By Laura House For Daily Mail Australia
06:03 09 Feb 2024, updated 06:27 09 Feb 2024
- Bowral is the perfect place to get away for the weekend
- It’s close to Sydney and has something for everyone: golf, wine and adventure
- FEMAIL has curated the ultimate itinerary for a two-day escape
If there’s one holiday spot that comes highly recommended no matter the season, it’s the Southern Highlands.
And its largest town, Bowral, never fails to impress with its extensive range of glorious wineries, dining destinations and accommodation up there with the best in the country.
Chosen by many as a cosy winter hideaway, the gorgeous town 90 minutes from Sydney is often underrated in the summer and autumn months – but those in the know would argue it’s the most beautiful time to visit.
And with plenty of new venues, adventure activities and hidden gems to explore, it really does make the perfect weekend getaway (or *wink wink* Valentine’s gift idea) for any age, interest or gender.
Here FEMAIL has prepared your ultimate two-day Bowral itinerary – including a cosy and affordable place to stay, picturesque vineyards, a winery that will ensure you feel like part of the family and some of the best Thai cuisine you will ever eat.
Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral
Formerly Gibraltar Hotel, this re-branded gem is now the very first Park Proxi hotel in Australia and promises curated itineraries and a range of activities designed to create a truly local hotel experience.
Run by the StayWell Hotel group, the affordable hideaway is perfect for those wanting to get out and about during their time in the Southern Highlands; it’s in the centre of the action and staff are on hand to organise you transportation on a whim.
Sat on an 18-hole golf course, it’s a given that this cosy spot is a favourite for golfers, but the hotel also offers generously sized hotel rooms and suites (from $287 a night) featuring floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of Mount Gibraltar, a gymnasium and heated internal swimming pool.
There’s also an on-site restaurant – Observatory – and bar – Harvey’s Bar – with exceptionally tasty food and Japanese-inspired cocktail options. Our pick is the torched Tasmanian salmon with wild rice, a potato rosette and cucumber salsa.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the hotel is offering a romantic Cupid Package including sparkling wine and strawberry dipped chocolates, a complimentary wine tasting tour for two at Centennial Winery and a leisurely breakfast.
Fresh and simple, Park Proxi is a fabulously affordable spot to lock-in for your weekend adventure and will afford you plenty of time and cash to splash on the picturesque surrounds.
For those who prefer to start a day of wine-tasting and brewery scouting with some guilt-alleviating exercise, this delightful reserve in the heart of the Highlands is the perfect spot.
A true hidden gem packed with waterfalls, lookouts and endless walking trails through the charming bushland, there really is something for everyone here and it can be accessed from a walking track next to Park Proxi.
Its highest point is 814m above sea level at Ninety Acre Hill Lookout which has sweeping views of the Blue Mountains while another small track takes you out to the Gib Lookout where a small bench lies, perfect for reading.
‘Gibbergunyah’ is believed to be a combination of two Aboriginal words meaning stone and house; it took its name from Gibbergunyah Creek. The reserve was also once home to the Gundungurra people.
One of the ‘must visits’ in Bowral, Centennial Wines is a stunningly beautiful winery known for its ‘cool climate wines’, advanced cellar door and mouthwatering restaurant.
Boasting a serene setting with birds cheeping and a fountain sploshing, the restaurant offers fresh, local produce and award-winning wines with exceptionally knowledgable staff.
Our pick is the Chef’s Menu ($95 a head) which includes a glass of bubbles, freshly baked sourdough with olive oil, the Centennial Tasting Slate and your choice of main and dessert.
For those who love white wine and seafood, you can’t go wrong with the squid ink linguini, Moreton Bay bugs and shellfish sauce paired with the freshness of Centennial’s 202 Reserve Albarino.
The latter is perfect for Sav Blanc fans and boasts complex aromas of apple custard, ruby grapefruit and florals; it’s quite unlike anything you’ve tried before.
The oldest winery in the Southern Highlands, Joadja has an entirely different vibe to Centennial with cosy, timber decor and a team of staff who will treat you like a mate.
Sat upon sweeping hills and speckled with gorgeous trees, florals, plenty of seating and even a woodfire pizza oven, Joadja is the ideal place to plonk yourself for a lazy afternoon and an array of tasty tipples.
Kim Moginie and his wife, Francis McCormack planted the vineyard in 1983 and in 2016, young couple Siobhan Maloy and Matt Toomey, along with Siobhan’s parents, Maureen and Paul Maloy bought the estate.
Standout drinks to try include the crowd-pleasing Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, the 2022 Reserve Fume Blanc, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the famous Boysenberry Liqueur. The latter is perfect over ice cream.
Joadja puts on all kinds of weekend events to entertain guests, including summer chill out sessions, ‘music in the vines’ afternoons and paint and sip classes.
A little further out in Mittagong lies a haven for beer fans.
Promising to ‘bring beer back to its roots’, this craft beer brewery is all about community spirit in an uncomplicated and relaxed space: aka, what enjoying a good brew is all about.
The quality delivered by Eden is enough to convert any non-beer drinker to the dark side and ensure the return of the most seasoned of brewery tourers.
Your tasting flight will be true treat for the senses, with selections including a mouthwatering Belgian wheat beer, the sensational peanut butter and banana milk stout and the memorable Guaba Milkshake IPA.
There’s also a food truck parked out the front serving what they promise is one of the best burgers you’ll find in the Southern Highlands.
If you’re after authentic Thai food with a twist up there with the best you’ve ever tasted, Paste is your place.
Chosen as the Australian site of the Thai culinary institution Paste Bangkok, Michelin star awarded Paste Mittagong offers an exquisite food and drinks menu designed by renowned chefs Bee Satongun and her husband, Jason Bailey.
They promise a ‘palate-tantalising adventure’ that showcases their bold and masterful approach to Thai cuisine and boy do they deliver, with an array of treats including watermelon salad, plump scallops, roasted duck rice crackers and spice-laden green, yellow and red curries.
Our picks include the divine new yellow crab curry and the prawns and noodles stir fry in shellfish gravy.
The $20 coconut noodle dessert is also worthy of praise in its own right, with the smokey noodles and palm sugar sabayon leaving your palate in heaven as you exit the restaurant on cloud nine.