Bathurst (New South Wales)Bathurst is a city in the Central West area of the Australian state of New South Wales, some 200 km west of Sydney.
Founded in 1815 as the first inland European settlement on the Australian continent, Bathurst quickly became expanding regional centre. During the first wave of the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, it became a wealthy town. Today it is a modern rural city, with good visitor facilities. Walking down the main street you may be mistaken for thinking you're in a urban centre.
Bathurst still plays off its history and gold rush heritage to attract visitors.
Being inland of the ranges, Bathurst has greater temperature extremes than the coast. Summer days can be very hot, and there can be an occasional day of snowfall in winter. Bathurst also has areas of colourful leaves and flowers in the autumn and spring.
By carBathurst is approximately three hours drive west of Sydney. Cross the Blue Mountains on either the Great Western Highway from the Penrith area or the Bells Line of Road from the Windsor area. On the other side of the mountains, follow the Great Western Highway from Lithgow to Bathurst.
The road between Lithgow and Bathurst is straight and quick, however expect significant traffic delays when crossing the Blue Mountains away from Sydney on a Friday afternoon or returning to Sydney at the end of a weekend.
By train and bus
- NSW Trainlink XPT. Bathurst is a stop on the Daily XPT Service from Sydney to Dubbo. The cost will be around $70 return, but the service allows a full day to visit Bathurst. Arriving Bathurst early morning and departing late afternoon. You must book this ticket online with NSW Trainlink before travelling.
- NSW Trainlink Bathurst Bullet (Unbooked). The Bathurst Bullet is an unbooked service that leaves Bathurst for Sydney early morning, and returns to Bathurst late at night. Its primary purpose is to give Bathurst residents access to a day in Sydney. This train accepts Opal, so the most you'll pay is $8.50 each way. Less if you have other Opal discounts.
- NSW Trainlink Lithgow Train and Coach. There is a NSW Trainlink coach that meets the Lithgow train. You'll find the timetable on the Sydney trains website. You have two choices with this service. You can use Opal all the way, and ring NSW Trainlink to reserve a seat on the coach for no additional charge on 13 22 32, and pay the Opal fare (always less than $8.50), or you can book the service online for $8.80. This is an identical service no matter which way you use it. Your seat is reserved on the coach, and unreserved on the train in any event. You'll simply pay more if you use the NSW Trainlink website to book.
Bathurst AirportRex offers several flights from Sydney to Bathurst Airport daily. You can pre-book a rental car at the terminal, or take a taxi for around $25. Australia Wide Coaches have daily connections to Sydney airport.
Australia Wide Coaches or Sydney Transport Group have an express service from Bathurst to the Sydney City and on to Sydney airport every morning, and return in the afternoon. Price is less than the booked regional train service, but more than unbooked intercity train service.
By footMost attractions are within five or six blocks of the Bathurst train station.
Bathurst Buslines offers are extensive service to Bathurst and surrounding area. Monday to Friday it offers a useful service. Saturday is limited, and Sunday there is no service. You pay your fare on boarding, and the services do not accept Opal. The most useful route for tourists is route 526 that operates in the central business district. This bus stops at the train station, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, at the base of Mount Panorama, and some hotels and restaurants.
The Bathurst visitors information has three self-guided walking tours available to explore the history of Bathurst.
- Holy Trinity Church, Kelso - the first inland church in Australia, built to serve the Anglican parish of Kelso that was founded in 1825. It was the first Australian church consecrated by a bishop and is built on a hill overlooking Bathurst, surrounded by an historical cemetery. Gilmour Street, Kelso, NSW 2795. Phone (02) 6332 4606. Opening Times: Sundays 1:30PM - 4PM or by arrangement.
address: 224 Howick StM-Sa 10AM - 4PM, Su 10AM - 2PM. The museum is home to the Sommerville Collection with approximately 2000 fossil and mineral specimens on display. Temporary exhibitions are also featured. On display is Australia's only complete T-Rex skeleton but don't be fooled it is only a cast.
address: 70-78 Keppel StTu-Sa 10AM - 5PM, Sundays and public holidays 11AM - 2PM. Monday by appointment only. The gallery has a range of Australian art from 1955 onwards as well as other exhibitions that are traveling through.
address: Murray's Corner, at the foot of Mount PanoramaThe National Motor Racing Museum showcases an impressive array of motorcycle and car racing memorabilia from all over the country.
- The Bathurst 1000. The Bathurst 1000 is an annual 1000km motor race for touring cars in the Supercars Championship, held once a year in October at Mount Panorama just outside Bathurst. The weekend of the Bathurst 1000 attracts Bathurst's largest contingent of visitors.
- Bathurst Show
Drive around Mount Panorama race courseThe road is open to public vehicles when there aren't races on. Note that the speed limit on the mountain is 60km/h and it is strictly enforced: police set up radar traps regularly. Good views of Bathurst can be had from McPhillamy Park on Mount Panorama.
phone: +61 2 6331 5798
Charles Sturt University has a Bathurst campus in Panorama Avenue in the south of Bathurst. ph 6338 4000. Its B Arts (Communications) degrees in theatre, journalism, advertising and public relations among others are particularly well regarded.
Zieglers Cafeaddress: 52 Keppel StThis cafe does well prepared modern dishes, some of the desserts in particular are excellent. The best thing about it is the atmosphere though: nicely lit at night it's a haven against some of Bathurst's colder nights, and at lunch time you can sit in dappled light under the grapevine leaves outside.
phone: +61 2 6331 2202address: 173 George StModern and fancy Australian cuisine in a heritage-listed building that was built in the 1860s.
phone: +61 2 6338 1888address: 1 Conrod StraightMTrackside at Mount Panorama V8 raceway. 118 rooms with views of Conrod Straight and Caltex Chase
The weekend of the Bathurst 1000 is risky time to be driving in the area: the fans are keen to emulate their heroes, and reckless driving is much more common than at other times.
The second large town in the area, Orange, is only half an hours drive west on the Mitchell Highway, and several bus services run between the two every day.
The interesting historical gold mining towns of Sofala and Hill End are about an hours drive away if you want to try your luck panning for gold.
Abercrombie Caves offer a less crowded alternative to the more famous Jenolan caves. Cave tours are available (as well as a self-guided tour). The route via Abercrombie is a scenic route to Canberra and the Southern Highlands.