In the beautiful Lachlan Valley, riverside Cowra is full of cultural heritage and historical buildings. The charming town is surrounded by vineyards, waterways and pretty countryside. You’ll discover military history, tranquil gardens and fine wines, all a little over four hours’ drive west of Sydney.

Cowra was the site of the largest prisoner of war breakout in modern military history, when more than a thousand Japanese prisoners staged a mass escape in August 1944. You can visit the former Prisoner of War Camp Site, which still looks much the way it did during World War II.

Rustic autumnal colours in the Cowra Japanese Garden, NSW

At the Cowra Visitor Information Centre, you can see a model of the camp and a free presentation on the breakout. Cowra has since forged a special relationship with Japan, observed at the Japanese and Australian war cemeteries, and the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.

Cowra’s annual cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsuri, celebrates the arrival of Spring with traditional Japanese cultural performances. Check out the events calendar for more festivals, shows and markets. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Cowra, including motels and B&Bs.

A family picnicking by the pretty Lachlan River, Cowra, NSW

On the self-guided Cowra Heritage Walk, explore the town’s heritage buildings, some from the gold rush era. Other things to do include visiting the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Australia’s World Peace Bell and the Lachlan Valley Railway, with its steam trains and roundhouse.

Part of the Cowra wine region, there are plenty of great food and wine experiences. Head along to the annual Cowra Wine Show Public Tasting and the monthly Cowra Community Markets, or try local wines at The Oxley, a wine bar, and join a winery tour with Ideal Tours.

Things to Do and Places to Stay

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