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Bathurst sits around 200 kilometres west of Sydney, past the Blue Mountains National Park, roughly a 3-hour journey by car. If you plan the road trip from or to Sydney and Bathurst, The Blue Mountains National Park is well worth stopping off at for an afternoon or a weekend. The World Heritage-listed park is home to waterfalls, historic walking trails, camping sites, and Aboriginal culture. The park covers more than 260,000 hectares. It really is like stepping into an untouched paradise and, if you are in a hurry, you can see it quickly too. The Scenic Railway in Katoomba, one of the park's most popular regions, is the world's steepest railway and runs through the valley from above, giving breathtaking views. The gondola cars provide the full experience from the cliff tops 270 metres in the air, right down into Jamison Valley.
Bathurst, most famous for its motor racing circuit, is also full of fun attractions and places to drive, with museums, heritage sites, caves, parks and nature reserves all within a short distance of the Bathurst Airport. Bathurst also has a range of dining, from casual pub meals to high-quality fine dining. Or, if you are staying in an apartment with a kitchen, purchase fresh produce at the Bathurst Farmer's market, held monthly. Why not double a heritage tour with a food tour, with many pubs and restaurants also doubling as heritage sites. Bathurst is the oldest inland settlement in Australia, and offers some fantastic heritage buildings to tour. As the site of the first gold rush in Australia, Bathurst was quickly developed with an influx of mining wealth after its establishment in 1814.
Bathurst is overflowing with history and historical sites. Many of the buildings have since been repurposed, old post offices and hotels have become restaurants and pubs. If you are planning a self-driving tour in your rental car, start with The Town Square. The building, completed in 1833, is home to a single church in its centre, once attached to the historic Bathurst Gaol. Park your car at the start of George Street and walk along; you will see distinct art deco buildings on one side and the gold rush era buildings on the other. Through the middle of the street, the ornate cast-iron lamps are still in use, having been installed in 1872. Keppel Street is the artistic hub of Bathurst, with the library, Bathurst Regional Gallery and other shops and cafes lining its street. Next, drive to Abercrombie House; the grand Scottish mansion is just 10 minutes west of Bathurst by car. The parks located within Bathurst are also heritage, walk through Victorian Park or Machattie Park to see the fountains, old trees and walking trails that make it a local favourite.
Bathurst is surrounded by nature and walking trails. Walk the grounds of Abercrombie House; the house is ranked in the top 3 tourist attractions in the Bathurst area. With a home museum and immaculately curated gardens and paths, it's a lovely heritage experience. Take the heritage Mount Gray Walking Track, the same bushland that prospective gold miners walked in the 1800s. You can see the earthworks around the track from when the area was surveyed for gold. Next, follow the walk down to the Grove Creek Falls, which feature a lookout to watch the falls on their 70 metre plummet.
There are other walking tracks available, as well as hiking and some scenic drives around the area. Make sure you plan your car hire journey to get the most out of your stay in Bathurst.