WHEN FRIENDS COME TO STAY :: The Ultimate Girls Weekend In The Southern Highlands
A 48-hour guide for indulging eyes, ears, taste buds and wardrobes!
There are only so many Instagram stories you can post about life in the Highlands before friends from far and wide turn from ‘we really should come down for a visit’ to ‘get your diary out right now!’
So who’s up for planning the ultimate girls weekend away where kids, partners and fur-babies stay at home so you can have a weekend that’s all about you and your girls?
Now, if you’re hosting the weekend (and keeping your own house in order!), you can stay at one of the fab accomm options we have here in the Highlands - start with this list of some of our fave places to stay locally including the beautiful and luxurious four-bedroom Fulford Folly. Or you can pull out the sleeping bags and extra quilts and host the girls at your place.
Either / or, find a date, start a WhatsApp group, and check out our guide to get you sorted for the ultimate girls weekend in the Southern Highlands.
You arrive on Friday evening after the busy working week, armed with a few extra layers of clothing (love autumn in the Highlands for snuggling up in something woolly and warm!) and a few bottles to pop. Enjoy a welcome drink at home before heading into Bowral for dinner.
First stop – Bistro Sociale. Imagine open fireplaces, contemporary interior design, an extensive cocktail list and handsome waiters! The European-inspired menu with a hint of French flair will kick start that ‘weekend away’ feeling. Oh, and their steaks are seriously next level delicious.
Finish the night off at the Gin Trading Co (you won’t have to move far from your table at Bistro Sociale – Gin Trading Co is in the next room!) where you have around 100 varieties of gin to choose from and try (not all at once obvs!).
Get set for a morning of retail therapy with a visit to the biggest town in the region. Bowral has a quality array of clothing, homewares, antiques and local produce to browse, buy and pop in your basket!
Start at the southern end of Bong Bong Street by fuelling up at The Press Shop for a much-needed caffeine hit (that one last gin seemed like such a good idea at the time, right?) and brekkie before wandering through the antique megastore that is Dirty Janes, the perfect place to find your next unique present or mantlepiece addition. Think crystal champagne glasses, antique furniture, vintage cameras, quirky fashion and more.
Once you've worked your way through the treasures there, wander north up Bong Bong Street where you'll find so many awesome shops.
Swing by South Hill Kitchen just off Bong Bong on Boolwey Street and grab one of their Portugese Tarts (they serve them fresh out of the oven so they're warrrrm and just what you need to keep your energy levels up for a darn, good shop! And good luck stopping at one BTW!).
Keep heading north up Bong Bong to The Mill – a popular coffee, food and retail hub – where you can finish your retail therapy by popping into the beautiful store of local clothing designer, Zoe Georgiou. You will NOT leave empty handed, that’s for sure.
Need another caffeine top up? Head to the stunning Links House in Burradoo - a beautiful boutique hotel where you can grab a mid-morning coffee in the sun and walk around the pristine gardens. This 1928 guest house oozes traditional country charm with a cherry of sophistication on top, what we like to think the Highlands is all about.
It’s time to head to beautiful Berrima and Bendooley Estate, such a great place to stroll around the manicured grounds, do a wine tasting (get on the front foot and buy some bottles of wine in preparation for a girl’s night in tonight!) and check out the iconic Berkelouw Book Barn. Finish off with some lunch and a glass of wine overlooking the vineyards. Be sure to make reservations though. Bendooley Estate offers up the quintessential Highlands weekend experience, so can book out quickly.
After lunch, while you’re in the Berrima area, pop into Whitewall Art Projects - a fabulous new gallery in the Highlands – to browse (and perhaps buy) a collection of Australian and international sculptures, art and photography. A stunning collection of works in a beautiful, historic building. Gorgeous.
Head back into Bowral for sunset cocktails and tapas at Raw and Wild - their Tapas + Cocktails Nights run from 3pm to 8pm - perfect for a late afternoon / early evening aperitif! Choose from a delicious cocktail list that includes jugs of Sangria and the girls weekend staple, Aperol Spritz! Order some nibblies - they do yummo tapas dishes and a kickarse cheese plate - before heading back home.
After a busy day out, there’s nothing like sliding into your Ugg boots, lounging in front of the fire with a bottle or two of wine, your favourite tunes and catching up properly. For this, we recommend your full focus on the convo rather than the cooking, and that’s where our friends from Highlands Grazing Co come in! Get in touch with the wonderful Nadia – she creates and delivers the most amazing-looking and delicious grazing platters, tables and boxes to your home / girl gang! Paired with your wine finds from earlier in the day, we reckon you’ll be chatting, grazing and sipping well into the early hours of the morning.
Today is all about culture and country air and that starts with the country markets! There’s no better way to support local, bag some amazing produce and browse through a collection of unique and handmade gems. There’s plenty of fabulous local markets in the Highlands to visit, depending on when you visit – check out our Markets Guide here and make a plan.
Now for a touch of Parisian living smack bang in the middle of Bowral! Le Bistro Gourmand opened in 2020 and has become a super popular foodie favourite. Experience it for yourself and take the girls for an authentic French breakfast in the courtyard. Go hard with the pastries (all made by the Le Bistro Gourmand team on site) because you’ll be walking off the pastries shortly.
Ready to breathe in some country air and walk off the pastries (and maybe a slight hangover)? Head east to chase some waterfalls. The village of Robertson is the gateway to some pretty spectacular bushwalks and falls – you’ll need your cameras and phones for this one, ladies! Both Carrington Falls and Belmore Falls are a must visit and a short drive from Robbo – this guide to local waterfalls will help you out.
Ooooh, we love the Burrawang Village Hotel for a celebratory farewell to your girls weekend. Settle into the beer garden overlooking green rolling hills or lounge in front of the fire in the rustic style rooms. This place has some awesome pub grub on offer, paired with local wine and beers on tap. Enjoy live music and have a chat with a local about life in the area. Plus - the drive to and from Burrawang is one of the prettiest around with the tree-lined streets and rolling hills.
It’s the perfect place to clink your glasses and congratulate yourselves on having a super spesh and successful girls weekend in the Southern Highlands (and start planning the next one!).
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