Sydney doesn't do winter very well. Sure, the temperature drops below 20 degrees for a while and puts the beach off-limits, but on the whole, winter in Sydney is a confusing couple of months of "should I bring my coat or not? What happens when the sun comes out and I get heatstroke?" The pretty town of Bowral, an easy drive south of Sydney, does winter properly. Oh, and definitely bring your coat. Bowral in winter is bracing, but the town is geared up for it and you are never far away from a fireplace or heater.
Nestled in the shadow of Mt Gibraltar, Bowral has been luring Sydneysiders ever since it was settled in the 1860s. The town boasts beautiful parks and gardens, impressive heritage residences and idyllic tree-lined avenues. Bowral also has an array of fashion boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Bong Bong Street is the town's main drag and is a good starting point for visitors. Fashionistas will want to head straight to the town's many boutiques. A number of art galleries, antique dealers and homewares stores can also be found and are great for those seeking that one-of-a-kind piece. The Southern Highlands is also well-known for its many bookstores, and readers can spend hours happily browsing the shelves for their favourite authors.
Bowral is also home to a very happening cafe and restaurant scene. Local produce is highly regarded and can be sampled in the area's restaurants, cafes, bistros and pubs. Casual cafes abound and offer cheerful fare and plenty of hot coffee to warm you on a cold day. Fine diners are also plentiful and specialise in hearty country fare.
Another Bowral highlight is the Bradman Museum of Cricket. The Don lived and played in Bowral during the 1920s and the museum holds the definitive collection of memorabilia associated with the life and career of the world's greatest cricketer. The adjoining Bradman Oval looks like something straight out of country England and is a good spot for a stroll.
Bowral is surrounded by a number of pretty towns and villages. Mittagong, Moss Vale, Berrima and Bundanoon all sit within easy reach and boast their own suite of interesting shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. A drive through the countryside is also well-worth the effort and will reveal spectacular estates, rolling green farmland and plenty of top spots for a picnic.
For those wishing to make a weekend of it, Bowral has a range of accommodation options including guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels. The area is a particularly popular destination for romantic weekends away – so grab your nearest and dearest and head to the Southern Highlands.
Bowral is a 90 minute drive south of Sydney via the M5 and Hume Highway. CityRail services from Central also stop in Bowral.