Bridgerton in Bowral, New South Wales

Bridgerton in Bowral, New South Wales
Image: Netflix Australia

Get ready Australia, the ton is coming down under. Australian fans are cordially invited to carriage to the rolling hills, manicured gardens, and picturesque shopfronts of the historical town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands of NSW for a country excursion with a splash of regency magic to celebrate the upcoming season of Shondaland’s hit series Bridgerton.

From Tuesday 16th - Tuesday 23rd April, select locations around the charming country town will be gussied up in their Bridgerton best for a glamourous week-long celebration of the coming season of the iconic Netflix series. Working with local businesses in Bowral to create a fan experience like no other, Netflix will marry one of Australia’s most beautiful small towns with the romance and beauty of the Ton – with further details still to come dear readers. 

Local fans will also get the chance to watch the first episode of Bridgerton Season 3 at Bowral’s own Empire Cinemas, weeks before it premieres on Netflix. There will be four free screenings at Empire Cinemas from Monday 22nd – Tuesday 23rd April, with ticketing information soon to be announced.

But what Bridgerton experience could ever be complete without a seductive soiree to close the proceedings? On Tuesday 23rd April, the magnificent grounds of Milton Park will play host to a regency-themed Garden Party, opening their gates to fans and locals for a spectacular afternoon celebration that’s set to be the envy of every debutant and gentleman in high society.

Explore Bowral, NSW - Milton Park
Milton Park

And... who knows? At a garden party, you could bump into anyone. Shall we promenade?

Bridgerton Season 3 (episodes 1-4) premieres 16 May only on Netflix.

Explore Bowral, NSW

Explore Bowral, NSW

Bowral, a picturesque beauty nestled in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, is a town steeped in history and brimming with activities that cater to a variety of interests. The town's European history dates back to the early 19th century when it was first traversed by explorers and later developed into a fashionable retreat for Sydney's elite. A rugged landscape tamed by English-style gardens, exquisite culinary offerings, and estate homes – Bowral is all about fine country living.

Situated in the foothills of Mount Gibraltar, Bowral has a distinct lifestyle that celebrates the area’s natural beauty, culinary offerings, and creative flare. Once a Southern Highlands retreat for Sydney’s wealthy gentry, Bowral retains an allure that locals and Sydneysiders find hard to resist. 

The best time to visit Bowral

Beautiful year-round, Bowral’s European-style gardens and rural landscapes have long captured the imagination of creatives and literacy figures. The changing seasons reveal Bowral’s hidden gems. During autumn, it showcases the warm colors of falling leaves. Winter brings light snowfalls and open gardens, whilst spring is the time for vibrant colours during Tulip Festival. Visit during summer, as many cricket fans look to the Sir Donald Bradman Oval – the home of the Australian sporting icon.

Retford Park: A Historical Gem in Bowral, NSW

Retford Park: A Historical Gem in Bowral, NSW

Nestled in the heart of Bowral in New South Wales, Retford Park stands as a testament to Australia's rich cultural heritage. This grand estate, now under the stewardship of the National Trust, was once the private residence of James Fairfax AC, a prominent figure in Australian media. The property's European history dates back to land grants made by Governor Macquarie in 1821, making it a site of significant historical value.

The Victorian Italianate homestead, built in 1887 by the Hordern family, is surrounded by a patchwork of hedged gardens that showcase a variety of features from a detailed knot garden to a striking pool pavilion designed in 1969 by Guilford Bell. The gardens are a living canvas that displays the changing seasons with autumnal colors, winter snowdrops, and spring peonies.

Visitors to Retford Park can enjoy a guided tour of the house to discover the fascinating stories behind James Fairfax’s impressive art and furniture collection. The tours provide an intimate look into the life of a man who transformed Retford Park from an agricultural property into a gentleman's estate. The property also offers a self-led art trail for children and welcomes dogs on leashes in its dog-friendly gardens.

The Southern Highlands Regional Gallery Ngununggula is conveniently located next door, offering visitors a chance to explore regional art in addition to the estate's own collections. For those looking to make a day of it, there's the option to bring a picnic and relax under the oak trees or visit Hearth by Moonacres café for lunch and refreshments.

Retford Park: A Historical Gem in Bowral, NSW

Retford Park is not just a place of beauty but also a hub for community engagement, with a regular program of art exhibitions and family-friendly events. It's a place where history is preserved and shared, where the gardens are managed sustainably, phasing out herbicides and other chemicals, reflecting a commitment to environmental stewardship.

The significance of Retford Park lies not only in its historical roots but also in its role as a cultural and educational resource. It's a place where the past meets the present, where visitors can step back in time and immerse themselves in the elegance of a bygone era while appreciating the contemporary efforts to maintain and share this piece of Australian heritage.

Remember to pack your promenade dresses and seize the chance to take numerous photos in Bridgerton style, set against the picturesque backdrop of Retford Park.

Fine Country Living at Bowral

Peppers Craigieburn Bowral
Stay your weekend at Peppers Craigieburn Bowral 

Away from the village, it’s no secret that Bowral has some pretty impressive homes – beautiful cottages with fairy-tale style gardens, grand estate homes that echo a bygone era, and modern, architect-designed abodes. Some have been repurposed into beautiful weekend getaways, spa retreats, and wedding destinations.

