Whether you are committing to a full-blown tree change or you are simply taking a country jaunt for the weekend, Bowral should be on your list. Just over an hour’s drive from Sydney, this cute country town is the largest in the Southern Highlands. It is also where many visitors base themselves for a romantic weekend away among the vines. Bowral will also surprise many a city-slicker with its selection of cute and sophisticated cafes and restaurants. These are some of the best Bowral cafes and those in the surrounding villages that you simply can’t miss during your visit.
Skye Gilkeson | Updated May 2023
9 of the Best Bowral Cafes
1. The Press Shop
Get your Insta-account ready, The Press Shop is made for that feed. One of the prettiest Bowral cafes, located on Bong Bong Street, this place is almost too cute with its duck-egg blue and white colour scheme.
Stop in for a delicious breakfast crafted from locally-sourced produce.
Our go-to is always the simple Taluca Park Free Range Eggs on toast but there are a few more gourmet options on the a la carte menu.
Expect one of the best coffees in Bowral thanks to their strong Cultivar pours, try their house-made cold brew, or a beautiful Little Wildling tea.
5/391-397 Bong Bong St, Bowral
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2. Salters at Dirty Janes
Like something from a pretty Parisian boulevard, Salters at Dirty Janes has been a long-time in the making.
The striking crimson awning welcomes hungry locals for breakfast from 8 am. Start the day with a simple strong coffee and eggs or granola. Or, pop into Salters for a cozy mid-week lunch.
The Joadja and Artemis wines are celebrated on the drinks menu of this licensed premises. Pick the perfect drop to marry with one of their charcuterie platters for a lazy weekend lunch.
Don’t forget to wander through Dirty Janes for some antique finds after your visit.
Open daily, 11 am to 3 pm.
3. Hearth by Moonacres
A delightful addition to the Bowral restaurant scene, Hearth by Moonacres is open next to Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery.
Moonacres is one of our favourite Southern Highlands cafes (as I gush about below). Their farm-to-table focused ethos means they dish up healthy, delicious dishes, made with heart.
Open 8 am to 4 pm daily.
4. Cafe Rosso
Known as one of the best spots for casual Italian in the area, Cafe Rosso is also a preferred morning coffee spot for us too.
Conveniently located next to the Harris Farm Market means parking is easy in the early hours and a quick grocery run after a latte, is even easier.
If you pop into Cafe Rosso for lunch you will be spoilt. The Italian fare is simple and traditional, and they serve up some delicious cocktails and wines to go with it.
Shop 3, Corner of Station and, Bowral St, Bowral
5. The Hungry Monkey
The Hungry Monkey is the newest offering to open in Bowral. With successful cafes in Berry, Kiama, and Thirroul, this award-winning name has opened its doors in High Street Bowral.
Expect fully-loaded burgers, great coffee, fresh salads, and plenty of options for the kids.
Park out the back in the Oxley Mall car park of Wingecarribee Street and wander through to their sun-filled courtyard spot.
Kids eat free on Thursday nights (5 -9 pm), and $10 burger nights on Wednesdays. Book a table or pre-order pick-up online.
High Street Bowral, Shop 17/312 Bong Bong St, Bowral
6. Rush Roasting Co.
If you want to try some of the best coffee in Bowral you should rush, don’t walk, to Rush Roasting Co.
These guys know what they are doing when it comes to roasting and pouring.
Located in the lovely Grand Arcade off Bong Bong St, this is a conveniently located Bowral cafe to stop in at after you wander the Bong Bong boutiques.
Rush also has a small selection of freshly made sandwiches, cakes, and sweet treats. Of course, they also sell their coffee beans, should you be shopping for a present to take home to friends.
The Grand Arcade 4, 293-295 Bong Bong St, Bowral
7. The Mill Cafe
There’s nothing flashy about The Mill. But, that’s part of its appeal. It’s a relaxed, cozy cafe that’s ideal for groups and families.
Its sizeable dining room has a thoughtful play area for the little ones over in the far corner which will give weary parents some time to finish their food.
The Mill staff is always super friendly and accommodating.
The modern Australian menu makes it a good choice for the whole family or a casual lunch.
In winter, grab a spot by the fire for a long lunch with friends or enjoy their regular live music offerings.
Stop in on a Saturday for their well-known farmers market in the courtyard or wander the shops featuring local artisanal goods and clothing.
210-224 Bong Bong St, Bowral
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8. Gumnut Patisserie
Love a sweet treat? Gumnut Patisserie is one of the busiest Bowral cafes, particularly on the weekend.
So, if you are planning on visiting the Bowral cafe, get there early and beat the queues.
Alternatively, visit the Mittagong location instead to skip the crowds (not open on Sundays).
Gumnut is known for its delicious pastries, handmade cakes, and fresh meat pies and sausage rolls.
