January 1, 2022

Hot spots to cool off

8 minute read.

Welcome to 2022, the weather is heating up, and if you’re planning a summer road trip to the country, we’ll show you where to keep cool.

Crystal clear rivers, dams and waterholes are Bathurst’s version of the beach during the hot summer months. The local swimming pool is another ingrained part of summer culture in regional communities.

These are the places we cool off when it’s hot, with a few suggestions on how to make the most of your days at Bathurst’s ‘fresh water beaches’.

Chifley Dam

15 minute’s drive from Bathurst is this oasis brimming with water after lots of recent rainfall. There are two boat ramps for you to launch into some fishing, water skiing, kayaking or sailing.

The dam is home to the Bathurst Aqua Park for the summer months. A giant, inflatable playground on top of the water with a shady viewing area on the nearby bank. The Bathurst Aqua Park is fully patrolled, and everyone gets a buoyancy vest for safety.

Tickets are available from the on-site kiosk.

You can stay a few nights at the Chifley Dam Cabins, with heaps of sleeping options for groups large or small. There is also a free camping area at the dam.

Manning Aquatic Centre

The 50m outdoor pool at Manning Aquatic Centre is such a gorgeous spot on a sunny summers’ day, with manicured lawns and the most inviting water.

The pool is right in the CBD and is accessible for all abilities. A super safe and family-friendly environment.

There is also an indoor water playground with a whirlpool, fountains, and a walled area that’s perfect for toddlers.

A summer day at the pool wouldn’t be complete without visiting Annie’s Old-Fashioned Ice-Cream Parlour afterwards. Favourite local flavours are the Bridle Track and Sofala Gold.


There are several places to take a plunge along the Turon River at Sofala. One of the most popular is Ration Point, where a bend in the river has created a deep pool against a tall rock face.

Ration Point is 4 km out of the village of Sofala along Upper Turon Road.

Free camping is permitted under the cool casuarina trees, no bookings are required, but there are limited facilities so come prepared. It’s also important to take care swimming in the Turon River, as it is unpatrolled and conditions can be unpredictable.

It’s custom to call into the Royal Hotel in the village for a cool drink on a hot day. Or visit The Sofala Collective for gold panning, prospecting and fossicking equipment, camping supplies, and information on local tours.

Flat Rock

Half way between the villages of O’Connell and Tarana along Mutton Falls Road is Flat Rock camping and picnic area on the Fish River, about a 40-minute drive from Bathurst.

The river weaves through a series of large, mostly flat granite rocks giving the area its namesake. The water collects in a series of shallow pools that are perfect for a dip.

On your way there is the O’Connell Avenue Cafe and Store for a coffee and some sweet treats, or go through to Tarana Hotel for a famous Tarana Tiger Burger.

There is also free camping available here with limited facilities. Flat Rock is unpatrolled so again, important to be careful and keep an eye on your party.

Hill End

Get your hands dirty and dip your toes into the creek at Tambaroora Public Fossicking Area. 5 minutes drive north of the Historic Hill End Village, and just over 1 hour’s drive from Bathurst.

Gold Panning Tours are available with the friendly and knowledgable Jhob, lifetime Hill End local and fossicking expert. All equipment is provided during the 1-hour demonstration.

Camping is available in the Hill End Historic Village with powered sites, barbeque facilities and amenities.

There is also a range of beautifully restored historic buildings with self-contained accommodation.

All bookings via NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

There is plenty to see and do in the Hill End village, and once you have worked up an appetite, call in for a locally roasted cuppa, and homemade, delicious cafe fare from the Hill End General Store & Cafe.

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