The central west of New South Wales is rich farmland, and the undulating green hills provide both seasonal work and easy hiking tracks. Although Dubbo is the region’s major hub, and home to a famous zoo, Bathurst is the most sophisticated town, attracting the Sydney crowds on weekends with fine architecture and numerous museums. Cowra’s fame derives from the breakout of Japanese prisoners here during World War II, while Young was the site of the Lambing Flat Riots against Chinese miners in 1861, significant events in Australian history. Both towns lack major draws though, and could easily be overlooked. Parkes’ main attractions are its nearby observatory and its annual Elvis Festival. While not tremendously cosmopolitan, the central west is picking up its culinary act and Orange is now widely known for its F.O.O.D. Week in April. There are also a number of wineries in the area around Mudgee and Young – lunch at one of these is de rigueur for Sydneysiders escaping the city at weekends and makes for a lovely break from the road.

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