Located in a beautiful valley just west of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow is a fascinating town with an industrial heart but a natural, wild soul. Surrounded by spectacular wilderness, it is the gateway to the secret treasures of Wollemi National Park, the pagodas of the Gardens of Stone, the vast Capertee Valley as well as world-renowned Jenolan Caves. Linger longer and discover scenic train rides, local produce and luxurious back-to-nature retreats.



Living history

Lithgow has played a significant role in Australia’s industrial history. A centre for coal mining and steel production, its heritage can be explored at the State Mine Heritage Park and the photogenic Glen Davis Ruins (join a tour to explore with an expert). At outlying Portland, the old cement works has become a centre for the arts called The Foundations Portland, its silos adorned with the portraits of local workers painted by renowned muralist, Guido Van Helden. 

Guido van Helten Silos, The Foundations Portland

Guido van Helten Silos, The Foundations Portland

The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum is on the grounds of the famous local factory that produced rifles used by Australian troops from World War I to the Vietnam War. Set on a historic estate, Eskbank House and Museum also houses a significant collection of artefacts from Lithgow’s past, including a blacksmith's forge and a coach house. 

Get back to nature

There are many tours and activities that depart from Lithgow to the stunning surrounding national parks, including Wollemi National ParkGardens of Stone National Park and Capertee National Park. Wolgan Valley Eco Tours hosts the Wollemi Twilight Wildlife Walk and Glow Worm Tunnel Hike; while  Simmo’s Offroad Tours takes you on 4WD adventures through the Capertee Valley – aka Australia’s Grand Canyon, one kilometre wider but not as deep or long as its more famous American counterpart – and along the Turon River. For a bird’s-eye view, take a joy flight with Capertee Valley Helicopters.

Small tour minimal impact tours Wolgan Valley Eco Tours, Wolgan Valley

Wolgan Valley Eco Tours, Wolgan Valley

At an altitude of 1,130m, Hassans Walls is the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains, with spectacular district views across the valley to the escarpment from the new Sir Joseph Cook boardwalk. You can also take in the drama on the Zig Zag Railway, a historic steam train chugging through gorgeous wilderness. The area is also host to two spectacular lakes: Lake Lyell, great for water skiing, fishing, kayaking and boating; and Lake Wallace, a popular caravan and camping spot.

Zig Zag Railway, Lithgow

Zig Zag Railway, Lithgow

Gourmet delights

There are many delicious restaurants in Lithgow showcasing fresh, local produce. Visit the Jannei Goat Dairy dairy for a unique and tasty farm experience. This award-winning, family-owned fromagerie produces artisan natural yoghurt, fresh curd, ricotta, chèvre, miette… and many other delicious semi-hard kinds of cheese. And then drop in on Craft Works Distillery, on the edge of the Capertee Valley – this place specialises in single-malt whiskey and gins. The batches are small, but the flavours pack a punch. And the cellar door is the perfect place to discover just what goes into making quality Australian spirits.   

With forager Diego Bonetto, gain a new appreciation for wild edibles. Time of year pending, join the environmental educator to seek out delectable pine mushrooms. His workshops are not only educational, but highly entertaining. Plus you get to eat just-picked produce.   

 Group with a basketful of orange wild mushrooms on a Mushroom Foraging Workshop, Lithgow

Mushroom Foraging Workshop, Lithgow - Credit: Diego Bonetto

Festivals & events

Lithgow also has a vibrant events calendar. LithGlow lights up the Blast Furnace during May; the quirky Ironfest celebrates steampunk, blacksmith arts and historic re-enactments; while the Lithgow Halloween festivities are the largest spooky season event in the state. 

Aerial of LithGlow 2021, Lithgow

Aerial of LithGlow 2021, Lithgow - Credit: Brenton Jones/Lithgow City Council

Nearby treasures

The most ancient open caves in the world with arguably the most beautiful limestone formations you’ll ever see, it's little surprise the Jenolan Caves are a bucket-list destination, just over an hour's drive from Lithgow. Celebrate the seasons at the beautiful formal garden of Mayfield Garden near Oberon. Or relax at the Japanese Bath House, home to an onsen-style outdoor hot spring bath, a tea house, a Zen temple garden and unique Japanese-style accommodations.

The Pool of Reflections in the River Cave, within the iconic Jenolan Caves - Credit: Timeless Creations - Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust

The Pool of Reflections in the River Cave, within the iconic Jenolan Caves - Credit: Timeless Creations | Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust

Where to stay

Deluxe boutique accommodation can be found on the outskirts of Lithgow at Bubbletent Australia and Turon Gates Mountain Retreat, sitting pretty amid 2,400 hectares of wild bushland – the perfect backdrop for cottages, log cabins and glamping tents. Binoculars are provided. Charming historic accommodation can also be found at Linden Tree Manor in the original brewery or at nearby Hartley Historic Site; or take in the views at Eagle View Escape overlooking Lake Lyell. 

Getting there  

Lithgow is a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney on the Great Western Highway. It is also the final stop on the Blue Mountains train line from Central or can be accessed via a country train to Bathurst. The train journey takes around three hours. 

Plan your trip