Bowral is an adorable country town 1.5hr drive or train ride south of Sydney. It is perhaps the most popular town in the Southern Highlands and an easy day trip from the big smoke. While known mostly for its annual Tulip Festival and Brahman cricket museum, Bowral is a delightful town to visit even if you are not a devout cricketer or gardener.
Bowral is the kind of town you visit to relax and enjoy the good life. And what can be more carefree than meandering along Bong Bong street, perusing the charming boutique shops and adorable cafes? For a small town, Bowral is brimming with quaint establishments. This is why this guide concentrates on Bowral shops and the cutest cafes in Bowral.
The thing to keep in mind when planning your visit to Bowral is that many shops close at 4 pm on Saturdays (and earlier on Sundays) and that it gets quite chilly once the sun sets. Bowral is generally about 8-10 degrees cooler than Sydney.
Cafes in Bowral
Bowral has some of the most adorable eateries in the Southern Highlands. You can find all kinds of cafes in Bowral, from iconic patisseries to Victorian salons to hip organic cafes and an authentic French bistro. It took us a few trips to Bowral just to sample them all, and here are the unmissable gems.
Harry’s on Green Lane
15-17 Banyette St, Bowral
Of all the quaint and quirky cafes in Bowral, Harry’s on Green Late is the most atmospheric one. Named after the English horticulturist Sir Harry Veitch who dispatched daring expeditions to collect exotic plants for his wealthy London clients, the space is filled with plants, framed vintage art, antique books and travel memorabilia.
The Victorian-style decor of Harry’s has been described as “a slightly jungle atmosphere meets an elegant Raffles-style bar”.
The menu is filled with country-styled stapes like linguine, risotto, salmon, lamb, and beef. Deserts are mouthwatering and French reds are to die for.
Harry’s gets lively and buzzing at lunch and dinner, so make sure to reserve a table beforehand.
Elephant Boy Cafe
329 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Elephant Boy is a nod to the colonial safari lifestyle. With the walls lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, filled to the brim with vintage books and safari-themed decor, and a lounge ‘corner’ at the back of the room, decked out with comfy leather armchairs Elephant Boy is one of the coziest cafes in Bowral.
The menu is what you would expect in a cafe – wraps, sandwiches, salads, and their French toast is to die for. And if you drop in just for a coffee and a treat, curl up in the armchairs with a friend or a book and let the decor whisk you away to a bygone era.
Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon
Inside Dirty Janes Emporium, 15 Banyette St, Bowral
Step into Your Vintage Occasion, and you will find yourself in Britain about a century ago. The vintage silver teapots, sugar bowls, and milk jugs would be just at home on the Orient Express.
Depending on how hungry you are, settle in for the decadent High Tea, or opt for classic freshly-baked scones and jam that range from lavender, date, and rose scones to dark chocolate & cherry and 3 cheeses. The selection of tea is equally impressive, my all-time favourite being French Earl Grey with hibiscus flowers.
And if the delicious menu is not enough, the space, made up of two separate rooms, is adorably quaint and instantly inviting.
The Press Shop Cafe
5/391-397 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Around the corner from Dirty Jane, The Press Shop is another local favourite. Situated in a stately white building that wraps around a street corner, The Press Shop is elegant and quirky at the same time, decked out in Scandinavian-inspired decor of white-timbered minimalism.
The menu changes with the seasons, but among the staples, Eggs Benedict and pancakes are divine. And don’t be put off by the line at the door – it moves very fast.
Le Bistro Gourmand
52 Station St, Bowral
Bowral has quite a French theme going. There is a French brasserie, a bistro, a patisserie, a cafe, a boutique, and an upmarket antique shop. Le Bistro Gourmand serves authentic French cuisine for breakfast and lunch.
The menu features all the classics, from croissants and coffee to hearty egg cassolette to Moules Marinieres and Cordon Bleu.
There are indoor and outdoor dining areas, and the place has the lovely vibe of a European cafe.
Bare Bites Bowls & Brew
High Street Bowral, Shop 1/310/312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Located on the corner of High Street Arcade, Bare Bites Bowls & Brew is a hipster plant-based health and wellness cafe. It’s all about whole-food ingredients, organics and natural flavours. Think medicinal lattes, organic herbal teas and raw, gluten-free vegan treats and smash avo toasts.
