March getaway: Bathurst

We’re not huge travelers, but after spending most of 2020 at home, we started getting pretty antsy. Since we can’t go overseas and interstate travel is still a bit risky1, we’ve been looking at places to visit within our very own lovely state of New South Wales.

Last October we went to Bowral, then Bundeena/Maianbar in November. Nothing fancy, just a few days away in an AirBNB or small hotel. Despite those holidays being relatively low-key, we found ourselves really enjoying having a relaxing weekend away. We’ve resolved to do more of those trips this year.

This March, we went to Bathurst, a destination I honestly would never have considered pre-coronavirus, haha. It’s a 2.5 hour drive away inland, past the Blue Mountains.

What makes Bathurst special is that it’s Australia’s oldest inland settlement and the site of Australia’s first gold rush. There was a lot of money coming in the 1800s which resulted in a lot of heritage buildings, many of which are still there.

Things to do

There are still many things we wanted to do but didn’t have time (like check out Mt Panorama and the gold rush towns of Hill End and Sofala) but at least we got to squeeze in the following (besides the usual wandering around):

Abercrombie House. I absolutely love exploring heritage buildings so this was our first stop. This mansion was built in the 1870s and has been lovingly restored by the Morgan family for the past 50 years or so. It was a treat wandering through the different rooms and finding out about the history of the place. The owners are super friendly and told us their personal stories about the house. Well worth a visit.

One of the best rooms in the house, now their daughter’s bedroom.

Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum. I love dinosaurs, and they have an actual T-rex skeleton inside. Enough said.

Machattie Park. There is a beautiful park right in the middle of town. We had downloaded the Bathurst Step Beyond app so got an audio tour of the park and the city centre. We didn’t get to do all the tours, definitely keen on doing that at a later visit.

MacHattie park during golden hour.

Where we ate

We initially tried to book for a weekend trip. Unfortunately, accommodation prices were astronomical. Turns out racing was on that weekend, so we booked for Sunday to Tuesday instead. We then found out that many restaurants we wanted to check out were closed on Monday and Tuesday! 🙁 Still, we had some pretty good meals!

On the way up to Bathurst, we went to Blackheath for brunch, then on the way down, went the other way through Bells Line of Road for apple pies. Yum!

Where we stayed

This was such a lovely place that it’s well worth a mention: the Original Hat Factory. As the name implies, it’s a former hat factory which has been converted into a series of short-stay apartments. They kept old-timey furniture and furnishings but at the same time, upgraded it with modern amenities. Would definitely stay there again.

All in all, a lovely trip. Now I’m more keen on exploring that part of the region, like Mudgee or Orange.

1 For my non-Aussie friends: Australian states have been managing themselves separately which means hard border lines are drawn. If there’s a sudden spike in cases in one state, we may get stuck out of state or need to quarantine when we get back home.

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