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The name of the game in Cowra is relaxation. Surrounded by nature and regional hotspots, Cowra is a burgeoning tourist destination that will see you returning for a second time. It’s a small but beautiful town, full of retail, wine, food and more. Cowra is around a 4-hour drive west from Sydney, through the Blue Mountains. There are so many national parks within driving distance of Cowra you will be spoilt for choice. Conimbla, Goobang, Nangar and Weddin Mountains national parks are all just a short distance away, each offering unique activities.
The Cowra region is also known for its delicious food and wine, with many vineyards offering tours and cellar door experiences. Go straight to the source with a tour or to one of the many restaurants and pubs serving the local produce. There are more than 30 vineyards in the region known for organic and biodynamic wines. Take a tour of Kalari wines, located just a few minutes’ drive outside Cowra downtown on the banks of the Lachlan River. From Rosé, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Verdelho and dessert wine, these incredible organic wines have won awards and more than a few fans.
If you are a military history buff, you might have heard the name Cowra before. Cowra was home to the largest prisoner of war breakout in military history when 1,000 Japanese soldiers brandishing make-shift weapons attempted a final stand. In the ensuing conflict, 234 prisoners died, 107 were wounded, and 5 Australian soldiers were killed. But from the conflict has come peace, with a special connection between the people of Cowra and the nation of Japan, seen at the POW campsite and at the Cowra Japanese Gardens. More than 80 years on, the story of this point in military history is told through the visitor information centre. The Cowra POW campsite is just a short 5-minute drive in your rental car from Cowra downtown.
The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre is the largest Japanese garden in the southern hemisphere. Stretching across five hectares, this garden stands as a symbol of peace between Australia and Japan. See demonstrations and workshops of Japanese crafts, including calligraphy, origami and Ikebana. The best time to visit the garden is during spring, coinciding with the Sakura Matsuri festival. At the festival, you will see these craft demonstrations as well as an insight into other Japanese customs. If you are looking to enjoy the ever-popular cherry blossom tree in its flowering state, then come to the garden from September to October.
Visit one of the national parks that surround Cowra. Each of the Conimbla, Goobang, Nangar and Weddin Mountains national parks are worth visiting. See native Australian animals, including kangaroos and wallabies, as well as hundreds of species of bird. There are many walks in each, with fantastic views not far from the car park. You can see caves, mountains, sweeping valleys, trickling waterfalls and ancient trees. These parks serve as the perfect way to get away from it all and be left with nothing but peace and quiet.
Cowra is home to many boutique shops, galleries and attractions. But one of the best ways to enjoy Cowra is through its food. Cowra is home to a wide range of restaurants, from fine dining to casual pub meals. Many of the restaurants have been featured in food and wine magazines and websites. You won’t have to eat at the same place twice in Cowra during your visit!