The pit stop: Bothwell
In 1822, Scottish settlers founded the town of Bothwell. As the town celebrates its bicentenary this October, that early history remains reflected in tartan street signs, a wealth of National Trust-listed buildings and Australia’s oldest golf course.
Named for the shop that operated in the building for 150 years from 1850, Sealy’s Cafe & Gifts now turns out homesmade scones, soups and a fine range of pies – from venison to curried rabbit to scallop.
Tee up a round at Ratho Farm, Australia’s oldest golf course, and then head for the Australasian Golf Museum, inside the town visitor centre. Claimed as the world’s second-largest golf museum (behind St Andrews in Scotland), there’s a display on the 1936 golf game that is considered the world’s first computer game, and an indoor putting green with seven styles of putter to try.
With claims to be one of Australia’s longest continuously licensed pubs, the Castle Hotel dates back to 1829 and is a classic no-frills country boozer. The front bar is covered in photos of patrons and Bothwell Football Club teams dating back to the 1960s, or you can take your pint out to the picnic tables in the car park.
Remaining true to its origins, the front room at Sealy’s Store cafe doubles as a gift shop with an eclectic collection of goods. Across the road, Imperfectly Perfect Antiques has a small but interesting collection of historical curiosities inside an inn built in 1836. It’s just the place to find that terracotta urn, inlaid walnut side table, harp or 19th-century map box.
Bunk down inside stylishly refurbished, convict-built farm buildings at Ratho Farm at Bothwell’s edge, or in town at the beautifully designed Butcher’s House, a stone cottage rustically fitted out with clawfoot bath, farmhouse kitchen and a leather sofa before a roaring wood fire.