With its gorgeous gardens, bushland and wilderness, historic homes, museums and galleries and an incredible food scene just 90 minutes by car from Sydney and Canberra, beautiful Bowral is our top pick for a Southern Highlands fling.
Whether you’re a family that prefers living it large in a country manor, trawling for collectibles or securing cultural and sugar fixes, here we’re share a few of the best things to do in Bowral with kids.
Things to do in Bowral with kids
Take pretty parklands, gardens and playgrounds, add grassy farmlands and vineyards, then mix in a few world class museums and galleries and you have the perfect recipe for entertaining kids.
Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame
The home town of the late great Sir Donald Bradman, Bowral’s Glebe Park is the location of Bradman Oval and the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame. A museum collection of national significance, kids can learn about the geography and history of the world through cricket via state-of-the-art interactive experiences. Howzat!
Location: St Jude St, Bowral
Tiptoe through Bowral’s tulips. Located in the centre of town, Corbett Gardens is one of Bowral’s oldest and prettiest public parks. Each spring it becomes the centre piece of the Tulip Time Festival with its carpet of pretty tulips. Note, entry to Corbett Gardens is normally free for visitors but a fee applies during the festival.
Location: Wingecarribee St, Bowral
Mary Poppins Statue at Glebe Park
Let their imaginations fly with Mary Poppins in Glebe Park. This whimsical statue commemorates author Pamela L. Travers, the author of the children’s novels about the mystical and magical English nanny, who spent some of her childhood in Bowral.
Location: 6 St Jude Street, Bowral
Bowral Art Gallery
Arty types will love the Bowral Art Gallery, located behind the Bowral Library in the arts precinct. Along with gallery and sculpture garden, there are arts workshops for adults and children.
Location: 1 Short St, Bowral
Where to shop in Bowral
I was delighted to discover that my kids share my love of scouring antique and bric-a-brac stores because their dad would rather poke himself in the eye with a rusty fork than join me for an in-store trawl. Bowral, with it’s antique emporiums, second hand bookstores and eclectic shopping strip is one of our favourite place to indulge our passion for covetable collectibles.
Dirty Jane’s vintage and antiques emporium boasts more than 50 individual dealers in one place and is packed to the rafters with cool and quirky collectibles, vintage and handmade jewellery, antique furnishings and homewares that will make your repurposed, restored and upcycled soul sing!
Location: 13 Banyette St, Bowral
Berkelouw Book Barn
Breeders of book worms will want to high tail it to Berkelouw Book Barn, around an eight-minute drive from town. The rustic home of thousands upon thousands of books, exploring its literary treasures has been a long-time favourite stop of mine. Luckily my kids have caught the Berkelouw bug too. You’ll find new and second-hand books and a kids’ section, but it is their antiquarian selection that makes this book lover’s heart sing.
Location: Bendooley Estate, 3020 Old Hume Hwy
If your kids are anything like my stationery loving littlies then you’ll love this pretty store in the main street of Bowral. Designed and printed at their flagship store and studio using antique cast iron machines, their range includes greeting cards, gift tags, writing sets, notebooks and gorgeous double sided gift wrap.
Location: Shop 2b/310-318 Bong Bong St, Bowral
The Creative Kid
Let the kids loose at Creative Kids, just off the main street in Bowral. The oldest toy store in The Southern Highlands, you’ll find a brilliant variety of toys, games, artistic and educational materials.
Location: 10 Boolwey St, Bowral
Bowral’s best sweets and treats
With a high altitude and rich volcanic soils supporting some of Australia’s best produce, the Southern Highlands is renowned for fabulous food. But while Raff and I prefer to taste our way through Bowral’s many excellent restaurants and cafes, Sugarpuff (who believes that the five food groups consist of cake, cookies, pastry, chocolate and candy) was more excited by Bowral’s many sweet secrets.
Kids and cake go together like, well… kids and cake! And award-winning Gumnut Patisserie has the best cakes, tarts and savoury pastries in town. My kids can’t resist Gumnut’s luscious lemon tarts and raspberry tartlets, and there is a takeaway high tea that’s the perfect thing to enjoy in one of the many pretty parks in the area.
Location: Shop 7, Grand Arcade, Bong Bong St, Bowral
Flour Salt Water
Flour Salt Water is a family owned bakery offering incredible artisan breads and cakes, biscuits and pastries. Their croissants are a thing of flaky, buttery beauty and my son has an addiction to their chunky choc ginger cookies that borders on the need for intervention.
Location: 374 Bong Bong Street, Bowral
Bowral Sweets & Treats
Did someone say lolly shop? Bowral Sweets & Treats is a one stop shop for all things sugary sweet. My kids and this candy store became well acquainted during our visit as they stocked up on lemon sherbets, sour lollies and handmade chocolates as well as bagsful of imported British sweets for their dad.
Location: High Street Arcade, 310-312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
The Pure Chocolate Shop
My chocolate loving children adore The Pure Chocolate Shop. There’s a range of vegan, sugar free, dairy free, dark, milk and white chocolate delights including fruit studded rocky road and a range of dreamy, creamy bars. But it is the free-flowing beauty of the Chocolate Lava Fountain and the delicious hot chocolates – the perfect treat on a crisp Highland day – that really have them hooked.
Location: Springett’s Arcade, Shop 21 302-306 Bong Bong Street, Bowral
Where to stay in Bowral with kids
From beautiful boutique hotels and quaint cottages to stately manors and sprawling resorts, you’ll find kid friendly accommodation to suit every family in Bowral.
This historic art deco charmer, located just moments from the main street of Bowral, has been stunningly renovated in shimmering peacock shades of blue and green. With its spacious family rooms, atmospheric common spaces, heated indoor swimming pool and billiards room, not to mention a stellar restaurant, Bistro Sociale and day spa, on site, Berida Hotel is an absolute winner for families.
Location: 6 David St, Bowral
Berkelouw Book Barn Cottages
The individually designed Berkelouw Cottages offer a little rustic glamour to a Bowral stay. With one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages, they’re ideal for families. And the kids will love exploring the picturesque surrounds and getting hands on collecting eggs and saying hello to the resident farm animals.
Location: Bendooley Estate, 3020 Old Hume Highway
Just minutes from Bowral’s main street, this accessible five-star find offers a modern twist on boutique Bowral accommodation. Overlooking a gorgeous 18-hole Golf Course, the Gibraltar Hotel is welcoming to kids with spacious family suites along with a heated indoor pool, fine dining and luxurious on-site day spa.
Location: 7 Boronia St, Bowral