Although a popular weekend destination for affluent Sydneysiders, in recent times, more young and established families have been moving in, drawn to the slower pace, prestigious schools, and fine country living – all within an easy 1.5-hour commute to Sydney’s CBD. With this comes new ventures that are starting to make their mark on the region – bespoke breweries, artisan bakeries, and designers. 

Boasting all the elements of an elegant, rural lifestyle, Bowral remains the place to indulge in fine country living.

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW
Shop at Country Accent for locally-made homewares, and dine at the local café 

Running through the region’s largest town is Bong Bong Street, lined with gourmet bakeries and patisseries, boutique shopping, antique dealers, art galleries, bookstores, and an independent cinema. It’s a hub for the local crowd mid-week but come the weekend, Bong Bong and surrounding streets see an influx of out-of-towners, with gastro pubs and a profusion of cafes that offer home-style comforts working overtime.

Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
Statue of the cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman at Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Today, Bowral pays homage to its past through the preservation of its historical country estates and the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, which celebrates the legacy of cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman.

Visitors to Bowral can indulge in the town's rich café culture, explore its boutique shops, or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the stunning Corbett Gardens. The gardens are particularly famous for their annual Tulip Time Festival, which showcases a vibrant display of tulips and other springtime blooms.

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW
Tulip Festival at the Corbett Gardens

For those interested in the arts, the Bowral Art Gallery presents a range of exhibitions from local and regional artists, providing a cultural feast for the eyes. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the regional gallery Ngunungula, which offers a space for creatives and hosts significant exhibitions, workshops, and artist talks.

Nature enthusiasts can head to the Bowral Lookout for breathtaking views of the town and its surrounding landscapes.

Another gem is the Dirty Janes Antique Market, a haven for vintage lovers and treasure hunters, where one can spend hours perusing a vast collection of antiques and collectibles. For a taste of local produce and a delightful culinary experience, the Bowral Farmers Market is a must-visit, offering fresh, seasonal produce and artisanal goods from the region.

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW
Dirty Janes Antique Market

For a touch of history, the Bowral and District Hospital Museum tells the story of healthcare in the area, housed in a building dating back to 1889. The museum showcases medical equipment and photographs, giving visitors insight into the evolution of medical practices over time.

The Lancelot Hill Antique Toy Museum is a unique attraction, displaying a vast collection of toys from various eras, sure to evoke nostalgia and wonder in visitors of all ages. For a relaxing end to a day of exploration, the Centennial Vineyards offer wine tastings and tours, allowing visitors to unwind amidst the scenic vineyards.

Bowral's charm extends to its seasonal events, from spring blooms to autumn foliage, and its array of activities, including croquet on the lawn in summer and sipping wine by a log fire in winter. The town's commitment to sports is evident not only in its cricket heritage but also in its golf courses and tennis courts, offering visitors a chance to engage in their favorite pastimes.

Walking trails in Bowral

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW

Bowral, a charming town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, is a walker's paradise, offering a variety of trails that cater to all levels of fitness and interest. One of the most notable trails is the Mount Gibraltar Reserve, where hikers can enjoy the beauty of a mountainous backdrop while exploring diverse flora and fauna. The reserve's tracks lead to several lookouts, each providing a unique perspective of the region's stunning landscapes.

For those seeking a leisurely walk, the Cherry Tree Walk is a delightful choice, featuring a path lined with cherry trees that blossom spectacularly in spring. This trail is also part of the Bowral Bike Path, making it a versatile route for both walkers and cyclists. Another popular trail is the Box Vale Track, which follows a historic railway line through a bushland setting, offering glimpses of the area's mining heritage.

Things to do while in Bowral, NSW
A part of the Cherry Tree Walk

The Gibbergunyah Reserve is a haven for nature lovers, with its network of trails winding through rugged terrain and offering occasional views of the Mittagong township. The Forty Foot Falls track within the reserve is a highlight, leading adventurers to a hidden waterfall and rock overhangs. For a more cultivated experience, the walking paths of Corbett Gardens provide a tranquil setting, especially during the Tulip Time Festival when the gardens are in full bloom.

The Bowral to Burradoo walk is a picturesque trail that takes you along the Wingecarribee River, through woodlands, and past historic estates, reflecting the town's rich heritage. Additionally, the Bong Bong Track offers a flat and easy walk along the river, suitable for all ages and perfect for a family outing.

For those willing to venture a little further, the trails at Fitzroy Falls in the nearby Morton National Park are not to be missed. The main boardwalk leads to a spectacular lookout over the falls, and several other tracks provide opportunities to explore the lush rainforest and its abundant wildlife.

In summary, Bowral is a town that offers a blend of history, culture, nature, and recreation. Its picturesque setting, combined with a diverse range of attractions and activities, makes it a compelling destination for travelers looking to experience the essence of the Australian countryside. Whether one is interested in exploring the area's heritage, enjoying the natural beauty, or simply relaxing in a charming country town, Bowral has something to offer for everyone. 

For more detailed information on planning a visit, the official tourism websites provide a wealth of resources to help tailor an unforgettable experience in Bowral.

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