Bathurst might be Australia’s oldest inland city, but it feels modern, with brand-new places to stay and dining destinations effortlessly blending with timeless attractions.
Sleep in lush luxury
At Evans Plains, a 12min drive outside Bathurst, is Wilga Station – a sheep farm turned luxury place to stay the night. Check into The Farmers Hut, a romantic, grass-roofed, off-grid cabin built for two, or The Shearers Hall, a stunning five-bedroom, two-bathroom retreat cleverly fashioned from a tin shed that caters for groups (including children). Co-owner Hamish Keith is the former CEO of nearby Mayfield Garden, Australia’s largest cool-climate garden.
Graze Keppel Street
Fuel up al fresco in the courtyard of espresso bar and eatery The Hub. Another pretty courtyard is found at the Italian eatery Vine & Tap. For cosy American saloon vibes, step inside Dogwood, BX and feast on Southern-fried chicken, mesquite-smoked steaks, burgers, brisket and back ribs. Enjoy your meal with beer, a Dr Pepper, an ice-cream float or an inventive cocktail from owner Evan Stanley, once named Melbourne Time Out’s Bartender of the Year.
A pub meal with star appeal
In 2022, celebrated Australian chef Matt Moran put tiny Rockley (population: less than 200) on the map when he opened The Rockley Pub (35km south of Bathurst). Dine on elevated pub fare – think next-level burgers and schnitties – and don’t be surprised if hands-on Moran serves you himself.
Play with the trains
Feel a sense of childhood nostalgia as you admire a historic model train at Bathurst Rail Museum, which neighbours the city’s train station. The model railway of the 1950s/60s-era Bathurst-Tarana line, complete with operating trains, tiny people and miniature sheep. Grab a coffee from the Refreshment Room café and peek into the red train carriage out front.
Immerse yourself in country life
Pull on your gumboots, stride across the countryside and watch the children hand feed the lambs, chickens and ducks with a delightful stay at Barcoos Farmstays Bathurst, a 10min drive out of town. Stay in the heritage five-bedroom farmhouse, one of two self-contained units, or BYO caravan, RV or tent. Tour the working farm, meet the alpacas, go for a led pony ride (there’s a Clydesdale for grown-ups) or take a two-wheeled sulky cart ride.
Dig a little deeper
Take an awe-inspiring journey into how life was formed on Earth at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home of the world-famous Somerville Collection, with more than 5000 objects to explore. Marvel at the immense T-Rex skeleton, along with intricate fossils in amber, fossil dinosaur eggs and opalised fossils. The collection is the lifetime work of Professor Warren Somerville, who started picking up interesting rocks as a curious child in the NSW Central West.