Enjoy the beautiful colonial buildings on a heritage walk in Forbes, a pretty country town on the banks of the Lachlan River in the Parkes region of NSW. Explore the colonial gold rush and the life of notorious bushranger Ben Hall, who was involved in Australia’s biggest gold robbery near Forbes.

  • Forbes Chinese Memorial Garden, Image Don Fuchs
  • Lake Forbes, Central NSW, Image Don Fuchs

About Forbes

With splendid heritage buildings, gorgeous river banks and pretty parks, Forbes is a picturesque town in the heart of the beautiful Lachlan Valley in the Parkes region. Colonial gold fever struck the district in 1861 when the precious metal was discovered. And notorious bushrangers followed.

Many of Forbes’ heritage buildings featured in The Dish, a movie about the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope’s role in the 1969 Moon landing. The Forbes Heritage Walk is a delightful way to see the rich colonial architecture and pretty Victoria Park, where Prince Charles planted an elm in 1994.

View of the bridge, Forbes Lake - Image Don Fuchs

Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner are the most infamous of the colonial bushrangers to have roamed the district. In 1862 they carried out Australia’s biggest gold robbery, the Escort Rock gold robbery - the bailing up of the Forbes to Orange gold escort coach near Eugowra, just east of Forbes.

The Forbes and District Historical Society Museum has a fascinating exhibition on Hall, whose short life as a bushranger ended in a hail of bullets on May 5, 1865 near Goobang Creek, northwest of Forbes. You can visit his gravesite in the Forbes cemetery. A white picket fence borders the grave.

Forbes cemetary - Image; Don Fuchs

You can also explore the Ben Hall discovery room in the Forbes Railway Arts and Visitor Information Centre. Other delightful things to do and see include a visit to McFeeters Motor Museum, which has a remarkable collection of vehicles dating back to 1905. Lake Forbes is a wonderful spot for picnics.

Check out the event calendar for festivals, such as the biennial Kalari Lachlan River Arts Festival. You’ll find plenty of places to stay. Forbes is three hours’ drive from Canberra and five hours from Sydney. Trains depart Sydney for Orange and a connecting bus. Or fly to Parkes Airport and rent a car.

Fly into Parkes Airport

Family at the airport

Parkes Airport is located 5 km from Parkes’ town centre. Use the taxi services to make the short trip west. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

Regional Express services the airport with around 18 weekly direct flights to and from Sydney. For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney to travel into Parkes.


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