As summer fades away and the days grow cooler, days spent floating away in the ocean need to be replaced with something different. A little exploration or two (why not make it four, five or ten!) might just do the trick. We’re so lucky to live in a country that has so much diversity in each and every season, and as it becomes autumn we can turn our sights to our gorgeous little country towns for a little inspiration. Cooler days, stunning landscapes, quaint shops and fantastic food and wine trails. All of the best things to look forward to over the cooler months.
Not far from Sydney, there are a few lovely towns and regions to choose from for a day trip or weekend escape. Only an hour and a half from Sydney is the Southern Highlands, with Bowral at its heart.
Bowral is a hub of shops, cafes and restaurants filled with gorgeous homewares, foodie treats and artisan products that will definitely see you leaving with a few extra bags than when you arrived.
Leaving Sydney early in the morning will have you arriving in time for brunch and a coffee from one of Bowral’s cafes.
At this time of year Bowral is particularly stunning, lined with deciduous trees, heavy in leaves the colour of fire and creating a stunning backdrop for a day away from the big smoke. I could stare at those trees for hours on end.
Arriving in time for a caffeine hit, newly opened and positioned at one end of the main street, is the Bespoke Letterpress. The perfect way to start a day in Bowral.
Order from their delicious food menu and sit back to soak up the relaxing atmosphere before taking time to look through the stunning stationary on display to purchase in store. The Bespoke Letterpress in Bowral is not only home to the café and shop, but also the press studio where couture stationary is designed, created and printed using traditional cast iron machines.
What they create is absolutely beautiful and worth a trip to Bowral alone.
Parking at this end of town to begin a day wandering through shops is also a good plan due to it being right near Dirty Janes: a huge warehouse emporium where a variety of stallholders come together to display their individual collections in mini store spaces within The Antique Market.
Heading in to Dirty Jane's
With so much to see, it is very easy to become lost in this space alone for quite some time.
Wandering through the gorgeous greenery of the The Potting Shed, just out the front of Dirty Janes, inspires all sorts of gardening ideas in even those of us lacking a green thumb.
Around to the left through the gardens you'll then stumble into yet another beautiful homewares store that stole my heart: Suzie Anderson Home.
Filled with fresh linens, cane and timber interiors that are to die for, this little gem is a must-visit.
The main street is perfect to wander, filled with cafes and shops for gorgeous homewares, cooking, books and a wide range of boutique clothing and products.
Succulents available from yet another little shop in an arcade off the Main Street.
Some of the eco-friendly products available inside The Moose Hub.
When you need a little break from all of that browsing, pop into a café for a coffee or to the beautiful little park just behind the main street, which is the perfect place for relaxing or enjoying a picnic with goodies you pick up from a deli or specialty whole foods store like RAW & WILD Market and Cafe.
Organic produce at RAW & WILD
Inside RAW & WILD's market
While enjoying my day trip and to break up a day of shopping in Bowral, I decided to indulge myself in lunch at Ludo, which can be found just behind the main drag of Bowral, on Station Street.
The stunning interiors of Ludo Bowral. Image by: Ludo Bowral
The restaurant has been created within a gorgeous old home and is a stunning space focused on a shared food dining experience.
Sitting on the front verandah soaking up the sun and enjoying the quiet street views was the perfect place for a relaxing lunch all to myself. Ludo’s lunch menu is short and sweet. Just how all good menus should be. Even better was the addition of suggested matching wines, listed alongside the meals. Perfect! How could you resist that? I didn’t. After some thought I went for the Slow Roast Pork Belly with Mango Chutney and Pickled Cabbage with a glass of Riesling by Vinteloper in the Adelaide Hills.
Ludo's pork was literally: melt-in-your-mouth
Eating and sipping on a perfect riesling in the sun on Ludo's front verandah.
To say I was in heaven eating this and savouring that crisp Riesling is an understatement. At that moment I could have stayed in Bowral forever just sitting on that verandah.
Finishing off the day I continued along the street looking in more beautiful store and eventually found myself lost in Barbara’s Storehouse. A homewares and furniture store that is big on style and low on price.
Before I knew it I'd bought a million cushions, and wished I’d parked closer to buy floor rugs and serving platters. In hindsight, this was probably luck, as I'd have bought the entire store out, so instead I made my way back to the car with a ginormous bag of pillows in tow, a giant smile and happy heart.
After a relaxing day I was back in Sydney before I knew it, well rested after a day in the fresh crisp autumn air of Bowral and ready to plan my next day trip.
If you're unsure of what to do this weekend, take time to plan a quick day trip to Bowral. It truly is beautiful and will rejuvenate you in a heartbeat.
With so many picturesque places at our finger tips I can’t wait to explore more little towns right on Sydney’s door.
Bowral, New South Wales, Australia.
Any time of the year. We visited for a day trip in the middle of April 2017. Autumn was a beautiful month to visit, but it is a great getaway destination at any time of the year.
From Sydney by car:
Bowral is approximately a one and a half hour drive from Sydney. Travel towards Canberra on the M5 and take the exit to Bowral through Mittagong. The trip is well sign posted. This route is easy to follow from Sydney Domestic Airport for those of you travelling from elsewhere and using a hire care as well. If you need more directions, visit NRMA's Road Trip Planner.
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