Australia

A Historic Stay in the Southern Highlands

The Fitzroy Inn first opened it’s doors as a travellers inn in 1836. It is one of Bowral’s oldest surviving colonial homes.

Now trading as a hotel and a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions, the Inn now serves varying different types of people.

From wary road travellers looking for a few nights stay, or if you’re looking for a luxe way to celebrate a special birthday or occasion like a wedding, the entire property can be booked out. Just you, your friends and family. Dogs if you got them and plenty of high end culinary treats to dine on throughout your stay.

What’s even more fabulous about this great place, is it is also open to the public for self-guided tours of the property (both inside and out), whether you’re staying at the property or not.

For a cheap $10 pp, you are given a great introduction to the property, with a booklet to help guide you throughout the property from step one through to step twenty (I think it was twenty anyways), where you can learn about the history of each individual space of the property (both in and out), and a few historical stories on the side too.

This property is as colonial as it gets, and is in amazing condition. Though some changes have been made to many parts of the property on the inside to accommodate for modern day luxuries, such electricity and plumbing. The outside facade is completely original and well preserved.

It’s easy to see why this property attracts a lot of attention. Although some days the restaurant is open for coffee and food, the day we went it was not open until the evening, so if you do stop in during the day – hit up Bowral first for a feed so you don’t get hungry. Because you’ll want to spend at least three hours there, exploring the property.

And if you’re like me and love a good yarn and chat, then you’ll want that extra time, as the owners are great to chat to, with so many great stories to tell.

We weren’t staying the night, but I sort of wish we were. The owners took us for a tour through the bedrooms and they were lovely. It would have been nice to spend some more time exploring the grounds more and even enjoying more time in Mittagong and Bowral.

The room prices are fairly reasonable too, starting at around $160 for one night. But the rooms are huge and you have access to the entire property, the orchard if you wish to pick your own oranges and lemons and of course the restaurant is open for dinner and breakfast for you too.

And if you like things a little on the spooky side, well the house comes equiped with its very own colonial convict prison downstairs. Yes, you heard that right. You can access the cells through a small stairwell made of convict carved sandstone covered with moss, in the centre of the property, and indoors from the courtyard.

Here you will see the cells, the original old kitchen and holding area for soldiers who stopped in to stay when travelling through the area. And there is even a freshwater well too.

We happened across the property around a year ago, but when life got in there way, we never got the chance to go back to explore. So it was nice to finally get back to the property and enjoy a stroll through the gardens, learn about the property and see inside the room.

I’ve been totally obsessed with a lot of Australia’s historical history of late, learning about all sorts of fascinating stories from the past. But the most incredible thing of all I am discovering, is how many secrets lay before us in plain site. Some are that which you may drove past daily and not even know they are there.

But, if you take some time and do a little research, you’ll be amazing at what you’ll discover ready to explore.

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