For those looking for guilty pleasure options there are Fries and Nachos on the menu.
The coffee is one of the best in Bowral, so don’t be surprised to find yourself going back for another shot.
Shop 7, Grand Arcade, Bong Bong St, Bowral
One of the most popular cafes in Bowral, Gumnut patisserie, turns sweets making into an art form. Cakes, flans, tartlets, cupcakes, pastries, quiches and pies, whatever rocks your boat – they’ve got it, and they all look good enough to be displayed in fine arts museum.
Not surprisingly, the patisserie is super popular, so be prepared to queue up for your chance to snap up some of its masterpieces. If you have a hard time choosing, try Peaks of Passion, made of soft passionfruit mousse, tangy passionfruit curd, soft coconut cream, and crunchy peanut brittle.
275 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Les Gourmanies is an authentic French patisserie by Le Bistro Gourmand. There is tea and coffee on offer, a range of French condiments for sale and a mouthwatering selection of French pastries and tarts.
If you wondered where to find real eclairs in Australia, head to Les Gourmanies. As a side bonus, the patisserie stays open later than most cafes in Bowral, so if you need a late afternoon pick-me-up, you know the spot.
Little Paris Cafe
372 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Continuing on the theme of French cafes in Bowral, the Little Paris Cafe is a delightful cafe and boutique in one. The front room is all about bright and trendy Parisian cafe decor, and the back room houses Be_Trendy Boutique, which carries Italian and French brands that would appeal to contemporary women.
In the cafe, there are various pastries and cakes on offer, and beautiful French music makes you want to linger inside just a little bit longer.
If you are looking to explore Bowral’s shops and boutiques, here are some classic establishments and hipster newcomers not to miss.
13 Banyette St, Bowral
You can’t come to Bowral and not visit Dirty Janes. Don’t let the hippy name fool you – the emporium is well-presented, if not polished. Sprawling over 3 warehouses, Dirty Janes is a collection of stalls carrying everything from French antique furniture to curiosity cabinet fillers.
Even if you are not looking to re-decorate your house, Dirty Janes is a feast for the eyes. And at very affordable prices, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave empty-handed.
Orangerie sits right next to Dirty Janes. In fact, you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. If you are into anything to do with gardening and outdoor dining, this shop is for you. It’s actually a chain of shops organized around a lovely courtyard.
Even if you are not into gardening, you’ll love walking through The Orangery. It’s like taking a stroll through an enchanted garden. There are beautiful displays of lush outdoor plants and furniture, unusual tableware, candles, and all things you didn’t know you wanted if you have your own patch of sunshine.
Amongst all the greenery, you’ll also find stunning Portuguese porcelain by Bordello Pinheiro and Italian clothing and jewellery.
284 Bong Bong Street 31 Old Hume Highway Mittagong, Bowral
This is an adorable country home decor shop famous for its affordable prices. They have everything from large wall art and wooden tables to cushions, baskets, and bedside lamps. The shop is filled to the brim with all sorts of bits and pieces for the house.
Their white rattan chairs are particularly popular, which are, you guessed it right, inexpensive.
Bare Body Beauty
Shop 21/310-312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Follow your nose in Bowral, and it will take you to the Bare Body Beauty shop. Not unique to Bowral, this wonderful shop is all about natural products made with organic ingredients. Their range of body scrubs is divine, my absolute favourite being a luscious mix of elderberry, juniper, lemon, and lavender.
Their entire range is delicious: soaps, face masks, body wash, shampoo, body oil, candles, bath bombs and soaks, each in a variety of fragrances. Even just spending a few minutes in this shop feels reinvigorating.
Blooms of Bowral
Shop 6 High Street, 310/312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
You may not be shopping for flowers, but if you stroll through the High Street arcade, you will walk past the Blooms of Bowral florist.
It’s a gorgeous shop filled with fresh flowers and flower arrangements created by florists who clearly love their craft. And if you are in town for a celebration, this is your go-to spot.
