|Lithgow - Dubbo|
|Central West Explorer|
This itinerary, a continuation of the Sydney-Blue Mountains drive, takes in some of the Central West regionís most interesting towns, historic gold-mining sites, and plenty of tranquil rural scenery.
After travelling the Great Western Highway down the steep hill that marks the limit of the Blue Mountains, youíll arrive in the industrial town of Lithgow. At nearby Portland, call in at the Mount Piper Energy Expo - the interesting visitor centre of the high-tech Mount Piper Power Station.
Bathurst, founded in 1815, features elegant architecture, historic Abercrombie House and an excellent art gallery. Just out of town, at Mount Panorama, youíll see the venue for the famous October car races: racing fans should also visit the Motor Racing Hall of Fame. From here thereís a scenic side-trip to the historic mining villages of Sofala and Hill End, where visitors can still fossick for gold.
With its wide streets and parks, Orange is one of the regionís most attractive townships. There is an impressive regional art gallery and several wineries, and you should also drive out to 1395m Mount Canobolas. The Mitchell Highway then swings north to the rural centre of Wellington, most famous for its spectacular caves, which can be toured. This is also the access point for Burrendong State Recreation Area, with its lake and walking tracks. From Wellington, a detour to Mudgee is highly recommended - the drive is very scenic and there are some excellent wineries to visit.
The important regional centre of Dubbo offers historic buildings and many attractions: the most appealing is definitely the superb Western Plains Zoo - an open-range establishment that is home to native fauna and exotic creatures like elephants, rhinos, giraffes and a Bengal tiger.
Where to Stay
Time required: 2 days minimum: add an extra day if you intend to visit Mudgee