Bowral is the wonderland of the Southern Highlands. A historically hard working town, recent decades has seen Bowral learn to relax, and so has become the tourism hot-spot of the forever sleepy Southern Highlands. To first time visitors, some still expecting a big city getaway, Bowral reveals itself as nourishing and fertile, and via the cascading medleys of boutique stores, restaurants, and accommodation - all supported by a burgeoning entertainment fuelled social gathering industry (cafes, pubs, clubs), Bowral promises everything, and then some. Borrowing some tricks from the MastersOfTourism, Bowral nestles within the rolling hill-scapes of lifeless volcanos, warm and fruity, and ALL year round hosts a multitude of experiences and memories - at the many art galleries, parks, and frequent weekend markets.

With the Southern Highlands having very distinct seasons, many tourists find the best time to visit Bowral would be during either autumn or spring. During autumn, the trees explode with bright reds and oranges, and the air has a crispness that can only be experienced at Bowral's higher altitude. Spring on the other hand finds the area blooming with vibrant springtime annuals such as the popular tulip, and many of the local gardens become open to the Public.

During spring, Bowral's annual Tulip Time event becomes one of the Highland's biggest annual attractions, bringing in many thousands of visitors each year. Held durinf the September and October months, Tulip Time has become one of Australia's leading floral festivals.

How about some statistics

According to the 2006 Australian Census, there were 6,971 people that considered Bowral home. Approximately 45.79% of people in Bowral are male, and 44.87% of them are married. The average age was 48.

42% of eligible workers in Bowral considered themselves employable. Of those that were capable of labour, 54% worked full-time. The official unemployment rate for Bowral in 2006 was 4.54%. The average wage was $498 per week.

There were roughly 3,494 housing properties, and 85% of them were occupied. Of those occupied properties, 38% were owned by the people that typically lived in them. 19% of Bowral was on their way to owning a home. In Bowral, only 4% of properties are units or apartments. The average rent in Bowral was about $220 per week.

A Brief History of Bowral

In the late 1850's, John Oxley had purchased 5000 acres of land from Governor Brisbane. Although a deed was never issued before his death, this land is what we now know as Bowral. In 1859, the land was subdivided by Oxley's son, and a private village was set up to attract Sydney visitors, as well as to give comfort and a place to stay for the many railway workers constructing the railway line from Sydney. Originally named Wingecarribee by the Oxley Family, it was later renamed to Burradoo before eventually being named Bowral. The name Bowral was derived from Bowrel, which was the Aboriginal name given to the area. Bowrel is thought to have meant "large" or "high", referring to Mt Gibraltar.

Once the railway line had been completed, Bowral soon became a summer holiday retreat for many wealthy Sydney residents. These Sydneysiders had come to the area to not only get away from Sydney, but due the Southern Highlands' cooler climate, escape the often scorching and humid Sydney summers. They have since left a legacy of magnificent mansions and spacious gardens containing, due to the English climate of the area, many European deciduous and evergreen trees, exotic plants and flowering annuals.

For a more detailed history on Bowral, select any of the history articles to the top left of the page.

Photos of Bowral

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Map of Bowral

Accommodation in Bowral

Gibraltar Hotel Bowral

Corner of Centennial Road and Boronia Street, Bowral

Gibraltar Hotel Bowral is located 1.5 hours drive from Sydney and Canberra and only minutes from Bowral in the Southern Highlands. Gibraltar Hotel delivers 76 thoughtfully appointed rooms and suites reflecting a modern contemporary style.

visit Gibraltar Hotel Bowral »

Milton Park Country House Hotel

Hordern's Road, Bowral

Milton Park is located on its own secluded estate, just east of Bowral in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales

visit Milton Park Country House Hotel »

Highlands Holidays

26 Wingecaribee Street, Bowral

Highlands Holidays are real estate agents in the Highlands with a specialised and full time team to assist landlords and guests with their holiday requirements.

visit Highlands Holidays »



Centennial Rd, Bowral

Craigieburn in Bowral offers Resort accommodation, Conferences, Weddings, Restaurant & Bar.

visit Craigieburn »

Restaurants in Bowral

Biota Dining

Kangaloon Road, Bowral

Biota Dining is a licensed restaurant located in Bowral. Biota offers a unique menu employing home grown produce - demonstrating modern cooking techniques in a state of the art kitchen setting.

visit Biota Dining »

Jack Style

Cnr Boolwey st & Station st, Bowral

Jack Style Thai Restaurant features award winning traditional Thai cuisine. Open 7 days for lunch & dinner. Fully licensed & BYO. Take away and home delivery service available.

visit Jack Style »

White Canoe

Corbett Plaza, Bowral

Modern Australian Cuisine.

visit White Canoe »


378 Bong Bong St, Bowral

A Taste of Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo.

visit Savannah »

Cafes in Bowral

Cappas Cafe

99 Bowral Street (Foyer of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital), Bowral

Cappas Cafe at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital in Bowral features an extensive coffee and hot/cold food menu.

visit Cappas Cafe »

The Hospital Shop

4 Mona Road, Bowral

The Hospital Shop in Bowral specialises in premium coffee, and as well as freshly made muffins, pies, and sandwiches.

visit The Hospital Shop »

Palate Pleasure

Shop 2, 350 Bong Bong St, Bowral

Palate Pleasure in Bowral is a modern cafe offering fabulous coffee, fresh modern Australian meals, delicious cakes baked on our own premises and have a deli section of gourmet style Take-Home meals.

visit Palate Pleasure »

Janek's Cafe

Corbett Plaza, Bowral

Janek's Cafe is located right in the hub of Bowral, offering casual style eating. Famous for their freshly baked cakes, muffins, and fruit bread.

visit Janek's Cafe »

Shopping in Bowral

The Salvation Army Family Store

The Salvation Army Family Store

418-420 Bong Bong Street, Bowral

The Salvation Army Family Store sells pre-loved clothing, bric-a-brac and furniture at affordable prices.

visit The Salvation Army Family Store »

Alison Kennon Botanical Design


Bespoke flowers for weddings and events. Event Styling. Local delivery service. Focus on seasonality and sustainability.

visit Alison Kennon Botanical Design »

Alison Kennon Botanical Design


Bespoke flowers for weddings and events. Event Styling. Local delivery service. Focus on seasonality and sustainability.

visit Alison Kennon Botanical Design »

Little Bird Bloom


Our flower designs focus on featuring Australian native blooms with more mainstream flowers. We focus on featuring blooms which are in season at the time.

visit Little Bird Bloom »

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