Tour Description

Best of the Central West: Cowra, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo

Nine Days: 19th – 27th April 2020

Twin Share: $2895 per person. Sole Use: $3395 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Come with us to a beautiful part of Australia as we explore the Central West region of New South Wales. Visiting the regional centres of Cowra, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo, just to name a few, you will be impressed with the diversity and hospitality of the region. Highlights of the tour include the serenity of the Japanese Gardens in Cowra, the heritage of Bathurst, getting up close to animals at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the stunning beauty of the scenery that surrounds.

 

Day One – SUNDAY 19 APRIL 2020

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

We depart this morning after home pick ups (limited areas*), to begin our journey east. After morning tea in Tailem Bend, we travel out through the Mallee towns of Sherlock and Lameroo before arriving at Pinnaroo for lunch.

Shortly afterwards, we cross the border into Victoria, heading through Murrayville, Ouyen, Piangil and Tooleybuc with a comfort stop along the way and the opportunity to stretch our legs . We then continue on to Balranald, a pretty town on the Murrumbidgee River and our destination for today.

Our accommodation for this evening is at the Balranald Motor Inn (Ph: 03 5020 1104) where there will be time to get to know our fellow passengers over dinner.

Day Two – MONDAY 20 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Following a hearty breakfast we continue our journey east to the town of Hay, located at the intersection of the Sturt, Mid Western and Cobb Highways. Hay has always been an important centre for transport and communications. It was a port for the riverboats which plied these waters many years ago and was an important staging depot for Cobb and Co Coaches.

After morning tea, we travel through Goolgowi and Rankins Springs. These small towns are surrounded by land dedicated to wheat, oats, cattle and sheep, and we will stop to refresh and enjoy a light lunch.

Continuing along the highway, we pass through the town of West Wyalong. With gold being discovered here in the late 1890’s, it’s unique main street takes a windy route, originally built around gold diggings and tree stumps!

Our travels this afternoon take us to Cowra, a large wine producing region situated on the banks of the Lachlan River, where we will stay for the next three nights at the Countryman Motor Inn Cowra (Ph: 02 6342 3177).

Day Three – TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Cowra is probably most remembered for the largest Prisoner of War breakout in modern military history, which took place in August 1944. This dramatic event in the history of the district has led the town to focus on pacifism and internationalism. The World Peace Bell, Japanese Garden, Japanese cemetery, remnants of the POW camp and the Sakura Walk at cherry blossom time are all reminders of the town’s importance both during and after the war, as well as a benchmark of healing and reconciliation.

Our first stop this morning will be at the Cowra Visitor Information Centre. The Centre is also home to the POW Hologram Theatre, that tells the tragic story of the POW Breakout through the eyes of a young Cowra local. The theatre is housed in a small tin replica of a Nissen hut, used at the War Camp during World War II.

Following the presentation we can take time to look around the centre which is a one stop shop for local wine, produce and craft, as well as information. There is also the colourful Cowra Rose Garden that is situated at the front of the centre, containing over 800 rose bushes and 130 varieties including the Cowra Rose.

Following morning tea, we will be joined by a guide who will take us on a tour of the town so we can best appreciate what Cowra has to offer. As we visit the key sites our guide will share their knowledge of the history of the area and Cowra’s contribution to international understanding.

The award winning Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, was opened in 1979 and is a tangible monument to peace and reconciliation between the two countries. We will enjoy lunch in the Café, overlooking the lush surrounds, before spending time exploring the tranquility, beauty and colour of this exquisite garden. Created to symbolise the landscapes of Japan with rocky hills, cascading streams, manicured hedges and lakes, the garden also features an authentic open-air Tea house, Bonsai house and a cultural centre with an extensive collection of Japanese artwork and artefacts. There is also the opportunity to feed Koi carp from the viewing platforms that overlook the lakes.

This afternoon there will be time to explore the main street or head back to the motel to relax, before meeting again for another delicious dinner.

