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The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.
The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.
The lovely town of Lithgow.
St Joseph's church in Orange.

New South Wales Drive

Thursday, July 6, 2000
David drives from Sydney to Katoomba, taking the winding roads and climbing through mountain villages and expanses of eucalypts.

The Paragon Cafe is a magnet to visitors. The 1930s milk bar with its Art Deco interior has National Trust listing, and the owners serve delicious treats and famous chocolates. Katoomba also has a zigzag railway, a scenic railway and countless walking trails.

The drive from Katoomba to Lithgow takes about 45 minutes. Points of interest along the way include Hassans Walls Lookout, the highest point in the Blue Mountains; Hoskin's Memorial Church, constructed in 1928; and the Hartley Historic Site, which has 17 buildings dating back as far as 1837. The Lake Lyell dam supplies water for two power stations and is popular for fishing, waterskiing and power boating. This is also where you will find the Tea Shack, which specialises in Chinese furnishings, artefacts and special teas.

Lithgow's Small Arms Museum houses the biggest exhibition of military history and commercial expertise in the southern hemisphere. Starting in 1912, Lithgow has produced rifles and small arms for every war Australia has participated in.

Two hours west of Lithgow is Orange, home of Lake and Mount Canobolas, the highest point between the Blue Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Two 19th-century churches take pride of place in Orange — Holy Trinity and St Joseph's. The Regional Art Gallery has a fine collection of works by Nolan, O'Brien, Whiteley and Olsen, as well as a large exhibition of rural works.

Orange produces high-quality olives, grapes, apples, berries, lamb and beef, and has some excellent wineries.

Another 2 and a half hours away is the city of Dubbo, home of the Western Plains open-range zoo. Many of the 300-hectare zoo's large animals are separated from humans by raised mounds, ditches or moats, providing them with a more natural environment.

Two kilometres beyond the zoo is the 1840 timber-slab homestead Dundullimal. Standing on the banks of the Macquarie River, the homestead has photographs dating back to when it was the centre of a 10,530-hectare sheep property. It features sandstone stables, a saddlery, blacksmith, animal farm and hay rides.

In Dubbo you can see some beautiful Australian furniture made from local wood, wool and leather. You can also watch boomerangs being made from mulga wood, and then learn how to throw one — and have it return!

From Dubbo, Mudgee lies two and a half hours east towards Sydney. Its name is derived from the Aboriginal term moothi, meaning "nest in the hills". It is surrounded by hills of green and blue, and is noted for its fine wool, beef, lamb, cereal crops, lucerne, vegetables and honey. It also produces some excellent award-winning wines, and the pretty town is becoming a very popular place for people keen on good food and wine.

One of Australia's most loved and prolific poets, Henry Lawson, lived in Mudgee from the age of six months and there are many reminders of him around town. There are interesting artwork and handicraft galleries, cafes and plenty of good vineyards offering tastings and sales.


From the Blue Mountains to Dubbo and Mudgee.


The Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
Entry is $18 for adults and $9.50 for children.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission.

More information

Best Western Reservations: 13 1779
Qantas: 13 1313

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