Drive BathurstIf you are in the Sydney area and are looking for somewhere else to visit, the city of Bathurst is only 200kms away.
The drive between the two will take you through Blue Mountains National Park, with some of the best scenery in New South Wales, so make sure you stop off and check it out. If you can, take a detour to Katoomba and visit Echo Point Lookout which offers a great view of the 3 Sisters formation.
Bathurst is Australia's oldest inland settlement, and the site of the first discovery of gold. Now, it is most famous for it's association with motorsport, namely the Bathurst 1000 race for v8 supercars held in October each year. Races are held on the Mount Panorama Track, which is actually a public road- one of the main attractions of Bathurst is the opportunity to drive this famous road. Yes, you can take your campervan on it- and yes, there is a strictly enforced speed limit!
There is quite a bit of history in Bathurst and the surrounding area- much of it relating to the Gold Rush, which started in 1851 when payable gold was found near the city, after 30 years of sporadic finds in the country. This turned the country and especially New South Wales into a magnet for adventurers and migrants, and Australia's population boomed.
The Bathurst Goldfields is a centre for education and tourism relating to gold. There are tours, examples of life on a 19th century goldfield and you can even pan for real gold! You can try your luck in a river if you like, but don't hold your breath and be aware that some places may require a license.
Another attraction are the Abercrombie Caves, which boast the largest natural arch in the southern hemisphere. A Dance platform was built in the caves for the gold miners in 1880, and you can take a tour of the caves to see this and other subterranean wonders.
Once worn out from driving Mount Panorama and panning for gold, try the Bathurst Panorama Big 4 Holiday Park, or a National Park campground if you want to go further afield- Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve isn't too far away.
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Author: Doug Brown+