Day Four – WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Today we set out travelling east, towards the city of Bathurst, one of the oldest inland settlements in Australia. On the way, we will take the scenic route, detouring to the quaint village of Millthorpe. This heritage-listed town is a step back to the 1900’s with cobbled streets, verandahs adorned with cast iron balustrades, etched glass windows and unchanged 19th century buildings.

After leaving Milthorpe, we’ll stop at The Beekeepers Inn in Vittoria. Originally a bar, built in 1859, the building has a diverse history, including being the Cobb and Co horse changing station, a post office, telephone exchange, farm supply shop, mechanics and much, much more! The building was purchased by the Lockwood family in 2003 and was lovingly restored. Today it boasts a café, brewery, emporium, farm shop and plant nursery, and includes a live display of bees. We will have time to wander the premises, taste the delicious honey and enjoy our morning tea.

Arriving in Bathurst late morning, we visit Chifley Home which served as the only marital home of one of Australia’s most respected Prime Ministers, Ben Chifley and his wife, Elizabeth. The modest home contains original household furnishings and personal belongings of the family, including ceremonial gifts presented to Ben Chifley while serving in his roles as Commonwealth Treasurer and Prime Minister. There is also an Education Centre on site which features exhibitions and additional memorabilia.

Bathurst was proclaimed a town in 1815 with the discovery of gold. Located on the banks of the Macquarie River, it was surrounded by some of the most illustrious gold diggings in Australian history and today, it is one of Australia’s fastest growing regional cities. We will take some time to explore the town, taking in its heritage and beautiful autumn colours.

Following lunch in town we will visit a site for which Bathurst is probably most famous. Mount Panorama is home to a motor racing circuit which hosts the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar race held annually in October as well as a number of other racing events throughout the year. The 6.2 kilometre circuit is actually a public road, with normal speed restrictions when no racing events are being held. You can’t come to Bathurst without taking a drive around the track and we’ll stop en-route to take in some of the spectacular views offered around mountain.

As we journey back to Cowra, we take time to pass through the towns of Blayney and Carcoar. Both towns are located on the Belubula River and have a very rich history with well preserved architecture. In fact, the town of Carcoar has been classified by the National Trust due to its large number of 19th century buildings.

Arriving back in the late afternoon, there will be time to refresh before our last dinner together in Cowra.

Day Five – THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We depart Cowra this morning and head north towards Dubbo.

We will journey through the historic township of Canowindra, known for being the hot air balloon capital of Australia. While here, we may be lucky enough to see some of the balloons in flight as the town hosts the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge in April each year.

Continuing our journey we arrive in Orange mid-morning. The high altitude and rich volcanic soils from nearby Mount Canobolas make Orange the ideal location for food and wine production, a feature not missed by early settlers, who were drawn to the area for this reason. We will take some time to look around the city and enjoy some local produce before continuing our journey.

This afternoon we make our way to the regional centre of Dubbo, located on the Macquarie River at the junction of the Newell and Mitchell Highways. Known for its wheat and wool production, Dubbo has grown to be an important commercial and administrative centre for the Central West region.

Our home for the next two nights is at The Cattlemans Country Motor Inn (Ph: 02 6884 5222) and there will be plenty of time to unpack, relax and refresh before dinner.

Day Six – FRIDAY 24 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we visit the iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service. Having undergone some major expansions in 2019, the Dubbo base opened a new visitor experience to provide a more realistic understanding of how the RFDS works and how vital the service is to regional and remote communities. The interactive experience takes you into the world of the Flying Doctors, highlighting the resilience, resourcefulness and innovation of the heroic doctors, nurses, pilots and outback communities. The hands-on exhibits tell the unique story of the RFDS and its rich 90-year history, and include a decommissioned aircraft and vintage equipment, such as a pedal radio used to communicate in the past.

After morning tea in the Outback Trek Café we drive a short distance to the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol, located in the main shopping precinct of the town! Having operated for 119 years from 1847 to 1966, the heritage-listed gaol provides visitors an insight into the harshness of prison life and the penal system of the 1800s. While the buildings were remarkably complete and intact, it was the persistence of volunteers that retrieved many of the original artefacts and the gaol now houses important and rare collections, as well as a large display of high-tech and holographic exhibits.

