Water Adventures of the Central West

Head inland to Central NSW and cool down at these local spots.

Pack your inflatable and head to Central NSW with a new guide to the region’s best local swimming spots. There are some insta-worthy ways to cool down at lakes, dams, rivers and waterfalls. Enjoy ice-cream shops, cool underground caves, real watering holes (pubs!) and wineries.

Avoid coastal crowds, swim in safe waterways, and let the kids hop rocks. There are historic villages, food and wine trails, outdoor art, majestic gardens, and adventures such as kayaking, hiking, cycling, fossicking and fishing.

Waterfalls and rivers – take a dip, some come with a beach too!

  • Kalang Falls, Oberon – nestled in the Kanangra Boyd National Park, take a scenic walk to Kanangra Walls Lookout then be rewarded with a dip under the refreshing Kalang waterfall.
  • Ration Point, Turon River, Sofala (Bathurst) – discover this little slice of paradise on the Turon River with its swimming hole and scenic backdrop. Afterwards enjoy a pub lunch nearby at The Royal Hotel in historic Sofala.
  • Flat Rock on the Fish River, O’Connell (Bathurst) – kids can hop rocks to their hearts content with plenty of crystal-clear natural pools to plunge into at this idyllic spot. The large grassy area perfect to picnic with large signature ‘flat rocks’ to lounge on.
  • Koorowatha Falls, Cowra – after a morning hike in the Koorowatha Nature Reserve, cool down at the Koorowatha Falls, with its spring-fed waterhole for swimming
  • Farleigh’s ‘Beach’ Reserve, Cowra – a favourite spot with the locals this peaceful picnic area 10km from town is on the banks of the Lachlan River. Big eucalyptus trees provide shade and there are picnic tables for lunching.

Dams and Lakes – splash about!

  • Lake Cargelligo – this huge 8km long natural inland lake is an oasis for water sports and birdwatching, some 216 bird species recorded! Join the locals with their passion for sailing, water skiing, swimming and kayaking and relax on its peaceful foreshore.
  • Lake Canobolas, Orange – this tranquil and beautiful lake offers swimming pontoons and is ideal for families with a little beach on the shoreline, perfect for building sandcastles. There’s sailing and canoeing, a great playground and cycle paths.
  • Wyangla Dam, Cowra – at the meeting of the Lachlan and Abercrombie Rivers the dam is a clean, vast waterway for swimming, fishing, and water sports galore.
  • Forbes Ski Dam, Forbes – a beautiful spot on the bend of Lake Forbes the Dam is the local beach for swimming, water sports and comes with a playground, BBQ shelters and backs onto 10km of walking and cycling trails.
  • Carcoar Dam, Carcoar – pick up a grazing picnic platter from Carcoar’s Village Grocer, or hot chips from Tony’s Takeaway in Carcoar, and enjoy swimming, water sports and fishing at this local Dam on the Belubular River.
  • Company Dam, Grenfell – a beautiful spot surrounded by bush just near town is ideal to cool down and watch wildlife come for a drink on dusk.
  • Lake Endeavour and Bumberry Dam, Parkes – take the kids to see ‘The Dish’ during the morning, and as it heats up, cool off dam-side at these popular local attractions for canoeing, bushwalking and birdwatching.
  • Gum Bend Lake, Condobolin – this serene man-made lake sits alongside the Lachlan River and is a hotspot for the locals for water skiing, swimming, and picnics in the huge rest area.

More Cool Summer must do’s

  • Cool down in a cave – Abercrombie Caves near Bathurst and Jenolan Caves near Oberon offer a fascinating and educational underground experience with enchanting limestone caves to explore.
  • Picnic at Majestic Gardens – shady trees and cool spots by the lakes and ponds
    • Cowra Japanese Gardens – waterfalls, streams, two lakes and an authentic open air tea house are a welcome retreat
    • Mayfield Garden Oberon – the largest cool-climate garden in the Southern hemisphere
  • Millthorpe (Blayney) walking wine tour – stay cool while you walk with the Millthorpe Wine Collective which allows you to taste over 30 wines across three cellar doors at Angullong Wines, Slow Wine Co and Tamburlaine Wines.
  • Outdoor Public Pools and Waterparks
    • Lake Forbes Kids Waterpark – this free outdoor water ‘spray’ park is a great way to cool off the kids with lovely new shades
    • Parkes Aquatic Centre – swim at the 50-metre heated pool and kids splash pool and enjoy facilities including the poolside cafe, BBQ area, play equipment and diving boards.
    • Also at Manning Aquatic Centre in Bathurst, Forbes Olympic Pool, Orange Aquatic Centre, Grenfell Aquatic Centre, Molong Pool, Canowindra Pool and Cowra Aquatic Centre. Cabonne has seven public pools with a place to take a dip in most villages.

Bathurst – Flat Rock

Cowra – Kayaking

Oberon – Kalang Falls Kanangra Waterfall

Forbes Ski Dam

Parkes – Packed Cones

Lake Cargelligo – On Inflatables

Safety note – natural areas are unpatrolled with limited facilities so always exercise caution as water conditions can be unpredictable (but shark free!), and always leave the area tidy. Snakes are common in warmer months so look out.

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