There’s more to the Bathurst region than fast cars, the Knickerbocker Hotel and a Panthers game once a year, as my wife and I discovered on a romantic getaway there recently.
After finishing work on Friday afternoon, we hopped in the car and began our picturesque journey west to our jaw-dropping accommodation, located in one of the up and coming areas of Bathurst.
When we pulled up at the Alfred on Keppel – a beautifully restored and furnished heritage three-bedroom terrace in the heart of town – we were completely blown away.
As soon as we opened the front door, I immediately pulled out my iPhone to record a room tour for Instagram… to make everyone back home jealous, of course!
This “Paddington-style” terrace oozes sophistication and character. Light-filled with high ceilings and a modern interior, it overlooks the beautiful streetscape of downtown Keppel Street. While out the back boasts a gorgeous secluded courtyard.
Once we unloaded our bags (and picked up our jaws off the ground), we hopped back in the car and headed just minutes away to one of Bathurst’s top establishments for dinner.
Vine & Tap is a trendy wine bar offering tempting Italian share plates along with a great range of specialty local and imported wines, beers and cocktails.
After a long day at work coupled with a road trip to Bathurst my wife and I were hungry to say the least, so we ordered a few different dishes to share – including the delectable Sfogliatelle for dessert – before retreating for the evening.
After a comfortable night’s sleep, my wife and I took a short stroll the next morning to enjoy brekkie at The Hub Café – an institution for hungry Bathurst locals.
This popular spot plates up iconic favourites with a twist, all made from locally sourced produce and paired with locally roasted coffee. Start your day with the Instagramable Crusted Vanilla Brioche French Toast.
Once we were both satisfied, we took a scenic drive to Vale Creek Wines to meet owners Tony and Liz, who specialise in Italian wine. The cellar door provides tastings to the public on weekends in a relaxed setting overlooking the winery.
We then made our way to The O’Connell Avenue Café & Store, a cute roadside country café specialising in breakfast and brunch options as well as homemade baked goods. These guys do a great malt milkshake!
After a quick bite to eat we took a short drive to Renzaglia Wines for another wine tasting experience, this time with award-winning winemaker Sam Renzaglia.
This family-owned and operated winery produces small quantities of unique wines that are hand-picked and hand-crafted. Cellar door visits are by appointment.
After a jam-packed day of activities we couldn’t wait to get back to the Alfred for a quick afternoon nap before walking across the street for dinner at The Victoria.
Bathurst’s newest restaurant and bar on Keppel Street, The Victoria is part of the new Tremain’s Mill precinct.
Part pub, part restaurant and part gallery, each section of The Victoria has its own unique style. I opted for a classic Chicken Schniddy and a Dead Man’s Dark & Stormy to wash it down.
Following dinner, we took a 10-minute walk up Keppel Street for a night cap and dessert at the DogwoodBX – Bathurst’s top dining destination on Tripadvisor.
Award-winning bartender Evan Stanley and his crew offer a mix of traditional and bespoke cocktail creations with an Americana vibe. For dessert, try the Banana Cream Pie – it’s to die for!
The next morning, we said goodbye to the wonderful Alfred and walked across the street to Doppio Espresso for a Chai Latte and breakfast.
Located in the Tremain’s Mill precinct, Doppio source delicious hand-picked coffees and roast them in house in their recycled shipping container café.
This place was popular with families due to its open spaces and manicured lawns.
On our way back to Penrith, we paid a visit to the amazing Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum to view their gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and extensive mineral collection. We also stopped in at Chifley Home, the residence of former Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley – talk about a step back in time!
Just over two hours from Penrith, the Bathurst region is the perfect micro-escape for those looking to relax, rewind and reconnect.
Do what we did… forget the gold-panning and motor racing and stay in charming accommodation, explore the region’s thriving dining scene, pop into a local vineyard or two, and wander the boutique shops, historical attractions and unique galleries.
You won’t be disappointed!
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.