From bushranger tours and world-renowned museums, to hot air ballooning and feeding the animals on a farm, Central NSW offers a variety of fun-filled country experiences for families on a road-trip.
See a real T-Rex dinosaur skeleton at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum in Bathurst, visit one of the largest radio telescopes at The Dish in Parkes and explore admire Utes in the Paddock outdoor art at Condoblin.
Bathurst and Oberon
- Mount Panorama – drive the world-famous circuit that has hosted the world’s best races. www.mount-panorama.com.au
- Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum – come face to face with a real T-Rex dinosaur skeleton, see world-renowned fossils, and catch the ‘Fossil Flicks’ movie session and Torchlight Tours during school holidays. www.somervillecollection.com.au
- Gold-mining history at Hill End – take the kids to this renowned gold-rush town of the 1850s, with tours to teach t the art of gold-panning, fossicking, along with a visit to an underground gold mine.
- The world’s oldest Jenolan Caves – spend a day exploring the Jenolan Caves near Oberon, the world’s oldest known open caves, over 340 million years old. Featuring more than 400 caves with daily tours. www.jenolancaves.org.au
- Horse-riding – take a ride in the countryside with Yarrabin Horse Riding or, visit Barcoo’s Barn for farm-tours (or a farm-stay) where the kids can enjoy pony rides, take a turn at feeding the animals and collecting eggs on this rural property. www.yarrabin.com www.barcoosbarn.com.au
- Mayfield Garden – Visit Australia’s largest privately-owned, cool climate garden, Mayfield is a living legacy of the Hawkins family who took their inspiration from the best gardens in Europe. Beautiful in every season with pathways designed to be explored and so many nooks-and-crannies to discover. www.mayfieldgarden.com.au
- Heifer Station Winery – a cellar door with a difference, adults taste the local vintage while kids enjoy the on-site petting zoo and can feed the chooks, sheep and goat. Once one of NSW’s biggest cattle stations. www.heiferstation.com/
- Orange Regional Museum – this new museum features an ever-evolving variety of exhibitions, workshops, and is a wonderful a place to learn about Orange’s rich food and wine production history. www.orangemuseum.com.au
- Wentworth Mine – visit this historic mining site, take a walking tour around the site and see the relics of past mining heritage and continue with a tour of Lucknow historic village. http://wentworthmine.orangemuseum.com.au/
- Lake Conobolas – at the foothills of Mount Conobolas this pristine lake is a haven for birds and native wildlife, has a circular cycle or walking track, Lakehouse kiosk, adventure playground and a chance to paddle, sail or swim in the warmer months.
Cowra and Canowindra
- The ancient ‘Age of Fishes’ Museum – long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the mighty rivers of the Central West teemed with bizarre ancient fish – armoured varieties, fish with lungs, and huge predators with jaws like the crocodile. See thousands of fossils here. www.ageoffishes.org.au
- Blind Freddy’s Bushranger Tours – learn all about the Central West’s legendary bushranger history, when bandits like Ben Hall commanded the region and called the shots. www.blindfreddytours.com
- Cowra Garden – learn of Cowra’s significant role in the nation’s war history when Cowra was a significant POW site and the location of the largest Prisoner of War Breakout in modern military history. www.cowragarden.com.au
- Balloon Joy Flights – for an eagle eye view of the Central West, take off from Canowindra, home to the renowned annual balloon challenge event. www.balloonjoyflights.com.au
- The Henry Parkes Centre and Information Centre – a must-stop for pop-culture and a glimpse into yesteryear, this is four museum collections under one roof: The King’s Castle Elvis Exhibit, Parkes Motor Museum, Parkes Museum and the Antique Machinery Collection. www.henryparkescentre.com.au
- Parkes Observatory, ‘The Dish’ – affectionately known as ‘The Dish’, is one of the largest radio telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere and was the location for the Australian film of the same name in 2000. www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au
- Wiradjuri Amphitheatre – learn about the local indigenous culture of the Wiradjuri people at the amphitheatre facility, with indigenous artwork created by local Wiradjuri artists on display. https://visitparkes.com.au/attractions/wiradjuri-amphitheatre/
- Self-guided walking tour – this National Heritage listed town is an incredible place to walk and learn with historic sites including the Edmond Blacket Church (1849) and impressive Courthouse with its rooms curated as historical displays. www.carcoar.com.au
- Carcoar Toy Museum – kids of all ages will love the impressive display of over 2,000 toys spanning the First World War right through to modern times, from Betty Boop, Dan Dare and Sad Sack to the Simpsons, Japanese Anime and a dedicated Robot Room. Also visit the Golden Era Piano Museum and Carcoar Hospital Museum www.carcoarvillage.com/20th-century-toy-museum
Forbes and Lachlan
- Swans and Dragon Boats at Lake Forbes – pretty as a postcard, enjoy a meander along the nine-kilometre walkway or cycling track by Lake Forbes, and spot the family of swans and other birdlife, and watch the local Forbes Dragon Boat Club in training.
- Forbes Heritage Trail – see the town’s grand buildings from yesteryear and visit bush-ranger Ben Hall’s grave and 20 heritage local landmarks. www.forbes.nsw.gov.au
- Utes in the Paddock – Condobolin is the new home for this quirky bush exhibition with around 20 ute vehicles used as the canvas by a series of artists in developing this road-side creative installation. www.condobolin.nsw.au/things-to-do/utes-paddock
- Home of Henry Lawson – Grenfell is Henry Lawson country where the celebrated poet was born in a tent on the goldfields in 1867. Today, see the Henry Lawson Obelisk, a bust of Henry Lawson on Main Street.
- Iandra Castle, a grand estate – a privately owned estate listed on the NSW Heritage Database, welcoming guests for designated open days to explore the homestead and gardens www.iandracastle.com.au/open-days