Our three-day road trip through Central NSW from Oberon to the Lachlan Shire will give you a taste of the region and have you coming back for more.
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.
- Country pies and delicious gelato
- Quiet bushcamps with plenty of native wildlife
- Kooky and lovable rural art
Got a few extra days of leave up your sleeve? Or planning a sneaky weekender extender? If you’re looking for a wholesome way to see out the summer then we’ve got you covered. Or I should say, Central NSW has you covered.
You’re not going to see all that Central NSW has to offer in three days, but we’ve put together a rough itinerary of how you could make the most of your time, with some cruisey adventures, art, culture, good food, and of course, a whole lot of nature.
Read more: The Great Central NSW Road Trip
Day 1 – Oberon to Orange
Total driving time: 2 hours 30 mins
This three-day funfest kicks off near Oberon at Kanangra-Boyd National Park. It’s a stunning drive into the park and you may be treated to low-lying clouds that make everything super moody.
Your first stop is the Kanangra Walls, where you’ll walk the short distance from the car park to the lookout to check out the views over the valley and gnarly cliffs, before heading along an exposed spine of ancient rock to Kalang Waterfall.
There are also a bunch of cruisy mountain bike trails that have something for everyone. A crowd favourite is the 21km Boyd River loop which follows the roads and fire trails through the park. For anyone looking to extend this little road trip, there are also a few multiday bushwalks that leave from the Kanangra Walls. They’re not well developed routes though, so make sure you do your research and are well prepared if you have that in mind.
If you’re partial to throwing out a line, try your luck at Lake Oberon which is regularly stocked with Rainbow trout and Golden Perch. I’ll take the locals word for it though – I couldn’t catch a goldfish in a fish tank. A heads up though, there’s no swimming at this lake as it supplies drinking water.
If your fishing comes up empty-handed like mine, head to Orange to grab some lunch and stock up on supplies for a night of bush camping. While you’re there, it’s well worth a look around town. As the regional centre, Orange is well known for its food, wine, and heritage buildings.
For the night, head out to Federal Falls Campground and if you’ve still got any energy left in your little legs, check out the falls themselves. It’s only a 4km loop, but the last part to the falls can be pretty steep and is a bit of a grind on the way back. It’s definitely worth it though, especially after some rain.
Day 2 – Orange to Parkes (via Molong, Cumnock & Yeoval)
Total driving time: 3 hours 30 mins
Sun’s shining, birds are chirping, and we’ve got another beautiful day of road tripping through Central NSW. Lake Canobolas is just down the road from Federal Falls and a great spot for breakfast with a view.
If you have a furry friend joining you on this trip, you’ll be happy to know that dogs are allowed at Lake Canobolas but must be on a lead at all times (side note: there are other stops on this road trip, such as the national parks, that aren’t pet-friendly. So if Snuffles is coming along be sure to check where they can go).
On your way to Parkes to stock up on supplies, make a little detour to check out one of Central NSW’s quirkiest installations – Animals on Bikes. It’s about 120km of paddock art that’s full of, you guessed it, animals on bikes. It’s along the roadside from Molong to Cumnock to Yeoval, and made by locals in the community, from farmers, teachers, and kids to everyone in between.
While in Parkes, make sure you hit up Packed Cones Gelato. My personal choice on a hot day is a scoop each of passionfruit and strawberry sorbet, but if they’re out of tasting spoons, Nick and I apologise – we tried pretty much every flavour. And we can confirm, it’s home to some of the best sugar hits going around.
Let that sugar rush carry you through the arvo and head on to Goobang National Park. There are two lovely bush camps, Wanda Wandong and Greenbah, but my pick is Greenbah for the tree cover and sun protection. It’s a small camp with only eight spots so make sure you book ahead! The camp has fire pits and drop dunnies but you’ll need to bring everything else (including water and firewood).
Once you’ve set up at camp, head off for an arvo trot along Burrabadine Walk which starts just near the campsite. It’s a nice climb up to the rock escarpment, with views out across the farmlands below and the chance to spot Peregrine falcons if you’re lucky.
For dinner, I’d recommend driving through the park to Caloma Lookout. It can be a slightly rough track, but we made it fine in our 2WD SUV. If you’re feeling extra energetic you could cycle there and back! You packed your pushy right?
If you catch it on a clear day, the sunset from Caloma Lookout is absolutely mindblowing. There are even some picnic tables and a shelter set up, but don’t forget to bring the mozzie repellent – no one wants those buzzy bombers hanging around!!
As a final reward for a good day spent adventuring, roll back into camp and stoke up that campfire and relax I know you’ve earned it. Oh and don’t forget to pack the marshmallows!
Day 3 – Parkes to Lake Cargelligo (via Condobolin)
Total driving time: 3 hours
For your final day, you want to squeeze in as much as possible, so once you’re up and moving, head over to Gum Bend Lake at Condobolin for a morning dip. They actually have a pretty lovely campground there with free hot showers in the new amenities block down by the lake, so if you’re pushing this trip out by a few days I’d recommend it.
They’ve also got picnic tables and BBQs there so if you’re able to hold off on brekkie til you arrive, it’s a great spot to cook up a big one. There are walking trails around the lake and a cycle track back into town where you can go and check out the next little surprise…
If you liked the Animals on Bikes yesterday then you’re going to loooove Utes in the Paddock at Condobolin. It’s an outdoor gallery of 20 Holden utes donated by local ute enthusiasts and painted by locals and some of Australia’s best renowned outback artists. It’s really one of those things that when you see it, all you can think is, ‘Only in Australia…’
Finally, the last stop before you start hoofing it back home is Lake Cargelligo. From Deadman’s Point, you can follow a cycle track along the lake into town and stop off for dips along the way. If you brought kayaks with you this would also be a good chance to whip them out one last time.
Once you’ve soaked up the rays at Lake Cargelligo, it’s back in your trusty steed for the journey back home. Or if you’re not ready to give up the dream and want to extend things a little longer, check out what you can do for a couple of days in Forbes, or cruise home taking on our Great Central NSW Road Trip in reverse.
- Marshmallows, firewood, damper for Greenbah Campground
- Killer playlist for the open roads (plus a solid road trip buddy)
- Mozzie repellent and SPF 50+
- Gravel or mountain bikes
- Your comfiest walking shoes
Distance Drive / Time Spent Driving / Days
One way from Oberon to Lachlan (with detours) will set you back about 650km and nine hours behind the wheel. You’ll be spreading it out over three days though, so download your favourite podcast and get ready to soak it all in.
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!
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
Head to Visit Central NSW to unearth more adventures from the heart of the state!