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Central West New South Wales
Mountain view - Central NSW Central West New South Wales encompasses the Central Tablelands area that lies between the Great Dividing Range and the vast, dry expanses of the outback. It is an area with a long past and many towns and villages have played a role in the history of the nation. Once the centre of the goldrush in New South Wales, today the area is a rich agricultural region, with crops ranging from cotton, grain, beef and lamb to grapes, citrus and stone fruit - winelovers and foodies are well catered for. It is also a mecca for astronomers with telescopes at Parkes and Coonabarabran.
How do I get there?
Dubbo is the service centre for the region and it can be reached by plane, car, coach or train. The city lies on the junction of the Newell, Mitchell and Golden Highways and is easily accessible from Sydney, Newcastle, Queensland and Victoria.
Where can I stay?
Let Travelmate help you with all your accommodation needs in the Central West region.
Climate
Summers in Central West New South Wales are hot and dry, while the winter months can be cool - and cold at night! Spring and autumn are generally the most pleasant times for a visit, with no extremes of temperature and bright, sunny weather.
What are the main towns and cities?
Dubbo, home of the Western Plains Zoo, is the regional centre. Bathurst, well known to motor sports enthusiasts, is the gateway to the region when approaching from the coast. On the slopes of Mt Canobolas, Orange is the birthplace of Banjo Paterson. Mudgee is the centre of a thriving wine industry. Young has its place in Australian history as the site of the notorious Lambing Flat riots in 1861. Cowra too has a past - it was the site of an attempted break-out from a nearby prisoner of war camp during World War II. Parkes is home to the Australia Telescope.
What's there to do?
If you are a bit of a revhead, you'll love Bathurst, where out of season you can take a drive around the famous circuit on Mt Panorama. This university city has many parks and historic buildings and Ben Chifley's cottage, Miss Traill's house and Abercrombie House are all open to the public.
Between Bathurst and Mudgee you travel through former gold mining country. A visit to Sofala or Hill End is like stepping back in time. Mudgee is the centre of a growing wine industry with cellar door tastings and sales. The area also prides itself on its locally made gourmet foods including honey, olive products, jams and preserves.
Dubbo lies on the banks of the Macquarie River. It is best known as the home of the Western Plains Zoo, the first zoo of its kind in Australia. Animals from all over the world are free to roam in their "cages without bars". You can drive around the access road to see the exhibits, but a fun way to see it all is to hire a golf cart or bicycle. Other things to see in Dubbo include Old Dubbo Gaol and historic Dundullimal homestead, or you might like to take a cruise on the Macquarie River.
Coonabarabran is the jumping off point for two important regional attractions. Warrumbungle National Park offers bushwalks through volcanic remains, while Siding Spring Observatory has a fascinating permanent display about space.
Parkes claims the title of "gateway to the stars" thanks to the radio telescope outside town. Made famous by the movie "The Dish", the visitor centre is well worth a visit. Nearby is Peak Hill which still has a working gold mine.
Noted as the place where bushranger Ben Hall was shot and killed, Forbes is a pleasant riverside town with many historical buildings, some lovely parks and a museum with Ben Hall artefacts.
Cowra has a turbulent past when prisoners of war in World War II attempted a breakout from a nearby POW camp. Now it has a growing reputation as a centre for fine wines and gourmet foods. The Japanese garden with its traditional teahouse is approached via a 5km avenue of flowering cherry trees.
In the heart of stone fruit orchards, Young was the site of the savage Lambing Flat riots in 1861. The Lambing Flat museum has the flag used by the rioters on display.
Known as "the balloon capital of Australia", Canowindra has almost perfect conditions for hot air ballooning and a mass of brightly coloured canopies makes a magnificent sight. The Age of Fishes museum includes important fossils found in the area. It is even possible to arrange your own fossil dig in the area.
Orange is a prosperous city set in fruit and wine country. Nearby are several old goldmining towns including Ophir and Lucknow. The trip to the top of Mt Canobolas will reward you with wide views over the district.
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