This immaculately preserved 19th-century country town, 30-minute drive south of Bathurst, is one of the oldest settlements west of the Blue Mountains. Declared as National Trust Historic Village, Rockley is home to over two dozen Insta-worthy heritage buildings and beautiful parklands. You can drop into local Bathurst artist Tim Miller’s beloved studio for an art class, enjoy a scrumptious high tea and end the day with a fine Italian wine en route back to Bathurst.
Things to do:
- Take a trip down memory lane at Rockley Mill and Stables Museum (18 Budden Street, Rockley, 02 6337 3279, facebook.com/Rockleymillandstables museum) which still houses its original machinery, as well as clothing and old police records and newspapers chronicling the town’s history as far back as 1854.
- Local artist, Tim Miller built his Rockley Studio (20 Long Street, Rockley, 02 6337 9276, rockleystudio.com.au) over 20 years ago out of mud bricks and is not afraid to share that he spends way too much time at the studio, which is where his gallery, workshop and life drawings are held. Let the remarkable paintings speak to you or learn the tricks of the trade from the talented artist through one of his many workshops.
- For those who consider wine their favourite art form, Vale Creek Wines (438 Cow Flat Road, Georges Plains, 02 6337 2011, valecreek.com.au) is the perfect pit stop between Rockley and Bathurst. Let winemakers Tony and Liz take you on a tour around the winery and share their knowledge about their Italian varietals. Then sit back on the terrace and enjoy a glass of Sangiovese or Barbera.
- Nestled in the valley overlooking Peppers Creek and Rockley Weir, Buddens Tea Room (18 Budden St, Rockley, 02 6337 9279, buddens.com.au) is housed in the old banking chamber and is open on weekends. Enjoy delicious bite-size finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones which are all made from local produce, while overlooking the garden. Buddens also has five cosy guesthouses for those who can’t bring themselves to leave just yet.
Rockley is named after Captain Watson Augustus Steel’s birthplace in England. In 1829 he was granted 1920 acres of land we now know as the town of Rockley.