With heritage pubs, country bakeries, open roads, and plenty of cruisy adventures to scratch the itch, Forbes punches well above its weight. Oh, and did I mention the country bakeries?

We acknowledge that the land we travelled on belongs to the Wiradjuri people. They have cared for this country for thousands of years and their connection to it passed through generations. We pay our respects to the land, and its elders past, present and emerging. The Wiradjuri people are the Traditional Custodians of this land and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. 


  • Sunset at Gum Swamp
  • Lakeside cycling
  • Connect with Wiradjuri’s living cultural heritage 
  • Country bakeries and open roads


Five hours west of Sydney and only three hours from Canberra, Forbes is ideal for a weekend getaway in the heart of Central NSW. Founded in 1861 and sitting on Wiradjuri land, it’s known for its rich history and strong connection with Indigenous culture.

With lakeside bike trails and bush art, Forbes is calling out to anyone looking for a cruisy weekend away sprinkled with a solid dose of nature, simple living, and a few little adventures.

Read more: The Great Central NSW Road Trip


The Best Adventures in Forbes

Go Birdwatching at Gum Swamp

Now this one is my personal favourite from our whole time in Forbes. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve tried to get into bird watching (I even bought a book on native birds) but it’s never really hit the spot. However, after just one sunset at Gum Swamp, twitchers everywhere are now preaching to the converted. 

There are four bird hides along the wetlands and as the sun goes down, the trees light up and the birds come out to play.

I’d be lying if I could tell you the name of even one bird we saw, but that didn’t stop us looking on and listening in awe as the birds sang and danced into the evening. If you’re lucky like us, you also might bump into a friendly local twitcher who’ll give you some tips.

Soak up Indigenous Art and Culture at Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre

Created by the Forbes Wiradjuri Community, the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre celebrates culture, educates future generations and reminds visitors of the Wiradjuri people’s long-held connection to the region. 

It’s also an extremely important step in reconciliation and sharing previously untold chapters of Australian history for the Wiradjuri people, who are known as the people of three rivers – The Wambool (Macquarie River), The Kalari (the Lachlan River) and the Murrumbidjeri (the Murrumbidgee River) and are one of the largest Aboriginal nations in Australia. 

It’s a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon, learning about the culture from the volunteers there. The totems scattered throughout the gums have great art designs and interesting information on them from Wiradjuri artists and elders.

Scout Out Epic Art Installations Along The Lachlan River

The sculptures near the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre also forms the starting point for the Sculpture Down The Lachlan trail.

The Sculpture Down The Lachlan is a 100km long art trail that stretches from Forbes all the way to Condobolin. Some of these sculptures took an absolutely mind-blowing amount of work, like the incredible Bird In Hand sculpture made from thousands of chain links welded together.

Some, including the Bird In Hand sculpture by sculptor Mike Van Damare, are well worth the drive, but heaps are within walking or riding distance from the town. You can start at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre, cycle through town to the sculptures at Albion Park, and then cruise on towards Gum Swamp where you’ll find my personal favourite, Varanus, or Gugaa in Wiradjuri. 

This one is absolutely bonkers, it’s a 22-metre long steel lace monitor by Northern NSW sculptor Glen Star. The lace monitor also holds significant meaning to the Wiradjuri people as it was a food source for them in harder times. Goannas are pretty common through Central NSW so if you spend enough time out here, you just might run into a real, albeit smaller, one too.

Explore the Town and Lake Forbes by Bike

It wouldn’t really be a regional NSW holiday without spending some time wandering the town and soaking up the laid back living. For any fans of The Dish, you’ll notice that many parts of town look familiar, as Forbes featured heavily in the movie.

As things heat up, take a ride around Lake Forbes where you’ll find 10km of walking and cycling trails, and cool off with a swim at the Forbes Ski Dam.

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes



Once you’re all tuckered out, grab a feed from any one of the great bakeries in town or check out Sweet Three Cafe by the lake. One of the most enjoyable parts of our time in Forbes was people-watching and letting the world go by. Just sit back and enjoy it, you deserve a break honey!


To soak up the Forbes country town vibes, there are a handful of local motels that are an excellent base for exploring the town and surrounding adventures. The Plainsman Motel would be my pick, but the choice is yours!

For a little more greenery, check out Wheogo Park free-camping spot for vans and caravans right along Forbes Lake in the middle of town, or the Apex Riverside Tourist Park for a few more facilities.

If bush camping is more your style, Goobang National Park is not far up the road and has the beautiful Greenbah Campground. There are only eight camping spots so make sure you book ahead and keep your eyes peeled while driving in – you might get lucky like us and spot an emu or a roo on the drive.

The distances between towns can be pretty far in Central NSW so make sure to fill up on fuel, food, and water in Forbes before heading out for the day (I’m definitely not speaking from experience here…).

Essential Gear

  • Bikes
  • Binoculars for spotting some native birds
  • An empty stomach for all the bakeries/cafes

How To Get There

Forbes is about a 4-5 hour drive from Sydney. Head west on the Great Western Highway and the Mitchell Highway to Orange, then mosey along the Escort Way on to Forbes. 

Or take your time and follow our five day road trip guide through Central NSW from Bathurst to Forbes.

Leave No Trace

When travelling through Forbes, and all of Central NSW, we were delightfully surprised at how clean it was and how little rubbish we found. At We Are Explorers, we reckon it’s a good idea to keep it that way, so make sure to take all of your rubbish with you, minimise your plastic use as much as possible, stick to the paths and try not to disturb the area or animals. Mother Nature will thank you for it!


Head to Visit Central NSW to unearth more adventures from the heart of the state!