Bowral is the shopping mecca of the Southern Highlands; a carefully curated collection of markets, antique stores, boutiques and bookshops filled to the brim with unique treasures to call your own.
The shops in Bowral present like a giant bazaar for antiques and collectables. It’s a veritable bower bird’s nest of everything from coins, to jewellery, toys, Art Deco furniture, books, glassware and textiles collected from around the world. If you’re a serious shopper, organise an itinerary of the town based on our guide to the best shops in Bowral.
Bowral antique shops
Those with an abiding fascination for everything from vintage furniture to unconventional art will find fellow tribe members hunting for treasures on an antique shopping trip to the Southern Highlands. Following are some of the best antique shops in Bowral and beyond.
Dirty Janes Bowral
Expect objets d’art, antiques and collectibles that span the past century at Dirty Janes, a destination for collectors with limited time. It’s such a good hunting ground for treasures that you could just visit this one-stop vintage shop in the Highlands and be happy with your finds. All up, there are more than 80 independent dealers, decorators and upcyclers at Dirty Janes, Bowral.
Dirty Janes offers the best in vintage wares.
The Bronte Tram
Find one of the best cafes in Bowral for coffee and start plotting your plan of attack. Now let’s talk treasures and antique homewares. You will find everything from brass candlesticks, chandeliers, wedding chests, leather suitcases, vintage furniture and stunning silverware at The Bronte Tram, which sources its collectibles from around the globe.
Grandpa’s Shed, Fitzroy Falls
Remember what it was like to get lost in Grandpa’s Shed? Well, grandpa called and he wants his stuff back. Grandpa’s Shed in Fitzroy Falls is an essential stop for road-trippers who like to fossick. The eclectic and luxuriant mix of junk and ephemera and carefully curated clutter is not for your Marie Kondo kinds. It’s perfectly imperfect and worth the 20-minute drive from Bowral.
Book shops in Bowral
The number of bookshops in and around Bowral says something about the denizens of the village, which once served as a rural retreat for Sydney’s landed gentry. Those with a love of literature are well served in and around Bowral, which is just a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Plan your visit to coincide with the annual Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival.
Berkelouw Book Barn
Although it’s technically in Berrima, 11 minutes from Bowral, Berkelouw Book Barn has to be top of the list of best bookshops in Bowral. As well as a stunning collection of second-hand, rare, antiquarian and contemporary books, the storied Berkelouw Book Barn is a destination in its own right for its adjacent restaurant and accommodation.
Visit Bendooley Estate and explore the Berkelouw Book Barn in nearby Berrima. (Image: DNSW)
The Bookshop Bowral
The Bookshop Bowral is regarded as an institution for its carefully curated selection of books written by culturally diverse authors from around the world. Check the calendar of events hosted by the bookshop, which hosts in-store signings and talks by authors as well as literary morning teas during the annual Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival.
The Phoenix Bookstore
So named after a fire destroyed its original premises, The Phoenix Bookstore has started a new chapter selling new and old books from its new location tucked in behind Bowral Post Office. Join the steady stream of shoppers browsing and chatting with the staff at this cosy bookstore who, as dedicated bookworms, will help you find something that takes your fancy.
Boutique shops in Bowral
Shopping is one of the best things to do in Bowral thanks in part to the creative community who call the Southern Highlands home. There are fabulous one-of-a-kind boutiques, hipped-up homeware stores and quirky op shops dotted around the jumble of streets which also has a selection of well-known retailers.
Green Lane is home to a collection of Bowral’s best shops and cafes. (Image: DNSW)
This letterpress stationary store was once part of The Press Shop, but the business became so popular that it had to move to larger premises on Bowral’s Main Street. Bespoke Letterpress is paradise for lovers of pretty and practical couture stationary in the form of writing paper and envelopes, puzzles, planners, calendars and more.
Birdhouse by HEM
Looking for something funky or flouncy? You’ll find it here at Birdhouse by HEM, which has a whimsical mix of local and global brands that make a fashion-forward statement. Forget fast fashion. The Birdhouse by HEM has managed to lean toward up-and-coming designers and contemporary homewares that are stand-alone standouts.
Susie Anderson Home
Sip coffee with your friends so you’re well-fuelled before your foray into the Suzie Anderson Home store. Take the Style Quiz ahead of your visit to help provide tailor-made tips for choosing everything from gift sets to tablecloths, homewares, fashion and furniture.
Bowral markets and op shops
There are plenty of upmarket stores to browse in Bowral. But it’s the affordable op shops and stores with vintage vibes that offer the biggest buzz for treasure hunters in Bowral. The Bowral Market is your better-than-garden-variety version too as, in addition to the quality bric-a-brac and artisan wares, they showcase NSW’s bounty of fresh produce.
It’s an oldie but a goodie. The Bowral Market, held on the second Saturday of each month, sells food, clothing, jewellery, plants, art and crafts. The pet-friendly market, held at the Bowral Bowling Club, sources a lot of fresh produce from the Southern Highlands. Hot tip: Stock your eco bag with a kilo of Robertson potatoes, a jar of Chapo’s Raw Honey and relishes from Lame Duck Foods.
Timeless Fashion & Furniture
It’s all about the thrill of the hunt at The Southern Highlands Community Hospice Shop where you are likely to find everything from a powder-blue safari suit from the 70s to a military-style jacket, pair of cowboy boots, a Portico clock or a framed print signed by a local artist.
Father Chris Riley Op Shop
Hard-core antique collectors and upcyclers will enjoy rummaging for a bargain at this op shop in Bowral. Father Chris Riley supports young people who are trying to turn their lives around, so you can feel even more righteous about forgoing fast fashion while in pursuit of that cricket cardigan or glittering jumpsuit.