Perched on the western slopes of the Blue Mountains, about 20km or so north-west of Lithgow, Portland is fringed beautiful countryside which belies its industrial heritage as a major producer of coal and, more recently, electricity from the Mt Piper Power Station.
The station's information centre, The Energy Expo, which presents high-tech interactive displays, is set in landscaped grounds with electric barbecues and other picnic amenities, tennis courts and a regular kangaroo escort.
If you like to combine a picnic and bushwalking, the Williewa Creek reserve leads to trails through the town common, while the Charlie Pinch Museum collection presents a wide range of memorabilia.
Nearby Sunny Corner, 15km to the south-west, is an interesting old gold mining town which supported about 15 crushing machines at the peak of the rush. The discovery of silver and opening of the Winterton mine in 1881 led to the establishment of the first silver-smelting plant in NSW at Sunny Corner in 1884.
One of the great attractions of this area is the spectacular Zig Zag railway, built just to the east of Lithgow in 1869 and still considered a marvellous feat of engineering. The restored line crosses three viaducts and offers magnificent scenic views.