Just over the Blue Mountains from Sydney, Bathurst is a three-hour drive from the CBD. Well-known for its university and Mt Panorama racetrack, NSW’s oldest inland settlement also has a burgeoning food and wine scene just waiting to be explored.
Here’s a guide to finding the best spots in Bathurst to eat, drink, shop and stay.
Webb & Co Beverage Emporium
Wedged under the stairs in the old Webb Chambers heritage building on George Street, award-winning bartender Jeremy Bali turns out cocktail delights, while his partner Emma makes wings, ribs and sliders in the corner kitchen. The bar’s tasting trio of confit duck, maple and bourbon pork belly and beef and blue cheese with potato cubes pairs well with the range of craft beer on tap.
3/175–179 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6334 2176
This bustling repurposed church is on Ribbon Gang Lane, so-named for a group of bushrangers who caused trouble in the region in the early 1800s. Well-known for its wood-fired pizzas, Church Bar has 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 arrives in a glass as big as your head. The pizzas are named after Bathurst Streets. There’s slow-cooked lamb shanks and feta; Portuguese chicken; saltwater crocodile with wild lime and ginger; and the Conrod (chicken marinated in hot sauce) which comes with the warning: VERY HOT.
1 Ribbon Gang Lane, Bathurst
(02) 6334 2300
Cobblestone Lane Restaurant
This laid-back French-Italian Bistro shares the building with Webb & Co, and is top of the list for fine dining in town. With a window full of awards, Cobblestone Lane is bustling with waiters clad in black and white, serving rabbit terrine with Moreton Bay bugs and grilled spatchcock. Its wine list is the size of a telephone book and pairs with mains ranging from beef fillet with Paris mash, and roast duck in pools of redcurrant jus.
173 George Street
(02) 6331 2202
When people are lined-up from across the road in freezing conditions, you know the coffee is good. Three perky baristas churn out Campos coffees as fast as they can from this hole-in-the-wall.
173 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6332 6357
This authentic Lebanese restaurant won’t leave a hole in your pocket. The lamb kofta and chicken plates are big winners, and make sure you try the sambousek and the cabbage and feta rolls – lightly fried tubes of goodness. You can book ahead, but everything is available for takeaway and there’s a beautiful park just up the road.
52 George Street, Bathurst
(02) 6331 1477
The Hub isn’t in the centre of town, but it is the heart of the action when it comes to weekend brunch. Owner Ross came from Scotland to Bathurst to study, met a girl, fell in love and now serves great food. It’s a tough decision between the Glaswegian potato pancakes with salmon and the breakfast burrito with eggs, haloumi and spinach. It’s open all day and in the evenings – sometimes you can catch French gypsy jazz under the grapevines in the trellised courtyard.
52 Keppel Street, Bathurst
(02) 6332 1565
Legall Patisserie Cafe
This patisserie celebrates all things French, and features shelves laden with macaroons, éclairs, fruit tartlets, brioches and bread all baked daily by Frenchman Phillippe Le Gall. Get in early on the weekend because most of the goodies are snaffled by lunchtime. Note: Sunday is Phillippe’s day of rest.
56 Keppel Street, Bathurst
(02) 6331 5800
Vale Creek Wines
Take the scenic drive towards Georges Plain and you’ll pass through some of the cutest country villages around, before arriving at Vale Creek Wines about 15 minutes out of town. Ancient bluestone churches dot the hills around the vineyard and its cellar door produces a delicate range of Italian wines – four white and four red – that prosper in Bathurst’s cool climate.
438 Cow Flat Road, Georges Plains
(02) 6337 2011
Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum
Home to the internationally renowned Sommerville Collection, this reclaimed public school now houses trilobites, crystals, fossils and dinosaur skeletons, including a full size T-rex. Follow earth’s history from the big bang to the blue planet’s creation, and pick up your own piece of the puzzle as you exit through the gift shop.
224 Howick Street
(02) 6331 5511
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Shop
The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery has long been a purveyor of fine culture with a knack for securing some of the best travelling exhibitions that Australia has on offer. Both The Archibald and Art Express annually grace the walls of the three main galleries, but it’s the impressive local artists and a permanent Lloyd Rees collection that continues to be a draw.
70–78 Keppel Street
(02) 6333 6555
Abercrombie House is the heritage treasure of the Bathurst Region and just a few minutes out of town on the back road to Orange. Built in the 1870s by Bathurst pioneers the Stewart family, the Morgan family has spent the past 40 years restoring the grand mansion and surrounds back to its original condition. Take a self-guided tour, or jump in with the 11.15am group and Mr Morgan himself will take you on a one-hour journey through the trials and tribulations of this historic house and how it became his family home.
311 Ophir Road, Bathurst
(02) 6331 4929
If you’re looking for a rural retail fix, make your way down Keppel Street, from Kings Park to the railway station. Pick up a takeaway coffee and friand from Al Dente and slowly pick your way through the vintage and retro finds of The Naked Bud, Vinnies and The Salvation Army, as well as a great range at the Keppel Street Book Store. If it’s fresher finds you’re after, Goods & Chattels Antiques, Dean Mobbs Gallery and the Regional Art Gallery Store will have something for the empty wall at home. Get a trim at the classic Bathurst Barber or snack an award-winning pie at Carah’s Cakes & Pies – or be decadent and do both at once.
The beautifully restored La Maison Rue George serviced apartments are a fine 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 twist. Just opposite Kings Park, the 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
Bishop's Court Estate
This luxurious boutique hotel is actually a carefully restored manor. Situated on the edge of town in South Bathurst, Bishop's Court features seven handsome rooms, featuring an assortment of attractions including an in-room marble spa, parkland views, terrace balconies, French doors, antique art and a beautiful dining room with high-vaulted ceilings inside an old chapel. Available for functions, weddings, getaways or the most decadent of business meetings, this secluded, sprawling estate is the kind of accommodation option that might just keep you in bed.
226 Seymour Street, Bathurst
02 6332 4447
If it’s peace and quiet in a luxury setting you’re after, this is the place. Lolomas is a five-minute drive out of town, and overlooks the rolling hills of Bathurst. These serviced apartments have separate entrances and are furnished with luxurious beds and linen, and the heated pool at your doorstep is good for a dip 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 nice cue for a lazy breakfast in bed.
90 Blue Ridge Drive, Bathurst
0428 690 113
This article is presented by Central NSW Tourism.