Out of town guide: Bathurst

Just above Sydney’s Blue Mountains, Bathurst is a three hour drive from the CBD. Well known for its university and Mt Panorama racecourse, the oldest settlement in the interior of New South Wales also has a thriving food and wine scene begging to be explored.

Here’s a guide to finding the best places in Bathurst to eat, drink, shop, and stay.

TO EAT

Webb & Co beverage store
Tucked under the stairs of the former Webb Chambers heritage building on George Street, award-winning bartender Jeremy Bali prepares delicious cocktails, while his partner Emma prepares wings, ribs and sliders in the kitchen area. The bar tasting trio of duck confit, maple and bourbon pork belly, and beef and blue cheese with cubed potatoes pair well with the range of craft beers on tap.

3 / 175–179 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6334 2176

Church bar
This bustling redeveloped church sits on Ribbon Gang Lane, so named after a group of bushrangers who caused trouble in the area in the early 1800s. Famous for its wood-fired pizzas, the Church Bar offers Stone & Wood, White Rabbit and Return of the Dread on tap. Its impressive cocktail list includes a Pavlova Martini and an Amazon Adventure Fish Bowl, which comes in a glass as big as your head. The pizzas are named after Bathurst Streets. There are simmered lamb shanks and feta; Portuguese chicken; marine crocodile with wild lime and ginger; and the Conrod (chicken marinated in a hot sauce) which comes with the warning: VERY HOT.

1 Ribbon Gang Lane, Bathurst
(02) 6334 2300

Cobbled alley restaurant
This relaxed Franco-Italian bistro shares the building with Webb & Co and tops the list of fine dining restaurants in the city. With a showcase full of awards, Cobblestone Lane is full of black-and-white clad waiters, serving up a rabbit terrine with Moreton Bay bugs and a grilled steakcock. Its wine list is the size of a phone book and pairs with dishes ranging from beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes to roast duck in basins of redcurrant juice.

173 George Street
(02) 6331 2202

Cream
When people line up across the road in freezing conditions, you know the coffee is good. Three cheerful baristas brew Campos coffees as fast as they can from that hole in the wall.

173 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6332 6357

by Maalouf
This authentic Lebanese restaurant will not leave a hole in your pocket. Lamb kofta and chicken platters are big winners, and be sure to try the sambousek and cabbage and feta rolls – lightly fried tubes of goodness. You can book in advance, but everything is available to take away and there is a nice park just up the road.

52 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6331 1477

The center
The Hub isn’t in the center of town, but it’s the heart of the action when it comes to weekend brunch. Owner Ross came to Bathurst from Scotland to study, met a girl, fell in love and now serves great food. It’s a tough decision between the Glasgow Salmon Potato Pancakes and the breakfast burrito with eggs, haloumi and spinach. It’s open all day and evening – sometimes you can listen to French gypsy jazz under the vines in the trellis courtyard.

52 Keppel Street, Bathurst
(02) 6332 1565

Legall Pastry Cafe
This pastry shop celebrates all things French and features shelves filled with macaroons, éclairs, fruit tarts, brioches and bread all baked daily by Frenchman Phillippe Le Gall. Get there early on the weekends as most of the treats are taken at lunchtime. Note: Sunday is Philippe’s day of rest.

56 Keppel Street, Bathurst
(02) 6331 5800

SEE / DO

Vale Creek wines
Take the scenic drive to Georges Plain and you’ll pass through some of the area’s cutest country villages, before arriving at Vale Creek Wines about 15 minutes outside of town. Ancient bluestone churches dot the hills around the vineyard, and its cellar produces a delicate range of Italian wines – four whites and four reds – that thrive in Bathurst’s cool climate.

438 Cow Flat Road, Georges Plains
(02) 6337 2011

Australian Museum of Fossils and Minerals
Home to the internationally renowned Sommerville Collection, this salvaged public school is now home to trilobites, crystals, fossils and dinosaur skeletons, including a life-size T-rex. Follow the history of Earth, from the Big Bang to the creation of the blue planet, and collect your own piece of the puzzle as you exit the gift shop.

224 Howick Street
(02) 6331 5511

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Boutique
The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery has long been a provider of fine culture with a knack for hosting some of Australia’s best traveling exhibitions. The Archibald and Art Express adorn the walls of the three main galleries each year, but it’s the impressive local artists and a permanent collection of Lloyd Rees that continue to be a draw.

70–78 Keppel Street
(02) 6333 6555

Abercrombie House
Abercrombie House is the heritage treasure of the Bathurst region and just minutes from the city on the Orange side road. Built in the 1870s by the Bathurst pioneers, the Stewart family, the Morgan family have spent the past 40 years restoring the grand mansion and surrounding areas to their original state. Take a self-guided tour or join the group at 11:15 a.m. and Mr. Morgan himself will take you on a one-hour journey through the trials and tribulations of this historic home and how it came to be his family home.

311 Ophir Road, Bathurst
(02) 6331 4929

STORE

Keppel Street
If you’re looking for a rural retail solution, walk down Keppel Street from Kings Park to the station. Pick up a take-out coffee and a treat from Al Dente, and slowly browse vintage and retro finds from The Naked Bud, Vinnies, and The Salvation Army, plus a wide range at Keppel Street Bookstore. If you’re looking for cooler finds, Goods & Chattels Antiques, the Dean Mobbs Gallery, and the Regional Art Gallery Store will have something for the empty wall at home. Indulge yourself at the classic Bathurst Barber or nibble on an award-winning pie at Carah’s Cakes & Pies – or be decadent and do both.

TO STAY

The House
The beautifully restored serviced apartments at La Maison Rue George are a beautiful slice of heritage. With off-street parking, fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas and a cottage garden, this is your home away from home with a historic touch. Right across from Kings Park, shops, restaurants, cinemas and bars are all within walking distance, and the resident herbalist can tell you more than just when the next yoga class starts around the corner.

219–221 George Street, Bathurst
0428 378 000

Domain of the Bishop’s Court
This luxurious boutique hotel is in fact a carefully restored mansion. Located on the outskirts of the city of South Bathurst, Bishop’s Court has seven beautiful guest rooms, featuring an assortment of attractions including an in-room marble spa, park views, patio balconies, French doors, antique works of art and a beautiful dining room with ceilings inside an old chapel. Available for the most decadent receptions, weddings, getaways or business meetings, this secluded and sprawling estate is the kind of accommodation option that just might keep you in bed.

226 Seymour Street, Bathurst
02 6332 4447

Lolomas
If peace and quiet in a luxurious setting you are looking for, this is the place. Lolomas is a five minute drive from the city and overlooks the Bathurst Hills. These serviced apartments have separate entrances and are furnished with luxurious beds and linens, and the heated swimming pool at your doorstep is ideal for swimming no matter the weather. The fridge is stocked with local goodies, and the welcome pack of local preserves, granola, and a freshly baked loaf of bread is a good signal for a lazy breakfast in bed.

90 Blue Ridge Drive, Bathurst
0428 690 113

This article is brought to you by Tourism in Central New South Wales.

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About John A. Provost

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