This thriving region in the Central Tablelands of NSW is full of life. From the natural beauty of pristine bushland and spectacular limestone caves to its historic goldfields and beautifully preserved heritage buildings, the Bathurst region has something for everyone and makes a great holiday destination.
History and heritage
This is where Australia's famous gold rush got off the ground. When gold was first discovered in the early 1850s it drew people from far and wide. The world’s largest piece of reef gold was found in the Hill End goldfields. Visit the smaller gold rush towns of Hill End and Sofala to see what life was like for prospectors who were tyring their luck.
You can experience the dark depths of a colonial underground mine at the Bald Hill Tourist Mine near Hill End. The 80m tunnel of the 1870s mine shaft is 30m underground. If you want to explore even further back in time, take in the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum.
Things to do
If Bathurst is the spiritual home of motor racing, then Mount Panorama is where followers worship at the altar of speed and precision driving. This is where the internationally renowned Bathurst 1000 takes place in October. And for rev-heads who think they have what it takes, the track also opens to the public when it's not being used for a race.
If culture is more your thing, you'll also find that in Bathurst. Walk along its leafy streets and admire the heritage architecture which dates back to colonial times. Take in contemporary art at the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Chifley Home, the residence of former prime minister Ben Chifley.
One of the area's most awe-inspiring natural attractions is the Abercrombie Caves. Enter the limestone caves through the Archway, the largest natural arch in the Southern Hemisphere. Join a tour and explore this thrilling underworld full of marble, stalagmites, stalactites, suspension bridges and more.
Time your visit with one of the many festivals and events held in the area. The action-packed events calendar includes the Inland Sea of Sound Festival in February, the Royal Bathurst Show in April, the Mayfield Garden Autumn Festival from April-May, the monthly Bathurst Arts Trail and lots more.
Eat and drink
The Bathurst Farmers Markets are held on the fourth Saturday of the month and champion local produce. Legall Patisserie is known to sell out of pastries, so get there early. Head to brunch at Harvest Café and Store, enjoy pizza and cocktails at Church Bar, set in a former Anglican school house, or visit Vine and Tap for contemporary Italian cuisine.
Wine aficionados will head to Bathurst to make the most of the region’s cool climate wines at cellar doors such as Vale Creek Wines, the annual Winter Winery Wander in June and the National Cool Climate Wine Show in October. Craft beer fans will make a beeline for Two Heads Brewing and Fish River Valley Brewing.
Getting there and where to stay
The Bathurst area is just over three hours’ drive from Sydney and 3hr 30min from Canberra. You can also catch the train direct from Sydney daily, which takes around four hours, and hire a car to explore the region.
There are plenty of places to stay in Bathurst and the surrounding area. Choose from motels and country pubs, serviced apartments, B&Bs, farmstays, heritage cottages and holiday parks.