Back in November I went on a short getaway trip with my friend Y to Bowral. It was literally planned like this:
Me: So, how are you?
Y: I… think… I just need a break.
Me: Oh. My god. ME TOO! Wanna go on a short trip?!
Y: Omg, really?! YES!
Y and I had just been through a rough October and we were both ready for a breather before it all kicked off again in November and headed into the silly season. I originally suggested going on a cruise, but the dates didn’t really work out and it was more budget than I was willing to spend at the time. I didn’t have any particular reason for a cruise other than I liked the idea of being holed up in a space, being taken away, having all the food available already, and then coming back. I didn’t even really care about activities. I cared about sleep and rest and catching up with myself — on this Y was in total agreement.
So Bowral was suggested as a nice area that we hadn’t yet visited and that we’d heard nice things about. The drive was a pleasant two hours and soon enough we were in the lush, cool green countryside of the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Our first stop was an antiques shop called Dirty Janes that a friend had recommended for lunch and high tea. The shop was actually a huge warehouse divided up into individual stalls or sections curated by different owners. My favourite was this small room curated by The Potting Shed, a store in Bowral and Moss Vale specialising in plants and gifts.
I could easily spend hours poking around Dirty Janes. Every corner was stuffed with little bits and pieces – not always actually vintage – that fit the style of the curated area. There was everything you could think of, from records and vintage clothes, to furniture and homemade candles and condiments. I was obsessed with the corner pictured below, I wanted all the storage chests and especially the day lounge in the corner. It was a beautiful fabric with velvetty flocked puppies. I ended up buying the little black cushion featuring a horse framed in an intricate border, all threaded (as opposed to a print), for a reasonable $30.
After spending quite a few hours wandering around, we finally sat down famished to the Dirty Jane’s high tea. We didn’t feel like making too many choices so the high tea set seemed perfect. You did have to choose a scone and tea but otherwise came with a selection of tasty sweets and sandwiches. It was quite the spread and the savoury items hit the spot. The scones were delicious with the cream and a choice of lemon curd or strawberry jam. By the time we got to the top tier of sweet treats, we were absolutely stuffed! We ended up having to take a little tray away with our leftovers – we certainly weren’t going to leave anything behind!
AirBnB prices were pretty reasonable and so we booked the nicest looking place we could find with comfy furnishings and, my only request, a nice big bath. We settled on Wilmotte Cottage, a little out of the way from Bowral township but just far enough if you know what I mean. Bowral is by no means a bustling city but we liked the idea of being tucked away in the bush. The cottage was really charming, named after and featuring the artworks of Wilmotte Williams throughout the house. It was relatively recently refurbished in the style of an artists’ loft and had everything we needed, complete with a kitchen stocked full of basics. That weekend was surprisingly chill for spring, cooling down to 12 degrees in the evening – an absolute bonus because it meant we could make use of the lovely woodfire stove in the living area. By the time we arrived we were all about getting into our PJs, parking ourselves by the fire and doing very little – yes, even though it wasn’t event 3pm yet.
It was so cosy in fact, that we didn’t end up going out for dinner, but made do with some snacks we’d purchased in Bowral and made use of the supplies in the cupboard. I think we ended up putting together a decent tomato pasta with herbs from the garden – there was even shredded cheese in the freezer! I love it when a house or apartment you’ve booked has a stocked pantry – it’s incredibly generous and a detail that isn’t always considered, but is especially thoughtful for the guests seeking a total retreat.
We spent only a few nights at the cottage, but it was absolute heaven to be able to sit by the fire, have luxurious baths and think of little else other than what to eat and lounge around reading. The cottage was well stocked with boardgames, an xbox and even a small basket of art supplies, should you feel inspired by Williams’ to create your own masterpiece or simply do some colouring in the books provided. I had brought my own crafts bag and ended up lost for about an hour or two reorganising all its contents, colouring in, updating my bullet journal and playing with watercolours.
Y was really amused by how much stuff I had – I could totally do with more – and helped me to lay it all out. We couldn’t resist attempting a flatlay photo for Instagram to really show off the spread haha, though the only way we could achieve this was by standing on a chair and precariously leaning our phones out above the layout. It was pretty fun.
I thankfully had booked a few extra days off afterwards because as is typically the case, I was pretty tired after the holiday at first. The drive back was rainy and a little bit melancholic for me, I think poor Y had to deal with my weariness, but the rest and recuperation I was able to have, especially in such comfortable surrounds and with good company was worth it. All in all it was a beautiful weekend and I was able to recharge my spirit, ready to take on the busy month ahead.
Wingello, NSW. Book on AirBnB.