Drives in and around Lithgow
DRIVES in and around Lithgow
There are many drives in the Lithgow area where you can discover historic villages, natural wonders and lakes and rivers.
Contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre for more details:
2 HOUR – LITHGOW TOWN DRIVES
Enjoy driving along Main Street and residential streets to see a range of heritage buildings. Stop in along the Main Street or Valley Plaza shopping areas along the way.
Lookouts and Blast Furnace Park
Visit the spectacular Hassans Walls Lookout, Bracey Lookout and Blast Furnace Park.
4 HOUR TOWN AND COUNTRY DRIVES
Visit Eskbank House Museum, the Small Arms Factory Museum and the State Mine Heritage Park to gain an insight into the social, industrial and manufacturing history of Lithgow. Check for opening times.
Wallerawang and Portland
Visit scenic Lake Wallace, Wallerawang shopping centre and the historic St John’s Church before exploring Portland with its recreated advertising signs and heritage shopping centre. If time permits travel to Mt Piper Power Station and visit the Energy Expo (by prior arrangement).
Lake Lyell and Lake Wallace
Travel via scenic Magpie Hollow Road to Lake Lyell. Stop for the views at the Lake Wall. Continue to Rydal, back to the Great Western Highway to Wallerawang and Lake Wallace where you can picnic, birdwatch, swim, play or walk.
ONE DAY TOWN AND COUNTRY DRIVES
Stop at Lake Wallace and Wallerawang then drive to the Wolgan Gap Lookout before dropping into the valley. It’s a spectacular drive along the valley floor to Newnes. Enjoy bush walks, paddling in the Wolgan River or walk around the old mining ruins (allow 2 hours, moderate). 18km unsealed road (return).
Historic Villages, Churches and Cemeteries
Explore the Hartley Historic Site, visit the tea rooms and galleries in Hartley Village, drive along Coxs River Road or Jenolan Caves Road to Hampton. The Rydal/ Hampton Road will take you to Rydal. Back track 5kms and travel to Sodwells and Tarana. Stop at Evans Crown Nature Reserve for a 3km return walk (moderate) to the top of the tors. Visit Tarana before heading over to Meadow Flat and back to Lithgow.
Zig Zag Railway, Newnes Plateau, Glow Worm Tunnel
Journey past the world-renowned Zig Zag Railway at Clarence before heading along the Newnes Plateau through native and pine forests to the Wollemi National Park. A 2km return walk (moderate) will take you to the Glow Worm Tunnel. Take a torch. 70km unsealed road (return).
Capertee, Capertee Valley, Rylstone
Visit Pearson’s Lookout for an expansive view over the widest enclosed canyon in the world. Stop at the village of Capertee for refreshments. Visit Glen Davis, Glen Alice, Dunville Loop and then Rylstone and Kandos before heading back to Lithgow via Ilford. Scenic rural landscapes, towering escarpments. 30km of unsealed roads (approximate).
DRIVES OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Furnace, Fire and Forge
If you are into heritage, spend a day or two following the Furnace, Fire and Forge trail around the Lithgow area.
Wildflowers can be found all year round in the Lithgow area. Hassans Walls Reserve, Newnes Plateau, national parks and just by the side of the road are all good places. Take your time to explore.
Wild and not so wild animals
Kangaroos and wallabies can often be seen in paddocks in rural areas. Keep your eye out for them and also for wombats, any time of day, but particularly early morning and late afternoon. A wide variety of cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats and horses can also be seen grazing.
The Lithgow area provides some of the most rewarding birding experiences in Australia. From Hampton in the south to Capertee Valley in the north, you can find many different bird species including raptors soaring overhead, water birds on farm dams, in streams and on lakes and tiny birds in shrubs and bushes.
Visit the Lithgow sewage ponds, notable for the rare Blue-billed Duck as well as Lake Wallace where over 110 species have been recorded, particularly water-loving birds. Look for the unusual Musk Duck and Great-crested Grebe.
Officially designated as an internationally Important Bird Area, a remarkable 236 species of birds have been recorded in the Capertee Valley. The altitude and soil types result in a diversity of plant species which attract different bird communities – the makings for a truly remarkable bird watching experience.
