8 Places That Prove Bathurst, NSW Is More Than Just a Town to Pass Through

rockley pub bathurst nsw

The gates to the great food and wine regions of NSW’s Central West are guarded by the town of Bathurst. Most know it as Australia’s first Gold Rush town, a gathering place for Supercars fans or just a suburb you drive through to get to Mudgee, Dubbo or Orange.

But according to born-and-bred Bathurst local and deputy mayor Benjamin Fry, the place once seen as “a leapfrog town, where you stop off for an hour or two” is “starting to get its legs”.

If you know where to look, you’ll find Bathurst is home to historical museums, romantic accommodation spots, up-and-coming wineries and distilleries and a budding food scene with influences from Australia’s best restaurants.

Ahead, you’ll find Fry’s recommendations for the best things to do in Bathurst mixed in with haunts we’ve ventured to ourselves. Here are the places to visit in Bathurst that are making it what Fry calls, “the dark horse of regional New South Wales”:

Things to Do In Bathurst, NSW

Share a schnitty at Matt Moran’s Rockley Pub


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A 30-minute drive from Bathurst’s city centre is the country town of Rockley and take it from the deputy mayor, “The drive is stunning.” Here you’ll find a pub purchased by Aussie-favourite chef, Matt Moran. The establishment acts as the town’s centrepiece with plenty of quaint shops and 19th-century architecture surrounding it.

Stay at Rest Private Escape eco-villa on BoxGrove Farm

Bathurst Accomodation (1) what to do in bathurst
Image: Angeline Barion

Bathurst can give you a chance for romance. This cosy, solar powered villa sleeps up to three people and encourages visitors to sink into rural living. Soak up some bubbles in the outdoor bath. Pick up some fresh eggs from the chook house. Take a walk through the paddocks. Design your farm life fantasies around the quiet of Rest Private Escape at BoxGrove Farm.

Indulge in platefuls of Australian-Italian fusion at Bootleg Dining

This Italian-Australian fusion restaurant is elevating the food scene and places to visit in Bathurst. Bootleg Dining opened up at the end of 2023 and has already received raving reviews about its squid ink pasta. Fry even described it as his favourite restaurant of the moment.

“[Bootleg ‘s] fairly new but just opened up on the second floor of one of the oldest buildings in the city,” he mentioned. “You get this kind of heritage experience looking over the main park while you’re eating modern Australian food that’s curated by an ex-Michelin star trained team. So it’s a really special spot.”

Sip, swirl and study the art of wine making at Renzaglia Wines

Created with three generations of wine making experience, this secluded vineyard is responsible for some of Australia’s best drops. Their award winning bottles can be found in popular Sydney restaurants like Quay and Firedoor.

Renzaglia Wines is open to the public by appointment only. To indulge in some of Bathurst’s finest wines, inquire with your accommodation reception.

Take in the sights, sounds and adrenaline of the Bridle Track

“You’re basically in some of the most remote parts of New South Wales instantly, within a 45-minute drive, and you feel like you’re nowhere near a major city,” Fry mentions of the Hill End’s Bridle Track.

You think you’re out in the bush lost, but it’s a celebrated four-wheel drive track. But, if you’re lucky enough to come out here during the week. It’s deserted and has so much wilderness, history and connection to country that you can’t experience anywhere else in this state.”

Knock back a gin-tasting flight at Bathurst Grange Distillery

Looking for a new favourite brand of spirits? Step inside the family-owned and operated Bathurst Grange Distillery. “Good for an afternoon tasting session”, Ben raves and lovely for a conversation with friends during the weekend.

Owner Nick Jones is an ex-corporate professional who traded agency briefs for juniper berries and hasn’t looked back since. There are stories of his family weaved into their spirit-making process and the explanations about Grange’s intentional bottling process are fascinating. The Rose Garden gin and tonic is a must-try.

Tear through a town-wide meat pie tour

Country towns and regional areas are known and loved for their delicious meat pies. One of the best things to do in Bathurst is to visit pie shops across the city centre. You’ll be surprised to find that each bakery does it differently.

Bernard’s Bakery has a flaky pastry with a moreish, meaty filling that will leave you wanting seconds. Carrah’s Cakes & Pies has a massive selection of goodies from pies and focaccia sandwiches to not-too-sweet caramel slices and eclairs. Not to mention, their meat pies have a good meat-to-sauce ratio.

And lastly, a regular stomping ground for tourists and locals alike, Harvest Cafe’s pie filling is rich which tomato flavours to give you a spaghetti bolognese crossover.

Step back in time through Bathurst’s history at Abercrombie House

abercrombie house - what to do in bathurst
Image: Angeline Barion

Head to the grounds of Abercrombie House — an 1870s mansion with 50 bedrooms and a stack of history. You’ll be greeted by classic English cars at the entrance before you walk through the grounds. For a small fee, starting from $5, you can explore the inside of the home and the historic gardens.

If you’re looking to sit down and have a spot of refreshments, you can join in on the regular high teas hosted at the house. There’s also an opportunity to give yourself a fright at the Abercrombie House night tours. Each of these activities happens on multiple occasions throughout the year.

Related: Recharge and Reconnect With Nature at This Off-Grid Stay in Bathurst

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