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Central NSW is filled with scenic rides and activities galore. We’ve wrapped up some of our favourite routes, plus things to do and see in Cowra, Bathurst and Orange. 

Cowra, Bathurst and Orange

At Cowra you can relax in the tranquil Japanese Gardens and also explore some of Australia’s history. On the banks on the Macquarie River, Bathurst is not just a home of motorsports but also a thriving cultural hub. Meanwhile in Orange, you can explore the stunning scenery and enjoy the local highly rewarded food and wine. 

We recommend checking the NSW Health website for an update on the COVID-19 situation before travelling. As always, be sure to check the weather forecast and bushfires warnings before going for a ride.

Rides To Do


Lake Canobolas Mountain Bike Park

The trails at the Lake Canobolas Mountain Bike Park opened in 2014 and include a Pump Track, two easy tracks and two intermediate tracks. 

Located opposite Lake Canobolas, the trails increase in their technical challenge as you ride further into the park. Surrounding the Scout Camp, the site has been set aside for years of revegetation and uninterrupted natural growth and offers a beautiful riding environment with a stunning view back over the lake to Orange.


North Orange Loop 

Distance: 8km
Elevation profile: Mostly flat
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Light – medium
Difficulty: Easy

This loop explores some of the developing areas of town, with extensive shared pathways, some riding through residential streets and the opportunity to visit the beautiful Botanic Gardens and the Adventure Playground. A visit to the Botanic Gardens, with its diverse range of exotic and native plants, historic apple orchard, heritage church, Bert Flugelman sculpture and wonderful birdlife should not be missed.

Cowra

Wyangala Trails (Mountain Bike Trails)

Distance: 13km
Total elevation: 570m
Elevation profile: Hilly – a steady hill (~5%) for the first 8km and then downhill
Surface: Unsealed
Traffic: Light – on dirt tracks
Difficulty: Easy to hard (various track options to suit your abilities)

The Wyangala Waters State Park offers a wide network of mountain bike trails and spectacular views. The trails are generally easiest closer to the camping ground and accommodation areas of the Park. For families, ride the trails near the lake foreshore and explore the adventure playgrounds. If the weather’s warm, stop off and enjoy a refreshing dip.

The more adventurous can head to Mount Elliot and Mount McDonald, to find many trails ideal for mountain bike riding. The area is a haven for some of the region’s rare flora and fauna and the bushland can be expansive and rugged. Riders are reminded that a small visitor entrance fee applies to the Wyangala State Park.


Chiverton (Cowra)

Distance: 23km
Total elevation: 87m
Elevation profile: Flat
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium to heavy - on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Moderate

A very popular sign-posted route so it’s perfect for a relaxing ‘weekend ride’. Early morning bunch rides start from the Cowra Visitor Centre at 6am most weekdays and 6-8am weekends. Start or finish the ride with great coffee and well-priced meals at the Rose Garden Café.

Cowra

Cowra to Greenthorpe

Distance: 36km
Total elevation: 307m
Elevation profile: Flat
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium to heavy - on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Medium

After tackling a steep start, the ride rewards you with panoramic views of the Lachlan Valley. Greenethorpe is a small historic village with some great stores to peruse. The village was purpose-built in 1908 to house share-farmers who worked at Iandra Station, the property of George Henry Greene, located 10 kilometres away on the road to Young.


Peel Loop (Bathurst)

Distance: 41km
Total elevation: 502m
Elevation profile: Hilly
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium – on main roads residential streets
Difficulty: Hard

This is a nice 40km loop out to the little village of Peel. The ride has a few hills but will suit most levels of riders . Especially in the early morning these roads are quiet and Tim tells us there are plenty of coffee stops for you in Bathurst when you return.

Thanks to Tim Roebuck for the great route suggestion.

Bathurst Canola Fields

Banjo Patterson’s Loop

Distance: 50km
Elevation profile: Hilly
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Light – medium
Difficulty: Medium

This ride takes you through an area steeped in history as well as beautiful rural scenery. Be prepared for some spectacular downhill sections with some challenging hills on your return.

Australian poet and author A B ‘Banjo’ Paterson was born on the Narrambla Estate on the outskirts of Orange. The historic Emmaville Cottage, now at the Orange Botanic Gardens, was originally sited on the Narrambla Estate. 


Billimari (Cowra)

Distance: 57km
Total elevation: 254m
Elevation profile: Flat
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium to heavy - on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Easy

A popular scenic cycling route travelling through fertile river flats. Billimari is known for its olive groves, vineyards and vegetable farms. As you ride along the North Logan Road, look out for asparagus growing wild along the road reserve.  Billimari or the Merrigonowry Bridge provide an ideal rest / picnic spot.

