The Central West region of New South Wales is the agricultural heart of the state, if not Australia. Situated to the west of Sydney, the region is a prime spot for a weekend road trip.
For the first leg of your trip, get yourself to Boorowa. This small country town has a strong Irish background, and much of its history is celebrated along three Shamrock Trails, featuring 42 places for visitors to stop, learn and admire. There are three buildings to see before you set off to your next destination: the Court House, built in 1884, which has since been converted into the Visitor Information Centre; the gorgeous pink- and maroon-hued Boorowa Municipal Chambers, which came onto the scene not long after in 1909; and finally, St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, a striking building from 1877, reminiscent of the town’s Irish beginnings.
Heading north-west out of Boorowa, a quick 40 minutes down the road will take you to Young, one of the most important towns during Australia’s gold rush era. You can count on the attractions here to take you back to an earlier time: try the Young Heritage Trail, explore the local jam factory, snap yourself with the famous bronze wombat on the Olympic Highway (surprising that it’s not gold, right?) and before you leave, stock up on fresh fruit from the area’s many orchards. If you’re arriving in late spring, you might just catch the start of the cherry harvest!
From Young, it’s about a three-and-a-half- hour drive north to Dubbo. Dubbo has a heap of kid-friendly fun, as well as plenty of locally made wines and produce to reward weary travellers. Explore the Dubbo Regional Botanic Gardens, stop for a coffee at the Science Café, then take a stroll through the awe-inspiring Wellington Caves Complex, where you’ll see a 32-metre stalagmite. In the evening, take the whole family to the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol where animatronic characters re-enact stories from the gaol’s dark past.