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 and dramatic Wolgan Valley, as well as world-renowned Jenolan Caves.
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 ruins of the Blast Furnace Park. At outlying Portland, the old cement works has become a centre for the arts called The Foundations, its silos adorned with the portraits of local workers painted by renowned muralist, Guido Van Helden.
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory 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 an 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.
There are many tours and activities that depart from Lithgow to the surrounding parks. Wolgan Valley Eco Tours hosts the Wollemi Twilight Wildlife tour and Glow Worm Tunnel Hike; while Simmo’s Off-Road Tours takes you off the blacktop on 4WD adventures through the Capertee Valley and along the Turon River.
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.
There are many delicious restaurants in Lithgow showcasing fresh, local produce. Visit the Jannei Artisan Cheese Makers for a unique and tasty farm experience, and Craft Works Distillery, on the edge of the Capertee Valley, specialise in single malt whiskey.
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 town’s Halloween festivities are the largest in the state.
Getting there and where to stay
Lithgow is a two and half-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.
Deluxe boutique accommodation can be found on the outskirts of Lithgow at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and Bubbletent Australia. 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.