A Touch of Tea
3/10 Boolwey St, Bowral
If you are into your teas, you can’t miss A Touch of Tea. It’s a typical Australian country tea shop that looks like it sprang up from the pages of Alice in Wonderland.
Filled from floor to ceiling with teapots and cups, boutique tea blends and various tea paraphernalia, this quaint little shop needs to be seen to be believed.
Mrs Pete’s Shed
364 Bong Bong St, Bowral
There is no shortage of clothing boutiques in Bowral, but as far as quaint shops go, you can’t go past Mrs Pete’s.
Decked out in shabby chic decor, this small shop is an eclectic mix of clothes racks, jewellery displays, and stands brimming with hats, bags, and belts.
Few and Far
351 Bong Bong St, Bowral
This shop would appeal to anyone who likes travel and beautiful interiors. The company was started by two designers who travel the world to discover and bring back pieces created by artists and craftsmen.
Few and Far has this homely feeling that makes you want to curl up on a plush couch, wrap yourself in a comfy throw from a faraway land, light up an artisan candle, and get lost in your favourite book.
Shop 2b, 310-312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
I absolutely adore stationery shops, and I always buy more notebooks than I remember to use. Bespoke Letterpress is an elegant shop with an actual antique 1890s printing press displayed in the shop’s window.
340 Bong Bong St, Bowral
An entire shop dedicated to all things ‘kitchen’ from cutlery, crockery, and glassware, to bakeware, small appliances, and chef knives.
They also sell the same selection of teas that are served at Your Vintage Occasion, including my new favourite – French Earl Grey with hibiscus flowers.
274 Bong Bong St, Bowral
Country Accent is another gorgeous home decor shop, but it has a more naturalistic feeling to it. I love their range of decorative botanicals like cinnamon sticks and massive seed pods of Australian trees.
They’ve been in business for over 20 years, selling all sorts of adorable bits and pieces for the home with French and Scandinavian influences.
1 Wingecarribee St, Bowral
Keeping with Bowral’s French theme, French antiques is exactly what it says it is – a collection of gorgeous French antiques.
It is perched on the corner next to the French fine food restaurant Bowral Brasserie. The shop is small, but it carries high-quality pieces.
If you decide to stay overnight in Bowral, and you should really consider doing that, here is country comfort at its best, within a short stroll from town.
6 David St, Bowral
Berida Hotel is the old-world charm at its best. Located within a 10-minute walk from the centre of town, it is an ivory-clad 1920s mansion with a marble fountain at the entrance and lush green grounds decorated with stylish outdoor furniture.
Inside, the interiors are filled with period furniture and a labyrinth of nooks and crannies and guest spaces, including a whiskey bar, gin bar, a library, an indoor heated pool, a sauna, a day spa, and a gift shop. Berida is one of the most popular boutique hotels in the southern highlands, so book early!
17 Links Rd, Bowral
Slightly further out of town, Links House is another historic hotel. Built in 1928 as a country guesthouse, it combines the charm of the bygone era with modern-day luxury.
Smaller than Berida, it has a more relaxed atmosphere. Links’ famously elegant sitting room is the perfect sanctuary of comfort and calm.
Ethos restaurant serves à la carte dinner and breakfast is included in your room rate. And you can bring your pooch along for a relaxing weekend, Links House is a pet-friendly hotel. Like Berida, Links House gets booked out quickly, so book as far in advance as possible.
Bowral Boutique Motel
18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral
Surrounded by tranquil gardens and courtyards, Bowral Boutique Motel is located within an easy stroll from the centre of town and all the shops and cafes. It offers contemporary and stylish rooms.
The Bowral Hotel
412 Bong Bong St, Bowral
If you prefer to stay in the midst of it all, The Bowral Hotel offers comfortable, light-filled rooms right in the heart of town, across the road from The Press Shop Cafe. The hotel’s bistro also offers a pub-style menu.
More Ideas for Road Trips from Sydney
- Most Adorable Shops, Cafes and Hotels in Bowral
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- 40 Fun Things to do in Kangaroo Valley
- Tomaree Head Summit walk – How to see the best views in NSW
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- Sydney to Narooma Road Trip: What to see and Where to stop
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