Bathurst – Ben Chifley Home
Welcome to your Historic Bathurst Explorer. Departing Sydney on the Central West XPT in First Class seats. Sit back, relaxing and enjoying the scenery as you are whisked away over the Blue Mountains through to the Bathurst. Australia’s oldest inland settlement, the site of the first gold discovery and where the first gold rush occurred in Australia.
On arrival you will be met by your local guide from Bathurst One Day Tours. Who will transfer you to Historic Keppel Street for an early lunch (own expense) prior to commencing the tour. Your first visit is a guided tour of Ben Chifley’s home to Discover the life of one of Australia’s great Prime Ministers and the challenges of the 1940’s in a World War II house museum. After Ben Chifley’s home you will be taken a fascinating historical town square walking tour. This provides an insight into old Bathurst dating back to the 1820’s. You’ll have with access to some buildings which are normally not open to the public. Your walking tour will end at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum.
Situated in the heart of Bathurst, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum is the home of the internationally renowned Somerville Collection. It is housed in the 1876 Public School building which underwent major refurbishment to house the world renown and stunningly beautiful exhibitions of Warren Somerville. Close to 2000 fossil and mineral specimens are displayed in two main exhibitions – the MasterFoods Fossil Gallery and the Minerals Gallery. At the completion of your touring you will be transferred to your centrally located motel. The motel has its own bistro and is only a short walk from restaurants & hotels.
Today your destination is Mayfield Gardens but there will be a couple of interesting stops along the way. The first being village of Perthville, admiring the old Perthville Pub and seeing where Bush Ranger Ben Hall held up the Hen and Chicken Inn. After a short talk on the history of Perthville you head to Ben Chifley Dam (Bathurst’s main water supply) take in the views while enjoying morning tea. On leaving the dam heading to Mayfield Gardens you will pass through the back roads back to the locality of O’Connell. Passing through the War Memorial Avenue of trees on the way to Mayfield Garden.
Mayfield Garden currently extends over 36 acres and includes a water and stone feature garden, blue-stone bridge, iron and stone arbour, a copper tree fountain, obelisk pond and allee of London Plane trees, Valley of the Five Ponds, Venus Vale, The Gallery and much more. This cool climate garden is amazing in all seasons from the water lillies in bloom in Summer, the colourful foliage of Autumn, the raw structure of trees on show in wintertime and the lush growth and heady scents of Spring. Mayfield Garden eclipses anything else in the Southern hemisphere and is completely privately owned and maintained. Your guide will give you a tour of the garden before giving you free time to have some lunch (own expense) from the Mayfield café and exploring the garden. There are simply no adequate words to accurately describe Mayfield Garden. It is simply stunning.
Sofala – Hill End
Leaving Bathurst, we first stop in to Sofala; the oldest surviving gold mining town in Australia. Still a thriving village nestled in a deep valley along the Turon River, you’ll see how life was nearly 150 years ago and how it hasn’t changed much since. We stop for morning tea coffee / tea and cake on the banks of the Turon River. As we reach the town of Hill End, we stop in at History Hill. This is an amazing life’s work by Malcolm Drinkwater who has collected and documented the gold mining history of Hill End in amazing detail. This collection has to be seen to be believed. There will be free time for Lunch (own expense) in Hill End at either the historic Royal Hotel or the Hill End Lodge.
After lunch we enjoy a tour of the old town, with remaining buildings such as the Royal Hotel and other buildings presenting themselves much the same as they were when first settled. After the tour we say farewell to Hill End and travel back to Bathurst via the Turondale road. This beautiful drive winds its way through the hills and valleys.
Cowra – Japanese Gardens
Leaving Bathurst we pass through the small rural community of Blayney, we have a brief visit to the Central West Livestock Exchange. This amazing state of the art cattle selling facility is world class in its approach to animal welfare and handling methods. We may even be luck to see a sale in progress. Next we head to Carcoar for morning tea and a short tour of this historic town. We learn about its history; Churches, the old hospital, the town centre and museum. On arrival at Cowra we first stop into the Cowra Visitors Centre to experience the amazing hologram movie of Japanese war cemetery and concentration camp. (requires a Gold Coin Donation). Also at the Cowra Visitors Centre is a large rose garden.
Free time for lunch in the cafe (own expense) before heading to the multi award-winning Cowra Japanese Gardens. Cowra Japanese Garden is a ‘must see’ at any time of the year. The Garden’s designer, Ken Nakajima, created the Kaiyushiki (strolling) Garden to symbolise the Japanese landscape. The rocky hillside, manicured hedges, waterfalls and streams, and the two lakes provide a serene environment for a myriad of birdlife. Special features of the Garden include a Bonsho Bell, a traditional Edo Cottage, an authentic open air Tea House and a Bonsai House. Before saying good-bye to Cowra, we look at the famous Peace Bell in the forecourt of the Cowra Council Chambers and express back to Bathurst.
Bathurst – Abercrombie House- Depart
We board the bus in the centre of Bathurst and start with an orientation tour of the old town centre, starting with a tour of Peace Park and the very spot where Governor Macquarie proclaimed the settlement of Bathurst in 1815. We visit over 45 local sights from Australian’s oldest inland Church to the old flour mills, the home of former Prime Minister Ben Chifley. We stop and enjoy morning tea high on the top of the famous Mount Panorama race track.
The view is magnificent and although we take a slow drive around the race track itself, you’ll appreciate just how demanding this track is for race drivers and why it is widely regarded as one of the best race tracks in the world. Following morning tea, we continue our journey of Bathurst gradually winding our way away from the old town square and out into the wider community. We look at some of the amazing architecture including the hospital, gaol, numerous terrace home and stately homes all dating back to the 1850-1880 period.
We visit Bathurst’s very own castle Abercrombie House which no visit to Bathurst would be complete without a visit to. Abercrombie House, a heritage treasure of the region and private home of the Morgan family. You will be welcomed by the owner Christopher Morgan and given a short introduction before a light lunch on the verandah. The heritage experience includes the 50 room Scottish-baronial mansion of the 1870s; exhibitions, displays, collections, grounds and gardens, outbuildings and property walks. You will enjoy the guided tour of this magnificent stately home and the grounds. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to Bathurst Railway station to join the Central West XPT for you home destination. Leaving Bathurst with wonderful memories to reminisce during your evening journey.
|Price Person twin share||First Class From||Economy Class From|
|Adult**(Seasonal Rail Fare Quoted)||$ 960||$ 937|
|Senior & Pensioner||$ 936||$ 920|
|NSW Pensioner Travel Voucher||$ 895||$ 875|
|Single Supplement||$ 175|
2017 prices quoted valid to 31 March 2018
Rail Holidays Australia
Po Box 1430, Bathurst, NSW. 2795
Ph: 0418 337 263 or 02 6331 1128