Road trip: Blue Mountains to Bathurst in a day

Mudgee streetscape Credit DNSW
Mudgee streetscape Credit DNSW

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5hr 28min | 435km
Foodie destination
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Take the scenic route over the stunning Blue Mountains through to the gastronome favourite Mudgee and Orange, before arriving at Australia's oldest settlement, Bathurst. Offering one packed day with treats for your tastebuds, aong the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop for bushwalks, visit spectacular limestone caves and, of course, savour fine food.

Hero image: Destination NSW

Stop 1: Visit a gallery 

Kick off your day with a little culture and make your first stop at Faulconbridge to visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum. One of Australia's most notorious artists, Lindsay is as famous for his canvases of cavorting nudes as for his much loved children's book, The Magic Pudding. The stone cottage where he lived for more than five decades, set amid beautiful gardens, is worth visiting in its own right, as well as for the rich collection of Lindsay's work that is on display.

Stop 2: Breakfast at Wentworth Falls

From here it's about 20 minutes to Wentworth Falls, where there are a number of good choices for a breakfast and a coffee including Bakery Patisserie Schwarz, with its huge range of sandwiches and strudels, and the Conservation Hut, where you can admire the panorama of rock formations while tucking into your meal. After lunch take an easy stroll to the Princes Rock Lookout for a view across the falls described by Charles Darwin as "exceedingly well worth visiting".

Just five minutes down the road, Leura is considered by many to be the Blue Mountains' most appealing village. Take a stroll along Leura Mall, lined with boutiques and galleries, and stop in at the 5ha Everglades Gardens, one of Australia's earliest landscaped gardens.

Blue mountains
Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains (Photo credit: Hamilton Lund; Destination NSW)
Stop 3: Take in breathtaking vistas at Katoomba
Follow the scenic clifftop drive to Katoomba, stopping at Echo Point to drink in the magnificent view across the mountains' most famous rock formation, the Three Sisters. From here, you have a choice of adventures. If you are reasonably fit, the Furber Steps Scenic Railway walking track is a good option. Expect to spend about two hours descending ever deeper into the valley, surrounded by calls of catbirds or wompa pigeons, before taking the easy route back to the top of the escarpment, either on the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway incline in the world, or the fully enclosed cabins of the Scenic Cableway.
Katoomba Sydney to Blue Mountains my nrma road trips
Katoomba (Photo credit: Destination NSW).
Stop 4: Take a long lunch at Mudgee
A couple of hours from Katoomba, stop by di Lusso Estate winery, a few minutes’ drive north of Mudgee, to enjoy a long lunch at an outdoor table, feasting on woodfired pizzas cooked in the outdoor oven, before engaging in a round of bocce. Or, head to Mudgee’s Moothi Estate for a Ploughman’s Lunch Platter on the hilltop patio overlooking a valley of vines, with the owners’ dog Barney by your side. You can also dine on seasonal produce at Cellar by Gilbert. Visit on a Saturday for the “Food Over Fire” communal table lunch.

Stop 5: Quench your thirst at Orange

With full and happy tummies, it's two hours to the town of Orange, which enchants visitors with its heritage buildings and vibrant food and wine scene. If you're ready for a coffee, try Byng Street Local Store, Nimrods or The Agrestic Grocer, which also sells some of the area's best local produce.

Alternatively, you may want to head straight for one of the area's acclaimed cellar doors. Philip Shaw Wines, Ross Hill Wines and De Salis Wines are all recommended. You can also sample a range of local drops at one of Orange's inviting wine bars, such as the heritage listed Union Bank Wine Bar. For dinner, the hot picks include Lolli Redini (try their twice baked gruyere cheese souffle) and Racine. Both restaurants are deservedly popular, so it's wise to reserve a table in advance.

Sydney to Blue Mountains Sydney to Blue Mountains my nrma road trips
Blue Mountains (Photo credit: Destination NSW)
Stop 6: Stay at Bathurst and explore

NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park is a great base for exploring the Central West - it's less than an hours' drive from Orange. Choose from one or two bedroom cabins or a range of caravanning and camping sites. There's a pool, a giant jumping pillow, a playground, plus kitchen and barbecue facilities.

The following morning you'll no doubt want to explore Australia's oldest settlement. History buffs should head to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, which has the internationally renowned Somerville Collection on display, which includes not just a dazzling selection of brilliantly coloured gems and minerals but also an astonishing collection of fossils, including fossilised dinosaur eggs and opalised fossils found only in Australia. The highlight of the collection is Australia's only Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

For the peckish, the Victorian buildings lining the town's streets have some enticing options for lunch. Enjoy excellent pizza at Church Bar + Woodfired Pizza or tuck into salads and southern barbecue at B Town BBQ at The Oxford Hotel. Beer fans may want to make a stop at boutique beer company Two Heads Brewing.

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