Chuck some ice in the esky, get those tunes on blast, and grab a mate to ride shotgun, cause we’ve got a road trip you’re not going to wanna miss. Central NSW is all about cruisey country living, with a bounty of walks, swim spots, and bike trails just waiting for you on Wiradjuri country.

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. 


  • Soaking up the local energy at Koorawatha Pub
  • More wild swims that you can fill a dam with
  • Native birds, roos, emus and maybe even a goanna if you’re lucky


I’ve been living in NSW for almost 12 months and have barely strayed from the coast. NSW is full to the brim with beautiful places and I always knew there were some gems on the other side of the tablelands, but I’d never gotten around to visiting. Now, after spending the better part of a week out there, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t visit sooner.

Let me share with you the lowdown of a jam-packed five days you should book into your calendar. Do it all at once, split it into a few weekends or take your lappy with you and tell the boss you’re ‘working remotely’. Either way, there’s a little bit of something for everyone on a Central NSW road trip.


Day 1 – Sydney, Bathurst & Blayney

Distance: 275km
Total driving time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Starting off in the big smoke, you’re going to want to make a bee-line west immediately and head for greener pastures. Enjoy the windy roads and hills of the Blue Mountains before settling into the flat country of Central NSW.

The first stop is Evans Crown Nature Reserve, 45 minutes from Bathurst. The walking track takes you past some caves before ending on a stunning rock ledge. From here you can rock hop and scramble all the way to the top of Evans Crown, although this last part is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a bit of a dicey off-piste scramble.

Wash off the sweat and grime with a dip at the Carcoar Dam before making tracks to your lunch spot. After all that driving, hiking, and swimming, you’ve earned some grub. Lucky for you the banks of the Belubula River in Carcoar are the perfect perch for a bite to eat.

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes

Finish off the day by heading across to Junction Reefs Reserve Campground for the night. It’s a beautiful secluded campground at the site of a former mining dam from the 1800s. I’ve been told there’s some good fishing here, but don’t take my word for it – I wouldn’t know which end of the rod I’m supposed to hold.

Day 2 – Blayney, Cowra & Koorawatha

Distance: 180km
Total driving time: 3 hours

To start your day off right, you’re going to want to head to Wyangala Dam for a morning dip. It’s a popular spot for fishing, watersports, and swimming, so it could be a good time to dust of the lilo and go for a float – you packed the lilo, right?



Next you’re heading through Cowra on your way to Conimbla National Park. Don’t forget to stop for a pre-hike coffee in town! Your destination is the Ironbark Walking Track, a cruisy 1-1.5 hour circuit that’ll give you views over the park and farmland and some great birdwatching opportunities. And if you make it there while the wildflowers are in bloom then count your lucky stars cause it is spec-tac-u-lar.

If you’re experiencing anything like the heat I discovered in Central NSW, it’ll be about time to cool off with another post-hike dip, and Koorawatha Falls is the place to do it. There’s a 4WD track going most of the way there, but it gets pretty rough and sandy. Instead, we opted to unload the bikes and ride the 7km from the Koorawatha Hotel into the falls.

Once you arrive, take a dip at the bottom of the falls or spend the arvo clambering around the left-hand side and up to the top. There are some stunning pools overlooking the falls up there and you can explore further back along the river. But be careful, stay away from the edge and don’t jump off the falls. A few people have done some pretty serious damage here in the past, and we’re only on day two of the road trip, so no injuries!



To finish off the day with a bang, cycle back to the Koorawatha Hotel for a cold one and settle in for the evening. Depending on which arvo you’re there, they’ll have a competition for cards, pool or darts, a local band or even a karaoke night. One thing’s for sure, you’re not going to have a bad time.

Day 3 – Koorawatha to Grenfell

Distance: 90km
Total driving time: 1 hour

Throw back a Berocca, dust off that hangover and jump back on the road, cause we’re saying goodbye to Koorawatha Hotel and making our way to Grenfell.

If you can hold off, save your morning coffee for Spannerman Automotive and Espresso. They’ve got a groovy cafe attached to the workshop and as a Melbourne coffee snob, they pass the test. Grenfell is also a good place to stock up on any food, water or fuel you’ll need before getting to Forbes.

Before skipping town though, check out the Grenfell Silo Art, part of the growing Australian Silo Art Trail that stretches all the way across Australia.



If it’s swimming weather, stop by the Grenfell Company Dam to cool off, spin your pins with a ride, or even a paddle if you were smart enough to bring a kayak.

On your way to Ben Halls Campground for the night, stop off at the Holy Camp Campground where you’ll find the trailhead for Euralidie Walking Track to the Peregrine Lookout. This one is a non-negotiable. You’ll be treated to a nice steep climb to start before it flattens out and you have views across the farmland, and hopefully, some Peregrine Falcons circling below you. We saw three of them dancing in the thermals and hunting below us – I could have sat there for hours.

For the final gem of the day, head to Ben Halls Campground at the other end of Weddin Mountain National Park and set up for the night. Then you’re packing dinner and a headtorch and heading up Lynchs Loop Walking Track to watch the sunset over the plains. We were treated to a show better than any theatre back home, as the sun lit up the fields below and made it look like the heavens were shining down on this stunning land.

After an unforgettable dinner, all that’s left to do is cruise back to camp, climb into bed and pat yourself on the back for one hell of a day. Don’t forget to smile, cause this road trip ain’t over and you’ll be doing it all again tomorrow.

Day 4 – Grenfell to Forbes

Distance: 70km
Total driving time: 1 hour

On your way to Forbes, check out the Sculpture Down The Lachlan art trail, a series of incredible sculptures scattered along 100km of the Lachlan River. Once you’re there, take some time to simply explore Forbes itself and fuel up on some pub food. Maybe take a ride around Forbes Lake, or if you still haven’t satisfied your wild swimming fix, Forbes Ski Dam can help with that.

While Forbes is a great spot to just sit back and take it all in, if there’s one must do, it’s Gum Swamp Bird Hide. Only a few kilometres out of town, it’s an easy ride away and at twilight comes alive with birds. There were so many native birds and the evening light on the wetlands is magical. Just don’t forget to pack the Bushmans.

And if you want to extend your time in Forbes, we’ve got a guide to a whole adventure weekend there. Yeehaw!


Day 5 – Forbes to Sydney

Distance: 380km
Total driving time: 5 hours

As all good things must, it’s time for this road trip to come to an end and make your way back to Sydney. You’ll obviously need to fuel up on coffee and snacks for your drive through, so why not pop down to Sweet Three by the Lake for some breaky before you boost.

If you do, my recommendation would be an iced coffee and sweet corn fritters. Just tell them Pat sent you, they don’t know who I am and they’ll have no idea what that means, but why not?

It’s about five hours back to Sydney from Forbes so make sure you take plenty of breaks along the way and don’t forget to sneak one last country bakery in. A cauliflower and broc pie plus ‘Australia’s best’ vanilla slice at Bernard’s Bakery in Bathurst is my order in case anyone’s asking…

Essential Gear

  • Killer playlist for the open roads (plus a solid road trip buddy)
  • Mozzie repellent and SPF 50+
  • Togs for all the wild swimming you’ll be doing
  • A couple of pushies – ideally gravel bikes or mountain bikes

Distance Driven / Time Spent Driving / Days

All up you’re going to be clocking in almost 1,000km over the five days, which comes to about 13 hours driving in total. So make sure that killer playlist and road trip buddy are at the top of your packing list.

Leave No Trace

When travelling through 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 you 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!