Bathurst Winter Festival

The Ultimate Travel Guide To Bathurst

A beguiling little city on the banks of the Macquarie River, Bathurst likes to keep visitors guessing. Without doubt motorsport racing has become synonymous with the city, and in turn its biggest claim to fame; but spend a little while strolling its streets and exploring the surrounding towns and bush, and you’ll probably discover there’s a little more to Bathurst than you first suspected. From a rich gold rush legacy to heritage-listed buildings and impressive museums with vast collections, this Central Tablelands city certainly has enough to offer almost any weekend visitor.

Top things to do in Bathurst

Arts and heritage

The first purpose-built regional gallery in NSW, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) houses a wide collection of contemporary art, but it’s not the only place to admire artistic works or local heritage… Go on a walk and explore the city’s heritage-listed architecture, such as the grand Victorian Bathurst Court House and Abercrombie House, a mansion that dates back to the 1870s.

The region is also home to a number of gold rush era attractions, such as the History Hill Museum, which displays artefacts and exhibits; the Bathurst Goldfields, a reconstruction of a gold mining village; and Tambaroora Creek, where you can go fossicking.

Events and attractions

The annual six-day Bathurst 1000 is arguably the highlight of Bathurst’s racing calendar, and brings a torrent of revheads to town. But there are plenty more events on Mount Panorama each year, such as Bathurst Autofest. And even if your trip doesn’t coincide with any races, you can still visit the National Motor Racing Museum, and even drive on the Mount Panorama track, which is actually a public road.

The city also plays host to the annual Royal Bathurst Show in January, the Inland Sea of Sound music festival in February and the Bathurst Winter Festival in July.

Don’t leave without paying a visit to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home to Australia’s largest collection of fossils and minerals, including a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

Nature and outdoors

From Bathurst it’s an hour’s drive to the limestone Jenolan Caves, or a 30-minute drive to the vast gardens of Mayfield.

Tours and packages

Go off-road with Detour Adventures, which offers full- and half-day 4WD trips deep into the local bush, where you might spy kangaroos, wallabies or echidna. The operator and its offshoot, Bathurst Tours, also offer seasonal mushroom foraging trips and a plethora of other, more bespoke, options.

On the third Saturday of each month outside of winter, you can jump onboard the Bathurst Wine Explorer tour, which visits two of Bathurst’s ‘hidden’ wineries, and includes lunch at Abercrombie House.

Bathurst accommodation

Hotels and motels

Revheads will be hard-pressed to find a better spot than the Rydges Mount Panorama Bathurst: every single one of the hotel’s understated studios and apartments overlooks the Mount Panorama Racing Circuit. Beyond views, the hotel also has an outdoor pool and hot tub, plus a small onsite gym.

Located just on the cusp of the city centre, Panorama Motel Bathurst is a bit of gem. It’s the biggest motel in Bathurst with 70 rooms, a swimming pool, a bar, a bistro, a bottle-shop, and a drive-through coffee shop, and rooms are reasonably priced. Opt for the Premium King Room or the Superior Family Room if you can, both of which are newly refurbished and feature clean lines, simple contemporary design and modern bathrooms.

For something a little more boutique, with splashes of colour and contemporary furnishings juxtaposed with the pub’s original features, book into The Victoria Hotel, established in 1876, and refurbished in January 2019.

Camping and caravan parks

Several of Bathurst’s campgrounds (such as The Chase, McPhillamy Park, and Reid and Sulman) are seasonal pop-ups that are only bookable during Mount Panorama Racing Circuit events.

Get out in the thick of nature at the Macquarie Woods Forestry Reserve Campground in Vittoria State Forest, a 30-minute drive from Bathurst. Or if you’d like to be closer to the action of the city, then try the NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park, just shy of a 10-minute drive from the city centre.

Holiday homes

A luxurious and impeccably designed getaway, The Farmer’s Hut at Wilga Station is situated on a vast working sheep farm, a 12-minute drive from Bathurst. Perched on top of a hill, it boasts sweeping pastoral views from its floor-to-ceiling windows and is completely off-grid.

Bathurst restaurants and cafes

One of Bathurst’s most highly rated restaurants, Dogwood, BX does a roaring trade in American barbecue (think hot wings, cornbread, mac and cheese, pulled pork, and southern-style fried chicken), but it also wins plaudits for its friendly and efficient service and its selection of cocktails.

Other local standouts include Malouf’s Restaurant, which serves up hearty portions of classic Lebanese dishes, with meaty dishes taking centre stage; and Anam, hidden away in a shopping complex, which promises authentic Vietnamese food at very reasonable prices.

In the mood for a refined dining experience and a more elegant setting? Try Vine & Tap for Italian, or Cobblestone Lane for comforting modern Australian-style dishes.

The Hub is your Bathurst go-to for locally roasted coffee, plus wholesome and healthy breakfast and lunch options such as smoked salmon bagels, sweet potato rostis with poached eggs and big buddha bowls. And if you’re after something a little more indulgent try Piccolo’s on William – while it may specialise in gluten-free and paleo options, the cafe’s cakes, waffles and burgers still taste devilishly good.

Getting to Bathurst

It takes around three hours to reach Bathurst from Sydney, or 3.5 hours from Canberra, by car. Rex Airlines also services Bathurst Airport twice daily from Sydney – the flight time is approximately 40 minutes. The ‘Bathurst Bullet’ train runs daily between Sydney and Bathurst, and takes just shy of four hours.

Best time to visit Bathurst

Bathurst can get rather cool in winter, with a mean minimum temperature of 0.5C in July, otherwise the city is arguably a year-round destination. Most of the city’s standout events take place during summer, when the average high is between 25C and 29C.

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