Itinerary: Orange to Dubbo
Geological wonders meet gold rush history on this classic country drive. Take your time on this scenic journey, which combines the great natural attractions around Orange and Dubbo with the fascinating gold mining history of Hill End.
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This is an idyllic region for walking and picnicking, with lots of chances to spot native wildlife and soak up soaring bushland panoramas. Hike, mountain bike or 4WD to the lookouts in Goobang National Park, near Dubbo, and gaze over Orange from the top of Mount Canobolas, a dormant volcanic peak. Get up close to wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas, keep your binoculars handy for birdwatching and meet the protected eastern bent-winged bat at Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve.
This is also a great trip for history buffs, whether you’re viewing the stalactites and stalagmites of ancient limestone caves or imagining life as a 19th century miner at Hill End Historic Site. And after you’ve spent a day delving into history and geology, you can camp at one of 2 campgrounds with great facilities or enjoy a cosy bed in the area's heritage-listed accommodation.
- Start from Orange, in the NSW Central Tablelands.
- Orange is 4 hours west of Sydney by car, 3 hours from Canberra and 8 hours from Melbourne.
- Regional Express operates direct flights between Sydney and Orange.
- There are regular train services from Sydney and less frequent services from Canberra. Visit NSW TrainLink for timetables, fares and online bookings.
- For weather forecasts in the area, please visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Day 1: Limestone caves and volcanic peaks
It's a short drive from Orange to the majestic, dormant volcano of Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area. Pick a pretty picnic spot or explore the fertile landscape on one of the many walking tracks. Hike to Federal Falls on Federal Falls walk and take in panoramic views from the Mount Canobolas summit. Stop to explore the ancient limestone caves at Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve on your way to Nangar National Park, where you can spend the night at the picturesque Terarra Creek camping and picnic area.
Centrally located and naturally sheltered, Terarra Creek camping and picnic area makes the perfect base for bushwalking, mountain biking, camping and picnicking.
Day 2: Embrace the pioneering spirit
It's a 3-hour drive to Hill End Historic Site, where you can relive the heady early days of the state's 1870s gold rush. Wander the well-preserved streetscapes, visit Hill End Heritage Centre and pan for gold at the Fossicking Ground. Tour impressive Craigmoor House and go underground as a colonial goldminer at Bald Hill Tourist Mine. Enjoy a pub lunch at the Royal Hotel and stay overnight at The Village or Glendora campground.
Hill End Heritage Centre's interactive museum displays and historic information are the perfect introduction to any visit to Hill End Historic Site.
Glendora campground is close to the centre of Hill End and has modern facilities. The camping here is ideal for large groups and the wildlife is a treat.
Village campground offers exceptionally convenient camping with good facilities close to all the heritage attractions of Hill End. It’s perfect for caravan camping.
Experience the underground world of a goldminer at Bald Hill tourist mine. A short walk or drive from Hill End, this guided tour is ideal for families and school groups.
Day 3: Bushland adventures
Leave early for the 2 and a half hours drive to Dubbo via Mudgee. Drive through town to vast Goobang National Park, a haven for bushwalking, birdwatching, mountain biking and 4WD. Stroll to Caloma lookout for westerly views over the park’s vegetation or tackle the steep, 4km Burrabadine walking track for compelling vistas from Burrabadine Peak. Spot wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas in the bushland and birds of prey soaring across the sky. When you're done for the day, spend the night at the tranquil Greenbah campground.
Located beside Greenbah Creek within Goobang National Park, Greenbah campground is a great base from which to enjoy bush walks, picnics, barbecues and birdwatching, near Parkes.
Wanda Wandong campground is located in the north of Goobang National Park, near Dubbo and Parkes. Stay here and enjoy bush walks, birdwatching, car touring and mountain biking.
- 3 days