Bowral for fantastic reads whilst Bespoke Press is one of our absolute favourites for their handcrafted stationery and cards. Head to Coach House Collective for exceptionally elevated large furniture pieces and antiques from Table & Sill, alongside a selection of other creatives selling homewares, flowers and more.  Wander up and down Bong Bong Street to discover all the different shopfronts.

Corbett Gardens

Corbett Gardens

These gorgeous gardens are best known for their tulips, which are in full bloom during the Tulip Time Festival in September. By far one of our favourite things to do in Bowral, the festival also features live music and market stalls.

21 Merrigang Street, Bowral 

Bendooley Estate

Bendooley Estate

A must on every list of things to do in Bowral is Bendooley Estate. A short drive away in Berrima, Bendooley is a wine and book lover’s idea of heaven. At the Book Barn, cosy up in front of the fire and feast on wood-fired pizzas and charcuterie boards paired with Bendooley wines or head next door for a wine tasting. 

3030 Old Hume Highway, Berrima 

Fitzroy Falls (Image Credit: NSW National Park)

Morton National Park

If you fancy a bushwalk, hike through the national park until you reach the cascading Fitzroy Falls, or do the Fairy Bower Falls loop. Morton National Park is packed with things to do - you could spend an entire week exploring and still find more. Don't forget your cossies!

Milton Park Country House & Spa

The Wellness Spa  at Milton Park Country House & Spa

After all that eating/exploring, you deserve a pamper session. This luxe day spa delivers – you’ll be floating on a cloud after its signature massages. Set amongst lush gardens, The Wellness Spa boasts a vichy shower, garden pavilion, six private treatment suites and a couples suite. 

200 Horderns Road, Bowral 

Things to do in Bowral: Stays

Park Proxi 

This modern hotel is the perfect spot to base yourself for a weekend of exploring the best of Bowral. With an indoor pool, 18-hole golf course, restaurant and bar, all the comforts are accounted for. When it comes time to venture out, you're just a two-minute drive from Centennial Vineyards, a three-minute drive from the shops and a 12-minute walk from a scenic stroll through Gibbergunyah Reserve. 

Corner Boronia Street and Centennial Road, Bowral

The Rift Estate

The Rift Estate

Dotted with manors and English country gardens, Bowral is as picturesque as it gets, and The Rift Estate is one of its shining stars. Built in 1890, the mansion sits on 2.7 hectares of gardens, and its stables have been converted into a six-bedroom home, The Coach House. The property features claw foot baths, fireplaces and underfloor heating, and can accommodate up to 13 people. 

8 Carlisle Street, Bowral

Milton Park Country House & Spa

Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa

The Southern Highlands has long been a retreat for Sydney’s elite. To join them, book a room at the five-star Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa. If we had to use one word to describe it, it’d be ‘grand.’ Set on 120 hectares of hilltop woodlands, it has tree-lined walkways, four-poster beds, marble bathrooms, a Wellness Spa, and more antiques than you can count. For a luxe Southern Highlands accommodation, this is it.

200 Horderns Road, Bowral

Peppers Craigeburn Bowral

Peppers Craigieburn Bowral

This heritage resort is set on 36 hectares of beautifully manicured estate gardens that comes complete with a 9-hole golf course. Exuding the allure of times passed, Craigieburn retains the elegance of the original building but with modern décor. Guestrooms lookout over the garden and you can mingle in the guest lounges in front of open fires. #bliss

Centennial Road, Bowral

As you can see, when it comes to things to do in Bowral, there is so much on offer. From foodie destinations to bookish delights and must-visit wineries. If you're after more ideas for when you're in the Southern Highlands, be sure to check out our favourite walks on the South Coast and our edit of the best luxury accommodation options in the Southern Highlands

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