Exploring further afield
The Lithgow area is part of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Tourism Region which when combined provides an extraordinary range of adventure, nature-based, cultural and relaxation experiences.
There are a number of drives which you can take in the Region that will enhance your stay in Lithgow. For further details see the following websites or contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre.
The Tablelands Way Experience meanders along the western side of the Blue Mountains connecting Canberra, Goulburn, Oberon, Lithgow, Mudgee and Muswellbrook. It describes some of the nature-based trails to explore around Lithgow. www.tablelandsway.com.au
GREATER BLUE MOUNTAINS DRIVE
The Greater Blue Mountains Drive is a network of touring routes along the roads and highways of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Blue Mountains © Regional Showcase
Lithgow is centrally located in the heart of the Drive with roads leading from the south from Oberon and Goulburn, north from Rylstone and Muswellbrook and east from Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
1 DAY BOTANISTS WAY
Exploring all things botanical along the Bells Line of Road from Lithgow to Mt Wilson, Mt Irvine, Mount Tomah to Richmond, the Botanists Way is designed to showcase the incredible diversity of plant life of the Blue Mountains and Lithgow areas.
Start at either end, spend time around Lithgow exploring plant life on Hassans Walls Reserve and Newnes Plateau, visit the gardens at Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine, stop at the scenic lookouts of Pierces Pass and Mount Banks and spend time at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden where you will find the Blue Mountains World Heritage Interpretative Centre.
Contact Lithgow or Hawkesbury Visitor Centres or Blue Mountains Botanic Garden for more information.
1-2 DAYS JENOLAN CAVES, KANANGRA WALLS, OBERON
Take a 45-minute drive from Lithgow, along a road that follows high ridge tops with panoramic views. Wind your way through rural pasturelands, native and pine forests and down a scenic mountain to Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest cave systems in the world. There are walking tracks in external caves and along the river and you can choose from any number of cave tours. From Jenolan take the road towards Oberon and turn off to the Kanangra-Boyd National Park to view an 800-metre deep gorge with towering cliffs and rolling blue ridges (40km unsealed road).
The town of Oberon is the highest town in the Blue Mountains Region and provides a restful place to stop. Wind your way back to Lithgow after a busy day.
If you want more time to explore why not stay over and make sure that you see everything there is to see. Spend another day and make the journey past Mount Werong to the old silver-lead-zinc mining village of Yerranderie (172km unsealed road total). Check road conditions with Oberon Visitor Centre.
1 DAY MT YORK, MT VICTORIA, BLACKHEATH, MEGALONG VALLEY
Venture out to Mt York to the site of the original Coxs Road into the Lithgow area and for views of the Hartley Valley. The heritage village of Mt Victoria is worth a stop with tea rooms, a picture theatre and hotels. Visit Blackheath village as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Visitor Centre. There are numerous lookouts overlooking the Grose Valley including Govetts Leap, Evans Lookout and Pulpit Rock. On the other side of the highway,
a drive along the Shipley Plateau reveals further lookouts. The road down into the Megalong Valley goes through the rainforests of Blackheath Glen before opening up under the escarpments.
1 DAY KATOOMBA, LEURA, WENTWORTH FALLS
Katoomba is the home of the iconic Three Sisters. Take the turn-off to Blue Mountains Drive 5 just west of Katoomba and travel around the escarpments of the Jamison Valley stopping at lookouts along the way. This road takes you to the Three Sisters and then on to Leura and Wentworth Falls where you find more lookouts. Bushwalks and waterfalls are a feature, so take your time. Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls are full of cafes and restaurants, along with speciality shops. You can spend the whole day exploring nature or, if you prefer, spend a relaxing day in the shops and cafes.
1 DAY BATHURST
Travel up the Castlereagh Highway to Ilford, across to Sofala (take a side-trip to Hill End if time permits) and then to Bathurst before heading back to Lithgow.
1 DAY MUDGEE
With many wineries, Mudgee is a great place to visit. Travel direct via the Castlereagh Highway or take the scenic drive through the Capertee Valley to Rylstone, Lue and then to Mudgee.
Photos © Tourism Lithgow unless otherwise indicated.