Escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney for a change of scenery to explore regional New South Wales. Bathurst is a mere three-hour drive from Sydney, offering a perfectly charming winter getaway. A town alive with history, culture, and a growing food scene, there’s something to see and do for everyone.
Two Heads Brewing
Within the historic Crago Mill, Two Heads Brewing offers a great range of beers handcrafted on-site. Run by two brothers, Campbell and Greg Hedley, the brewery also features fantastic food, showcasing locally sourced produce. At the helm is a team of chefs who have worked at lauded restaurants like Rockpool and Darleys.
Both the Kurrawong roasted cauliflower with dukkah spiced yoghurt ($12) and the Vietnamese fried chicken wings ($12) are excellent share plates to start with. I’m especially fond of the chilli and sesame seed hit of the wings.
Our mains are not only delicious but also plated beautifully. The 16-hour slow cooked Hereford Red beef short ribs with onion soubise, pickled carrot, chips, and watercress ($30) are incredible. The beef just falls off the bone. As expected, the 16-hour slow cooked Down To Earth Produce Oberon lamb with potato galette, truss tomatoes, chickpeas, and jus ($30) is equally tender and tasty. I’m particularly loving the potato galette.
For dessert, we tackle the mandarin pannacotta with hazelnut sponge, mandarin gel, and praline ($14) and the strawberry, white chocolate mousse with meringue and pistachios ($14). The latter is my favourite, though both are excellent desserts regardless.
We, of course, have to try their full range of handcrafted beers, from the golden ale and pale ale to the IPA and porter. I’m not typically a beer drinker, but I find the porter most interesting with its chocolate notes. All the beers are crafted here, and you can even see it in action.
Bathurst Winter Festival
We checked out Ignite the Night, the opening event of the Bathurst Winter Festival. The family-friendly event showcased live music, local food, wine, and ales. Throughout the festival, you can get involved in the McDonalds Bathurst Ice Rink, the Ferris wheel, and of course the illuminated buildings. The Bathurst Winter Festival is running until July 16th. For more information visit the Bathurst Winter Festival website.
Other Things to Do
As we walk through Bathurst’s city centre, we stumble upon a cosy bar, Webb & Co at happy hour (4-6pm). It’s worth a visit to escape the winter chill over a local beer or wine. Amble through antique shop Webb Western Warehouse housed in a historic emporium build in the late 1880s. Or if you want to delve deeper into Bathurst’s heritage, visit historic Abercrombie House, the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum, or the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
Accommodation: La Maison
An overnighter in Bathurst is made all the more special when you stay in heritage accommodation. La Maison is a fully restored Mid-Victorian building (circa 1976) that was originally built as a boarding house. The latest renovation highlights the original cedar.
We stay in the largest of La Maison’s accommodation options. I feel right at home when I step through the door. The three-bedroom townhouse is furnished and decorated with a luxurious French-style flair. A cosy fireplace is the centre of attention in the living room. It’s a chilly evening in July, so we curl up on the sofa to watch one of the provided DVDs. A separate room contains a dining table that seats six. The bright kitchen is equipped with a self-serve breakfast. French doors lead out to the private deck.
We sleep in the two king bedrooms that are found up the original staircase, complete with fireplaces, heating, and luxury linen. The upstairs bathroom is absolutely beautiful. Black and white floor tiles take the spotlight of the room, while embellished mirrors and cabinets add a luxurious touch.
After a restful night, we have breakfast on the sun-drenched deck. The provided ingredients are fantastic; everything from fresh berries and yoghurt to bread from local bakery Legall makes for a lovely breakfast spread. Plus the crockery is also beautiful. Elegant tea cups, butter dishes – it’s all there.
La Maison is perfectly positioned in the quiet part of the town centre where everything is in reach on foot. The house is so immaculately clean and tastefully decorated to the point that you never want to leave.
The three-bedroom townhouse can comfortably sleep 5 singles or 3 couples. Prices start from $450 + GST per night and include a self-serve continental breakfast. Seasonal rates and a minimum stay of two nights apply. One and two-bedroom accommodation at La Maison start from $180 per night.
La Maison’s three-bedroom townhouse is located at 219 George Street, Bathurst. For further information and to book head to the La Maison website.
I visited Bathurst as a guest of Central NSW Tourism on behalf of The AU Review. I dined as a guest of Two Heads Brewing and stayed overnight as a guest of La Maison.