A highlight of our visit to Dubbo is definitely the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, home to over 4000 animals. The zoo opened in 1977 and has developed a world-renowned reputation as a centre for the care of wildlife, including conservation and breeding programmes, especially for endangered species.

Our first stop will be for lunch at Bakhita’s Café, after which a guide will board our bus to provide an exclusive tour of the zoo and its inhabitants. As we travel around the six kilometres of road that meanders through the zoo, we will disembark from time to time to get a closer look at the animals. Grouped in five continental areas, the animals can be seen in large, open landscaped exhibits which use a system of moats and hidden fences to provide uninterrupted views of the animals. We have planned ample time to fully enjoy the zoo and its animals without needing to rush.

After a wonderful and diverse day, we drive back to Dubbo ready for another delicious dinner and the opportunity to reflect on all that we have seen and experienced.

Day Seven – SATURDAY 25 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we farewell Dubbo and depart for Parkes, named in honour of the father of Australia’s federation, Sir Henry Parkes who visited the town in the late 1800s.

Parkes is the home of the CSIRO’s Radio Telescope, more commonly known as ‘the Dish’. Set amid the paddocks and trees in a broad, shallow valley, the telescope shot to fame in the year 2000 with the release of the Australian film ‘The Dish’, which tells the story of its part in the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. It was one of the first telescopes to be built with a ‘moving dish’, which weighs 1000 tonnes— as much as two Boeing 747’s! Morning tea is served in the café at the telescope before we step into the Discovery Centre to learn more about the radio telescope, astronomy and the universe at large.

Continuing south-west we come to the township of Forbes, a gold-mining town with a colourful history including links to bushranger Ben Hall. The economy of Forbes these days, is centred around agriculture and we will stop here to enjoy a relaxed lunch in the local bakery or cafe.

Located at the crossroads of the Newell and Mid-Western Highways, we pause in West Wyalong to stretch our legs before the final part of today’s travel. Gold was discovered here in 1893 and the thriving rural centre now services the surrounding farmland where wheat, wool, pigs, eucalyptus oil and saw mills all fuel the local economy.

Our destination for tonight is Griffith, a thriving agricultural and industrial area which was proclaimed a city in 1987. We drive to our accommodation at the Kidman Wayside Inn (Ph: 02 6964 5666) where we have time to freshen up before dinner.

Day Eight – SUNDAY 26 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After breakfast we continue our journey towards home. Setting off westward we will arrive in the town of Hay once again to enjoy our morning tea and the opportunity to stretch our legs.

Refreshed, we continue across the Hay Plain, to Balranald where we will stop for lunch. Keep a look out for the frog sculptures as you drive through the town! They are to raise awareness of the endangered Southern Bell Frog which is known to live in the wetlands of the Balranald Shire.

This afternoon we can relax and enjoy the journey to Mildura, a regional city in north-western Victoria. It is located in the Sunraysia region, and is on the banks of the Murray River, a prominent feature of life here. Mildura is a major agricultural centre notable for its grape production, supplying about 80% of Victoria’s

grapes. Our final dinner and accommodation on this tour will be at the Best Western Chaffey Motor Inn, Mildura (Ph: 03 5023 5833).

Day Nine – MONDAY 27 APRIL 2020

(includes cooked breakfast and two course hot lunch)

After breakfast, we farewell our wonderful hosts and depart for South Australia. Once across the border we continue along the Sturt Highway and meet the Murray River again in Renmark where we stop to stretch our legs and enjoy morning tea.

From Renmark we journey through Monash and detour to the Goyder Highway towards Morgan, where we will enjoy our two course lunch. In the 1800’s Morgan was home to hundreds of paddle-steamers being one of South Australia’s busiest river ports.

Refreshed, our afternoon drive takes us along the edge of the Barossa Valley and Gawler, pausing along the way for a comfort stop before entering the suburbs of Adelaide.

Late afternoon we return everyone to their homes with memories of the diversity and hospitality of Central West New South Wales.