Canowindra

Famous for

  • Being the hot air balloon capital of Australia
  • Beautiful, historic main street
  • Boutique wineries & producers

Let the gentle breeze usher you over the spectacular Orange region, its rolling landscapes and beautiful heritage attractions. Known as the hot air balloon capital of Australia, the historic village of Canowindra is home to airborne adventures, acclaimed vineyards, fascinating colonial history and a unique collection of prehistoric fossils.

Hot air balloons flying over central NSW during the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge, Orange Area, Country NSW

Balloon adventures

The best way to see the town is from above. Join Aussie Balloontrekor Balloon Joy Flightsand watch the sun paint the sky orange and pink as you drift over the red earth at dawn. Time your visit to coincide with the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge in April, a colourful week-long spectacle.

Couple outside the Coco Harvest chocolate artisan store in Canowindra, Orange Area, Country NSW

Step back in time

Meander through Canowindra's heritage-listed centre while learning about its fascinating colonial history, including the fact that the whole town was bailed up in a pub for three days by bushranger Ben Hall and his gang in 1863. A must-visit is the Canowindra Historical Museum, housed in a former school building.

Stop for a cool drink at the Royal Hotel Canowindra, built in 1910 on the site of Ben Hall’s most daring escapade. Join Blind Freddy’s Bushranger Toursand explore the myths of Hall and his gang. Your guide will step you through the gold-rush era of the 1860s as you explore the locations and unpack the myths.

Children enjoying a visit to the Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra, Orange Area, Country NSW

In 1955, a rock bed full of thousands of rare Devonian fossils was uncovered by chance near Canowindra. It contained fossils of bizarre fish with crushing jaws and armour from 360 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the planet. Many of these are now on display at the intriguing Ages of Fishes Museum.

Couple enjoying a wine and olive tasting experience with Sam Stratham of Rosnay Organic Wines in Canowindra, Orange Area - Country NSW

Food & wine

Well-known for acclaimed local vineyards, fresh produce and culinary festivals, Canowindra is perfectly situated between the Cowra and Orange wine regions. Enjoy wine tasting with a view over the vineyard at Wallington Wines or stay in one of the restored on-site cottages after a tasting at Rosnay Organic Vineyard. Famous for their award-winning pinot gris, Antonio’s Wines now produce a fine range of distinctive varietals to sample.

Couple shopping for homewares at Finns Store emporium in Canowindra, Orange Area, Country NSW

Galleries & shopping

Explore Gaskill Street for a taste of old-world charm and local experiences. Don’t miss the Melissa Barber Studio for renowned prints that merge photographic realism with a distinctive eastern influence. At Perennialle Plants Emporium you’ll find rare collections of shrubs sourced from around the world. Finns Store is home to local artworks, wines and clothing.

Getting there & where to stay

Canowindra is a 30m drive north of Cowra and 50min southwest of Orange. From Sydney, the drive through the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is a little over four hours. You can also fly to Orange airport and rent a car. Accommodation includes cottages, farmstays, a caravan park and the historic Blue Jacket Motel.

Passengers

Fly into Orange Airport

Orange Airport is 15km from the Orange town centre. Make the short trip into the city using the taxi services at the terminal or ride-sharing Uber. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

Qantas flies direct from Sydney to Orange four times a week and Regional Express flies direct from Sydney on weekdays. Link Airways operates direct flights from Orange to Brisbane six days a week and Orange to Melbourne four days a week.

Things to Do and Places to Stay

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