Renowned for its car-racing and university, Bathurst is now a hot-spot for a family getaway. Don your beanie for ice-skating outdoors, chomp on a Perthville pantry sausage and watch heritage buildings magically lit up for the Illuminate Bathurst Winter Festival this July.
The Festival and a range of new tours and attractions make this Central NSW town a must-do road-trip, just 2-2.5hours drive from Sydney.
The winter fun begins on 30 June when kids can get spooked on a torchlight tour of the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home to a real T-Rex dinosaur and world-class fossils. On 4 July the Winter Festival kicks off with a Night Street Festival set to bring a huge party atmosphere to Bathurst’s historic centre. A 25 metre open-air ice-skating rink will take centre stage in Kings Parade, buildings will be illuminated and there will be live bands, food and wine stalls, and a movie screening for the kids. The Festival continues until 12 July.
Bathurst offers a vibrant city centre packed with fun for families. Learn about car and motorcycling history at the National Motor Racing Museum, join a ghostly night tour or enjoy high-tea at Abercrombie House and enjoy nostalgic treats at Annie’s Old Fashioned Ice-cream Parlour. Drive to historic villages Sofala, Hill End and Rockley for bush-ranger and gold-rush experiences.
The growing sophistication of Bathurst satisfies grown-ups too with hip cafes, award-winning bars and restaurants tucked away down cobblestone laneways, and a renowned art gallery.
The Illuminate Bathurst Winter Festival forms part of the region’s Bicentenary celebrations which marks 200 years since Bathurst became Australia’s oldest inland European settlement.
- Outdoor ice-skating rink (25 x 10m) in Kings Parade in the historic town square precinct. From 4-12 July.
- Illuminate Bathurst, an outdoor building illumination show of local stories and personalities through digital story-telling and sound at five different sites. Until 9pm from 4-12 July.
- Central West Short Play Festival at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (Sat 4 July)
- Torchlight tour at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum (Tues 30 June and Tues 7 July)
- ABC4Kids stars Lah-Lah at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment (Wed 4 July)
- Macquarie Philharmonia Orchestra at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (Friday 10 July)
- Abercrombie House High Tea (Sunday 5 July)
- Harrie Fasher Steel Rod sculpture and line drawing exhibition at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
- Discovering ‘Gordo’, an exhibition about a local family fossicking to
discover a Ichthyosaurus
Must-dos for families in Bathurst all year
- Meet a real T-rex dinosaur at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum
- Drive the world famous Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit and see views of the Bathurst plains as the early explorers did
- Enjoy high-tea or a ghostly tour at historic Abercrombie House with 52 rooms and six internal staircases
- Discover the history of motor racing at the National Motor Racing Museum
- Annie’s Old Fashioned Ice-cream Parlour – step back in time for sweet treats in a gorgeous old fashioned shop and try the locally named Sofala Gold variety
- Barcoo’s Barn offers the perfect farm-stay or visit with pony rides, feeding the animals and collecting the eggs
- Crago Mill Emporium and Heritage Centre – enjoy home-baked treats in the café and admire the beautifully restored four storey mill while the kids check out the antique toys and lolly shop
- Simmo’s Off Road Tours or Detour Adventures – get up close and personal with nocturnal animals, including Sugar Gliders, Wombats, Kangaroos and Platypus
- Abercrombie Caves – bushrangers and miners once roamed these caves, test the echo and acoustics or pan for gold in the creek
- Yarrabin Horse Riding – take a ride through spectacular countryside on a lovely quiet horse
- History Hill at Hill End is a great place to learn about the gold rush days of the 1850s with a magnificent display of fossicking and mining tools, an underground mine and blacksmith shop
Unearth your Central NSW experience at www.visitcentralnsw.com.au.
For Illuminate Bathurst Winter Festival bookings and information www.bathurst200.com.au.