Orange Canola Fields

Cargo (near Cowra)

Distance: 65km
Total elevation: 533m
Elevation profile: Hilly - all five hills are in the first 22km, after that it is downhill
Surface: Sealed and unsealed
Traffic: Medium - on main roads and dirt roads
Difficulty: Moderate

Climb the hills to Cargo, established in the 1860s for gold mining, Cargo was a stop for Cobb and Co Coaches from Orange to Canowindra. There is a lovely eat in / takeaway cafe and a pub full of open fires for winter warmth and hearty meals. Note: This ride will be on both sealed and gravel roads.


Bathurst to Tarana

Distance: 89km
Total elevation: 1384m
Elevation profile: Hilly
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium – on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Hard

An undulating ride around the Fish River with perfect half way point stop opportunity at new café opposite the pub. Quite scenic especially through Gemalla & Brewongle.


Wyangala (Cowra)

Distance: 98km
Total elevation: 1414m
Elevation profile: Hilly
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium to heavy - on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Hard

The loop ride to Wyangala from Cowra is a long challenging road ride that can be completed in half a day or less for experienced riders. It is suitable for road and touring cyclists wanting a day of country riding. A mid-way potable water point is available at Wyangala. The highlight is the ascent of Mount McDonald and the rewarding views at the top. Woodstock provides another opportunity to take a rest break and stock up on provisions.

Cowra From Above

Dog Rocks & Mount David (Bathurst)

Distance: 135km
Total elevation: 1441m
Elevation profile: Hilly
Surface: Sealed
Traffic: Medium – on main roads and residential streets
Difficulty: Hard

A great ride to the south of Bathurst with a decent amount of elevation gain. There are two good climbs in it; Rockley Mount & Dog Rocks and another long steady rise after these up to Black Springs. You can fill your water bottles or take a well deserved rest at Black Springs tennis courts. To avoid the busy Oberon-Bathurst Road try returning via Sewells Ck Road & Beaconsfield Road & via The Lagoon.

Thanks to Tim Roebuck for the great route suggestion.

Places To See


Lake Canobolas (Orange)

In the shadow of Mount Canobolas, the Lake is a great place to visit with lots going on. You can enjoy an action packed day of bike riding, swimming, walking, sailing, canoeing and dragon boating. The Apex Adventure Playground is a must visit for kids! 

The lake is open daily from early morning until sunset. Dogs are permitted within the park but must be on a lead.


Cowra Regional Art Gallery

Filled with fantastic pieces of locally produced art, the Cowra Regional Art Gallery really depicts the cultural heritage of the area. 

The Gallery boasts a diverse program of exciting and vibrant exhibitions, public events and educational activities, including significant historical and contemporary art exhibitions.


Cowra Japanese Garden

Ranked at the number 1 thing to do in Cowa, a visit to the Cowra Japanese Gardens is a must do! As a 5 hectare strolling garden, it’s the largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. The Gardens were designed by Ken Nakajima and opened in 1979. The Gardens have provided a place of tranquility for locals and visitors ever since.

You can relax while strolling through lush gardens and flowing streams.

Cowra Japanese Gardens

Cowra Prisoner of War Camp

Take a look back at Australia’s wartime history at the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. A trail leads you through the camp ruins while a theatre presentation is available at the Visitor Information Centre next door. 

Over 1000 Japanese POWs staged a breakout in 1944 that ended up being the biggest in Australian history. Four Australians and 231 Japanese POWs lost their lives during this breakout.


National Motor Racing Museum (Bathurst)

This museum has over a hundred years worth of car racing memorabilia from race footage to suits to original trophies. 

Walking through the museum you’ll experience many of the cars that were the best in the world at their time including Australian touring cars, open wheeler, rally, motorcycle and speedway races.

Bathurst

Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum (Bathurst)

The museum is internationally renowned for housing the lifetime work of Warren Somerville (known as The Somerville Collection). Explore the thousands of remarkable objects within the museum including a T.rex skeleton, dinosaur eggs, fossils from most stages of life on Earth as well as spectacular examples of minerals from around the world.


Abercrombie House (Bathurst)

Set on 18 hectares of rolling Bathurst countryside, the Abercrombie House is a heritage treasure of the region.  Enjoy a stroll through the 50 rooms from the Scottish-baronial mansion, which dates back to the 1870’s.  

The House is privately owned by the Morgan family who open it throughout the year for guided tours.

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