Why This Under-the-Radar NSW Holiday Destination Is Trending Right Now


Chris Hemsworth is a proven crowd-magnet both on-screen in the Thor and Avengers movies and off-screen as one of Tourism Australia’s ambassadors. So, it makes sense then that another destination would want to claim him as their spokesperson, too.

In a bid to help recover from drought and the lack of tourism caused by COVID, the country town of Cowra — population roughly: 13,000 — has launched an online campaign called ‘Get Chris to Cowra’. And it worked.

This week, Hemsworth shared one of the clips from the campaign to his Instagram, writing, “Big love to all the folks in Cowra for this amazing campaign, warmed my heart and made me smile! I’m off shooting a film overseas soon but upon return next year I’m comin in hot!!”.

Image: Destination NSW

“Like many regional towns around Australia, Cowra has suffered from a lack of tourism due to COVID-19 pandemic. So, when things open up be sure to check out all the amazing places Australia has to offer!”

So, ahead of Hemsworth’s visit, we decided to shine the spotlight on Cowra. How you can get there, what there is to do there and where to eat and stay — here’s everything you need to know about Cowra.

Why Visit Cowra?

So, firstly, some background on Cowra. A country town in the beautiful Lachlan Valley, a 4.5-hour drive from Sydney, Cowra is surrounded by vineyards, waterways and pretty countryside. It’s home to fascinating historical buildings and military history, as well as tranquil gardens and an exciting emerging wine region.

How to Get to Cowra

Cowra is just over four hours’ drive west of Sydney, via the Blue Mountains. You can fly into Orange Regional Airport, a one hour and 15min drive away. You’ll find plenty of great accommodation options in town, including motels, apartments, farm stays, B&Bs and holiday parks.

What to Do in Cowra

Explore Cowra Wine Region, an up-and-coming wine region that was first planted with vines in the 1970s and is now home to 40 wineries across the historic towns and villages of Cowra, Grenfell, Billimari and Canowindra. The region is especially known for producing good chardonnay, thanks to its sunny, warm days, cool nights and late summers.

Join Ideal Tours on a winery adventure or visit cellar doors directly. Top brands of the region include Windowrie Estate, Pig in the HouseRosnay Organic, Wallington Wines, Toms Waterhole Wines and Kalari Wines.

Image: Destination NSW

Check out the picturesque Canola Trail and the tantalising array of food and wine experiences, spectacular landscapes and exciting and award-winning attractions spanning the Riverina’s Coolamon, Junee and Temora shires.

Explore five hectares of beauty, history and tranquillity at multi-award winning Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, the steam trains at Lachlan Valley Railway or a range of regional, state and national touring works at Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

Get cultured at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, appreciate the Indigenous Art Murals on the Cowra Bridge Pylons beneath the Lachlan River, or experience gold rush and wartime history on the Cowra Heritage Walk, including Australia’s World Peace Bell.

See the stars like never before at Darbys Falls Observatory. Take a hike through stunning National Parks including Conimbla National Park, Goobang National Park, Nangar National Park and Weddin Mountains National Park. Or a tour of Ochre Arch Farm, an eco-agricultural farm producing beef and wool.

Celebrate the arrival of spring at the Cherry Blossom Festival and enjoy traditional Japanese cultural performances.

Pick up fresh produce, meat, baked goods, wine and more at the Cowra Community Markets on the third Saturday of the month.

Visit the neighbouring and historic village of Grenfell, a gold mining town home to stunning silo art and one of Australia’s iconic ‘big things’ — the Big Gold Pick and Pan.

Where to Eat in Cowra

Sample tasty cafes such as Café Ruze, Circa 1935, Finn’s Old Store and Stoke House Teapots Café.

Country pubs here, including the Imperial Hotel, Railway Hotel and the Albion Hotel, are known and loved for serving up hearty meals.

Must-visit restaurants include The Quarry Restaurant, set among the vines, Peregrines Brasserie at Cowra Services Club, Wyangala Country Club.

Where to Stay in Cowra

Self-contained boutique accommodation and B&Bs, such as ‘The Shed’ at Rustic Farm Stay ‘Paradise’ Cottage, Keswick Cottage, Marlow House, Circa 935 Guesthouse and Cowra Cottage.

Image: Destination NSW

Motels and hotels include Vineyard Motel, Breakout Motel, Imperial Hotel Cowra, Country Gardens Motor Inn, and DCs Madra, set on a small hobby farm.

If you’re looking to camp or caravan, head to Reflections Holiday Parks Wyangala Waters and Cowra Holiday Park.

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