LAKEHOUSE eateries, picnics under the gum trees or swimming in waterholes, lakes, dams and rivers – Central NSW offers all this and much more.
Bathurst’s main water supply, Chifley Dam, is also a favourite for camping, swimming, sailing, jetskiing and waterskiing.
If you prefer to stay in more comfort, you can enjoy the facilities at Chifley
Dam Cabins with its boat ramps, safe swimming areas, playground with flying fox and rock-climbing walls.
Along the Wolgan River, Newnes Hotel Cabins and Camping offers a range of cabins to suit families and groups, as well as unpowered camping sites.
Just outside Lithgow you’ll find the Turon River, which boasts several free camping sites including The Diggings and Woolshed Flat campgrounds. While you’re there, why not try trout fishing or simply cool down in the crystal clear water.
Dunns Swamp is a hidden oasis surrounded by beautiful sandstone pagoda rock formations on the fringes of the Wollemi National Park.
A popular camping, swimming, canoeing and picnic area, it boasts a spectacular biodiversity of plant and animal life and a network of walking tracks, including one suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.
Putta Bucca Wetlands, a public recreation area north of Mudgee, has walking tracks and newly built bird hides and is ideal for a day out.
Known as Duck Park by the locals, Mudgee Sculpture Walk at Lawson Park is home to some wonderful artworks along a cool river walk. It’s a great spot for a picnic... and there’s a play equipment if you have the grandchildren in tow.
Another top picnic spot is The Drip, a towering sandstone cliff face where
the water from surrounding hillsides seeps down and steadily drips into the pools below. It’s a favourite with locals on hot days.
South of Rylstone on the Cudgegong River, Windamere Dam is popular for watersport and fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers, bushwalkers, campers and picnickers.
If you prefer more remote spots, Big River campground in Goulburn River National Park is off the beaten track with waterholes for swimming and sandstone caves to explore.
Feeling hungry? How about a lazy lunch or tasty breakfast at The Lakehouse on the banks of Lake Canobolas in Orange.
For somewhere to stay, try Wyangala DamInland Waters Holiday Park, which offers a great set-up for families, with children’s playground, volleyball court and walking and mountain bike tracks for people of all fitness levels. You can spot kangaroos by the dam, wet a line, or paddle by the foreshore.
In Forbes, you can picnic by the riverbank, meander the 9km walking or cycling path, and from the centre of town follow the Somewhere down the Lachlan sculpture trail. At the nearby Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary you’ll find more than 150 bird species.
Condobolin’s Gum Bend Lake is a top barbecue spot with playground, dedicated swimming area and boat ramp. There is free camping with hot water facilities.
While in town, check out the Utes in Paddock display featuring almost two dozen Holden utes transformed into creative outdoor sculptures.
Lake Cargelligo, 200km west of Parkes, is a haven for twitchers. You can hire binoculars and a field guide from the Visitor Information Centre and test your spotting skills at the many bird sanctuaries. Look for black swans, the great crested grebe, black cockatoos and bower birds.
In Parkes other good waterside spots are Bumberry Dam (fishing, canoeing, swimming and camping) and Bogan Weir, original source of the town’s water supply.
Anyone headed to Wellington should visit Lake Burrendong Sport and Recreation Centre – 67 hectares of gorgeous lake. You can fish for yabbies and Murray cod or take a daytrip to Wellington Caves.
If you go...
CENTRAL NSW, which begins 2.5 hours from Sydney, includes the towns of Bathurst, Orange, Mudgee, Cowra, Canowindra, Grenfell, Parkes and Forbes.