Shop 7, Grand Arcade, Bong Bong Street, Bowral | Corner of Cavendish & Dalton Streets, Mittagong
9. Flour Water Salt
Flour Water Salt is a cute Bowral cafe located on Bong Bong Street.
A small space, this is a good takeaway spot or a cozy destination for a coffee date.
Their sticky chai is warming and delicious for those who aren’t big coffee drinkers. Otherwise, you can expect all the usual pours.
It’s the cabinet that might be the hardest to resist with their famous pies and sweet treats tempting you from the moment you walk in.
If you’re heading down the coast to Milton, you’ll find their partner cafe.
374 Bong Bong St, Bowral
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Other Southern Highlands Cafes You Must Try
We can’t discuss Bowral cafes without sharing some of our favourites from the other nearby Southern Highlands villages.
After all, when you visit this part of New South Wales, you have to jump in the car and explore the gorgeous smaller, towns too.
Station Coffee House
A local favourite, Station Coffee House is buzzing from the early hours until closing time but owner Jake and his bubbly staff manage the crowds well with a smile.
The cafe serves up large portions of breakfast delights, alongside its delicious coffee. They also do healthy smoothies and juices.
12a Bowral Rd. Mittagong
The Shaggy Cow
The Shaggy Cow just a few doors down is a popular spot, particularly with visitors on the weekend.
So, book a table if you hope to stop in on a Saturday. The menu is modern Australian with a twist.
They also offer picnic hampers and packages should you prefer to take your breakfast or lunch to a nearby park (the lovely Lake Alexandra Reserve is just down the road with a great kids’ playground).
You need to pre-order and pay for their family packages.
112 Main St, Mittagong
The Boston Ivy
The uber-cool setting at The Boston Ivy is a little bit New York, a little bit Melbourne. With Campos coffee on the pour, a simple seasonal food menu, and a pared-back interior, it’s a chic setting.
Grab a spot out in the sunny back courtyard of the 1880s terrace for a break from antiquing nearby. Closed Monday.
107 Main St, Mittagong
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The pretty blue building with black and white striped awning and hand-painted floral mural of Highlands Merchant draws you in as you drive through the main street of Moss Vale.
This cute curated visual story continues inside as you take a seat in this cosy cafe.
It’s the beaming faces of their staff and a cabinet brimming with sweet treats that also welcomes customers on entry.
They make great coffee and have a small a la carte menu for breakfast and lunch.
405 Argyle St, Moss Vale
Rush Roasting Co.
Picky about your coffee? Rush Roasting Co. is worth a stop-in for a morning heart starter.
Their Moss Vale cafe is the newest addition with an established roastery and cafe in Bowral’s Bong Bong Street.
Shop 6/348 Argyle St, Moss Vale
Cafes in Robertson
Moonacres Kitchen is our favourite cafe in the region for a few reasons. It is a true local, country cafe.
It’s clear every part of the culinary journey has been considered; from growing their own produce and crafting a seasonal menu to the warm and friendly environment in which they serve their delicious food and drinks.
If you didn’t know Moonacres existed, you would easily drive straight past it on your way through the tiny town.
But, when you step into the dining room, it feels like you’re dining in someone’s country kitchen.
Warm smiles welcome you, with the shine of the pastries overflowing in the cabinet a powerful distraction.
The first question you will be asked at Moonacres on the weekend is “Do you have a booking?”.
My advice is to always book or it’s likely you won’t get a seat here, particularly if you plan on dining as a group.
Shop 6-7, 79-81 Hoddle Street, Robertson
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Historic Berrima really is a culinary destination all its own.
With the award-winning Eschalot and popular Josh’s on the main street (the Old Hume Highway) and Bendooley Estate a few minutes’ drive away, Berrima is absolutely worth the drive from Bowral.
The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop
This quaint shop sells homemade jams, relishes, and pickles to take home to your own larder, or gift to friends and family. But, it’s really the homemade ice cream that you should try while wandering through.
The artisanal micro-dairy gelato is creamy and delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a wander down Berrima’s shop-lined main street.
1/9 Old Hume Hwy, Berrima
Exeter General Store
From the outside, the Exeter General Store is a quintessential country corner store. That charm only increased when you walk in. The charming interior welcomes diners with its wooden tables, surrounded by full bookshelves and the morning sun streaming in.
The menu is much more sophisticated than you might first expect as they show off local producers’ seasonal produce. Expect the typical eggs benedict, smashed avocado, and egg and bacon rolls.
But, you’ll also find breakfast congee, chia pudding, superfood smoothies, and a substantial kids menu.
1 Exeter Road, Exeter
All pricing and opening hours are current at the time of publishing and are subject to change without notice.
Cover image with thanks to Moonacres Kitchen
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.