Outdoor Experiences in Bathurst
From walking and cycling tours to horse-riding and farm stays, there is so much to see, do and explore in the great outdoors of Bathurst and its surrounding towns. Here's our pick of what to do in the Central West town once used as a base for many of Australia’s early explorers.
Cycle Bathurst with a map and hire bike
Bathurst is a dream for cyclists. Bicycling Australia’s website calls it ‘The Cycling Miracle of NSW’. Collect a Cycle Bathurst map from the Visitor’s Information Centre and explore some of the many routes on offer. Don’t be put off if you’re a novice – the rides range from easy, meandering short loops around town to more challenging 70 km rides.
Farmstay at Barcoos
Only 10 minutes drive from Bathurst, Barcoos Farm looks like it's straight out of the pages of a children's story book and is a genuine working farm. Stay overnight in the well-equipped 2 self contained units, a heritage 5 bedroom Farmhouse (sleeps 10), or caravan, motor-home and camping facilities. Animal lovers of all ages are in for a treat with farm activities, led pony rides or sulky rides pulled by the farm's wonderful horses. The chickens, ducks and Georgie Pig love guests mixing and then spoon feeding them their breakfast. So many animals to get up close to, admire, cuddle and pet. There are often even baby lambs to bottle feed, and Border Collies who love to play fetch with anyone who will throw a ball! Only in the district for a day? You are more than welcome to come out for a farm visit! Activities may include feeding a variety of animals (chickens/ducks/alpacas/sheep/pig – any maybe more) followed by led pony rides and sulky rides. Barcoos have little horses for little people and a Clydesdale horse for all. Your visit will last a minimum of 1 hour and often more!
Jenolan Caves are among the oldest and most impressive caves in the world. There are nine caves to explore, with incredible limestone formations and underground rivers. Tours include the popular ‘Legends, Mysteries and Ghosts,’ which takes you through the caves at night by lantern light, as you listen to tales of unexplained phenomena and stories from the local indigenous Gundungurra people, who called Jenolan ‘Binoomea’, which means the Dark Place.
Looking for a challenge? The physically demanding ‘River Cave’ tour includes over 1,000 steps and two steep ladder ascents. The reward for your hard work is the chance to explore this incredible underworld labyrinth. A highlight is the ‘Pool of Reflections’, a deep, illuminated underground lake that shines blue, and in the almost perfectly still surface you can often see spectacular reflections.
Horse Riding at Yarrabin Holiday Ranch
Dreaming of the wind in your hair as you canter through open plains? Then head to Yarrabin Holiday Ranch where you can ride through vast paddocks, gum forests and picturesque grazing land. This beautiful property spans 1,000 hectares and chances are you’ll see some furry local residents, kangaroos and wallabies, along the way. You can stay overnight in their cabins and cosy up by the log fire, or unwind and let your tired muscles recover in the heated spa. There’s also a tennis court and pool.
Just a 20-minute drive from Bathurst, Flat Rock is a picturesque picnic spot with swimming holes in the shallow creek. After a dip, make like a lizard and dry off on the large – yep, you guessed it – flat rocks. Spread out with a picnic sourced from the local bounty of the Central Tablelands, and a perhaps a bottle of local wine from one of the cool climate wineries nearby. Dog lovers rejoice: your pooch is
Prefer to explore on four wheels? Detour Adventures offer half-day and full-day 4WD tours of the area with tours departing from Bathurst. The half-day tour takes you on a 4WD path to the highest peak in the area – 1,300 metres above sea level – to take in stunning views over the Bathurst plains. Enjoy morning tea in the bush air, learn about the local flora and fauna, try your luck at gold panning and take in the view from the natural volcanic rock lookout high above Winburndale Nature Reserve.
Sick of the whirr of traffic, need to escape to a place of beauty and serenity? Escape the rat race to Mayfield Garden, 36 acres of exceptional cool climate garden. Mayfield Garden is about a 30 minute drive from Bathurst. Book your garden entry tickets HERE. And be sure to download the 'Bathurst - Step Beyond' App featuring a fascinating tour of Mayfield Garden narrated by gardening guru Graeme Ross. Get it for FREE on the Apple Store or Google Play.
Off-Road Wine and Food Safari
Prefer someone with local knowledge to do the organising for you? Simmo’s Off-Road Tours run a number of tours including a Scenic 4WD Wine and Food Safari. You’ll explore some of the best cool climate wineries around Bathurst and Orange, visit local farmers, growers and cheesemakers, as well as sample the wares at boutique brewers and distilleries. Tours can be tailored to suit your preferences and will pick up from your accommodation.
An easy half-hour drive from Bathurst, Macquarie Woods is part of Vittoria State Forest. Offering both pine plantations and native forest, this is the perfect place to fill your lungs with fresh, country air. Set up a picnic blanket and watch the wind rustling through the trees, or try your luck foraging for mushrooms and berries – just make sure you only eat these if you know which are safe, and follow the mantra, ‘If in doubt, go without’. On the drive, stop in at The Beekeeper’s Inn (2319 Mitchell Highway, Vittoria) to stock up on local produce, and taste some of their delicious honey varieties.