A family-friendly day out in Bathurst

Bond with your favourite little explorers during a big day out in Bathurst where they can pan for gold, make like race-car drivers and play with a giant toy railway.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jul 2022 -
min read

Transport yourself into the past

Start at the Bathurst Rail Museum, home to an incredible model railway where you can watch miniature trains go around the track, passing tiny people, cars and sheep. A dedicated kids’ space houses one of the world’s largest Brio wooden train sets, as well as a cute cubby house built in the shape of Bathurst Train Station. Grab drinks from the Refreshment Room cafe outside and don’t forget to take a peek into the red train carriage out the front.

Things that go vroom

If your kids like things that go a little faster, continue along Havannah Street, hang a left into Panorama Avenue and you’ve reached the National Motor Racing Museum. Celebrating the rich history of Australian motorsport, the museum displays trophies, race suits, leathers and other memorabilia, along with 100-plus racing cars and motorbikes from the 1920s to now.

If you’ve got budding Daniel – and Danielle – Riccardos in the family, make a beeline to the Immersive room, where they can make like a race-car driver, experiencing the sounds, speeds and thrills of the iconic Mt Panorama/Wahluu track, which is just outside the door. Afterwards, you can experience the circuit for yourselves – scenic Mount Panorama is a public road outside race and community events, and the kids will love watching you drive its many sharp twists and turns.

Time for a melting moment

Being a race-driver can be hard work, so head to Bathurst Town Square – a public space in the heart of the city – and reward your mini-Supercar drivers with a scoop or two at Annie’s Ice Cream Parlour (don’t miss the famous Sofala Gold flavour, with nuggets of golden honeycomb in honour of the oldest surviving Gold Rush town). Cones in hand, explore this historic square: hear the War Memorial Carillon chime each quarter-hour and play a tune at noon and 1pm daily; watch the ducks paddling in the Victorian-era Machattie Park; and play a game of hide-and-seek around the pretty flower beds and the band rotunda.

Annie's Ice Cream Parlour - Credit: Bathurst Visitor Information Centre

Annie's Ice Cream Parlour - Credit: Bathurst Visitor Information Centre

Gold, gold, gold

An hour’s drive north-west of Bathurst is the Hill End Historic Site, a beautifully preserved gold rush town. Here, your kids can get a taste of what life was like in the heady gold-mad days of the 1870s – and explore this living village that’s home to artists, artisans, poets and other creatives. Follow a self-guided tour of the quaint streets and buildings and then fill tummies at the Royal Hotel – the only one of 28 pubs in the old town to survive – which has a family-friendly dining room. You can also lunch at the General Store, a cafe and restaurant occupying two heritage buildings dating from 1872 and 1880. Alternatively, pick up picnic supplies here then head to the Tambaroora fossicking area, on the road leading north to Mudgee, to try your luck panning for gold.

Panning for gold in the Tambaroora fossicking area, Bathurst

Panning for gold in the Tambaroora fossicking area

Make like a miner 

Just 1.5km north-east of the Hill End Historic Site is History Hill, where your kids can dig a little deeper (literally!) into the Gold Rush era, following in the miner’s footsteps at the underground mine. Nose around at your own pace and inspect the 10,000 Gold-Rush and colonial-era artefacts: the little ones will particularly love the steam engines. If everyone’s feeling adventurous, there’s a 175m-long underground mine, called The Son of Hope, to explore. Traversing the well-lit tunnel, your kids will get a sense of what conditions were like for underground miners more than a century ago.

History Hill - Credit: Bathurst Visitor Information Centre

History Hill - Credit: Bathurst Visitor Information Centre

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