Discover the old & new in the Bathurst region
Bathurst might be Australia’s oldest inland city, but it feels modern, with brand-new places to stay and dining destinations effortlessly blending with timeless attractions.
Sleep in lush luxury
At Evans Plains, a 12min drive outside Bathurst, is Wilga Station – a sheep farm turned luxury place to stay the night. Check into The Farmers Hut, a romantic, grass-roofed, off-grid cabin built for two, or The Shearers Hall, a stunning five-bedroom, two-bathroom retreat cleverly fashioned from a tin shed that caters for groups (including children). Co-owner Hamish Keith is the former CEO of nearby Mayfield Garden, Australia’s largest cool-climate garden.
Graze Keppel Street
Fuel up al fresco in the courtyard of espresso bar and eatery The Hub. Another pretty courtyard is found at the Italian eatery Vine & Tap. For cosy American saloon vibes, step inside Dogwood, BX and feast on Southern-fried chicken, mesquite-smoked steaks, burgers, brisket and back ribs. Enjoy your meal with beer, a Dr Pepper, an ice-cream float or an inventive cocktail from owner Evan Stanley, once named Melbourne Time Out’s Bartender of the Year.
A pub meal with star appeal
In 2022, celebrated Australian chef Matt Moran put tiny Rockley (population: less than 200) on the map when he opened The Rockley Pub (35km south of Bathurst). Dine on elevated pub fare – think next-level burgers and schnitties – and don’t be surprised if hands-on Moran serves you himself.
Play with the trains
Feel a sense of childhood nostalgia as you admire a historic model train at Bathurst Rail Museum, which neighbours the city’s train station. The model railway of the 1950s/60s-era Bathurst-Tarana line, complete with operating trains, tiny people and miniature sheep. Grab a coffee from the Refreshment Room café and peek into the red train carriage out front.
Immerse yourself in country life
Pull on your gumboots, stride across the countryside and watch the children hand feed the lambs, chickens and ducks with a delightful stay at Barcoos Farmstays Bathurst, a 10min drive out of town. Stay in the heritage five-bedroom farmhouse, one of two self-contained units, or BYO caravan, RV or tent. Tour the working farm, meet the alpacas, go for a led pony ride (there’s a Clydesdale for grown-ups) or take a two-wheeled sulky cart ride.
Dig a little deeper
Take an awe-inspiring journey into how life was formed on Earth at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home of the world-famous Somerville Collection, with more than 5000 objects to explore. Marvel at the immense T-Rex skeleton, along with intricate fossils in amber, fossil dinosaur eggs and opalised fossils. The collection is the lifetime work of Professor Warren Somerville, who started picking up interesting rocks as a curious child in the NSW Central West.
Feel like royalty
Peek into the past at Abercrombie House. Bathurst pioneer James Stewart built the Scottish baronial mansion Abercrombie House in the 1870s. Today, the 50-room granite and sandstone residence on 18 hectares is the private home of the Morgan family but it’s frequently open for guided and self-guided tours and hosts special events such as high teas and concerts. The family first opened the property to those interested in seeing what was beyond the gates in 1969.
Step back in time
Begin your exploration of Australia’s oldest inland city at magical Machattie Park, where you can smell the roses and watch paddling ducks on the pond in an elegant Victorian-era setting. Wander over to neighbouring Kings Parade to see (and hear) the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon, which rings out a tune at noon and 1pm daily, as well as chiming every 15min. Built from 212,000 local bricks, the tower is home to one of only three carillons in Australia.
See transport of another era
Step inside the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre to find a restored 1860s Cobb & Co carriage. This Bathurst-built coach, painted in the NSW livery of red and lined with straw, was used for the beloved heritage company’s Bathurst-Sofala mail and passenger route. In the ultimate blend of old and new transport modes, outside the visitor centre are six Tesla chargers and an NRMA super-fast Electric Vehicle charger.
Take a drive with a view
The corners of Mount Panorama/Wahluu are not for the faint of heart, with the scenic roads on this mountain known for hosting the thrilling Bathurst 1000 and themotor races each October and February. Visitors are often surprised to learn they, too, can drive the 6.2km circuit the rest of the year – just remember to stick to the signposted speed limits.