Sofala was born out of the 19th century Australian gold rush after the precious metal was discovered in the Bathurst region in the early 1850s. Once a thriving goldmining town on the banks of the Turon River, Sofala is now a delightful village where you’ll discover a fascinating heritage.

Alluvial gold was discovered in 1851 near Sofala, and a tent city mushroomed along the riverbanks. Today you can amble along the pretty streets and you’ll see buildings from the gold rush era, including the Royal Hotel, a classic wooden pub on Denison Street. The Old Sofala Gaol is on Barkly Street.

View of a heritage streetscape in Sofala, near Bathurst

Try your luck panning for gold or go fishing along the river near Sofala, which is a 3h 20min drive northwest of Sydney and a 40-minute drive north of Bathurst. Tours of the goldfields around Sofala, including Detour Adventures and Simmo’s Offroad Tours, depart from Bathurst.

You might recognise the village’s streetscapes from the painting Sofala by famous Australian artist Russell Drysdale. It’s described by the Art Gallery of NSW as ‘an expression of the quintessential qualities of an inland Australian country town’ and won the prestigious Wynne Prize in 1947.

A track winding by the Turon River, near Sofala

Places to stay include a lovely 1870s-built cottage and Chesleigh Homestead, where you can go horseriding and pan for gold. Take a historical walking tour in Sofala and explore the Upper Turon for reminders of the gold rush, including diggings, gravestones, buildings and a Chinese miner settlement.

Head along to the annual Sofala District Agriculture and Horticulture Show, a fun family event in February. Just outside town, the Turon Technology Museum features an intriguing display of steam engines. South of Sofala is the village of Wattle Flat, another historic gold rush town.


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  1. Autumn Colours Program

    Wednesday 27 March 2019 to Sunday 19 May 2019 , Bathurst

    Autumn is traditionally the time when the Bathurst region focuses upon its rich and fascinating past, with many of the region’s historic sights brought to life through a series of tours and activities. These provide a rare opportunity to…

    27 Mar - 19 May
  2. Alabar Gold Crown Carnival

    Event dates to be confirmed: March 2019 , Bathurst

    The Alabar Gold Crown Carnival runs for 10 days and is a mix of harness racing action (six race meetings) and social events. The social events include the Honouree Dinner, Golf Day, Gold Crown Ball and the yearling sale. Also the Miss…