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.

A walk through Victoria Park, Forbes, past Victoria Park Fountain

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, Forbes

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.

Things to do and places to stay

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  1. Winners are Grinners! Art Exhibition

    Wednesday 07 March 2018 to Tuesday 20 March 2018 , Glen Innes

    Aboriginal artists over the age of 50 years have combined works of pottery, textiles, painting sculpture, drawing, wood, photography wool or metal. There will be a Gala opening on April 7 at 4pm, with free entry and refreshments. It wil…

    07 Mar - 20 Mar
  2. John Butler Trio

    Tuesday 20 March 2018 , Albury Wodonga

    One of their most exuberant live acts, John Butler Trio announce more dates to their regional tour along with news of their long awaited seventh studio album and they're coming to Albury. Summer concert events for John Butler Trio fans alr…

    20 Mar
  3. Chromophilia

    Wednesday 21 March 2018 to Sunday 29 July 2018 , Wollongong

    Chromophilia is a riot of colour. From leafy greens, luscious yellows, bright oranges, moody blues and all colours of the rainbow - the collection comes alive in a display connecting objects by colour across a range of media and collecting …

    21 Mar - 29 Jul
  4. Arakoon bushcare group

    Wednesday 21 March 2018 to Wednesday 11 July 2018 , South West Rocks

    The fragile coastal dune system of Arakoon National Park, near South West Rocks and Kempsey, is under threat from invasive weeds such as bitou bush. Volunteer for two hours of weeding each week to help eradicate invasive weeds and restore n…

    21 Mar - 11 Jul