Travel

Rug Up And Escape The City With These 11 Awesome Country NSW Adventures

By Louis Costello

Is there a more romantic season than autumn? Slightly cooler cuddling weather without the frigid polar breeze, multicoloured leaves transforming your afternoon strolls into a scene straight out of When Harry Met Sally, that comforting woodfire smell permeating the streets? 

Oh yes, it’s definitely the season of love. 

There’s no better way to make the most of these giddy three months with your one and only than by taking a lovey-dovey trip to Central NSW, beginning just two hours' drive from Sydney. These 11 cute recommendations serve up romance by the bucketload.

Hot Air Ballooning In Canowindra

You’re already on cloud nine, so why not interpret that literally and take to the skies? Journey to the charming village of Canowindra for your departure but first, indulge in breakfast and bubbles courtesy of the Balloon Joy Flights. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, witness others sail the skies during the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge in mid-April.

Wining And Dining In Orange

The sheer number of vineyards found in Orange is astounding with 40+ cellars on your doorstep, which explains why the Central Tablelands city has noticed an uptick in eager visitors over the past few years. With six wine trails to explore, this grape-fuelled trip will be a perfect exercise in sticking together–blink once and your other half might find themselves at an entirely different winery. Stand-out restaurants for a romantic dinner include Charred Kitchen & Bar, The Union Bank, Sweet Sour Salt and the Agrestic Grocer for divine food with live music.

Cycling In Parkes

This modest town is tailored to active couples and space buffs, a combination so niche it makes us love Parkes all the more. Pack your bikes and speed off to the Parkes Observatory found on Telescope Road, the most adorable and apt name to exist. There, you'll get an eyeful of The Dish, a whopping 64-metre tall radio telescope built back in the '60s. After you've taken in this feat of human invention, prepare your legs and tush for one of Parkes' extensive 20-120km cycling trails, the only proper way to soak in your relatively-untouched surroundings.

Bridgerton Re-Enactments In Grenfell

Take a moment to appreciate your relationship while you explore Iandra Castle and its century-old beginnings. Think of it as your own Bridgerton romance as you frolick through the gardens hand-in-hand. Keep in mind that touring Iandra Castle is incredibly exclusive, as it's only open on 9 and 23 April.

Explore The Japanese Gardens In Cowra

Who would've thought you could stumble upon a Japanese garden in little ol' Cowra? The perfect alternative to an overseas trip without the jetlag, the largest Japanese garden in the southern hemisphere (that surprised us, too) throws an annual Autumn Festival that will briefly make you forget you're still in Australia. Sit by one of the numerous Koi ponds and read a book together in comfortable silence.

Sculpture Seeking In Forbes

A romantic getaway isn't complete without a passionate debate over what a sculpture is supposed to symbolise–it's a rite of passage. Are those part-human, part-animals building a part-human part-animal pyramid? What's the hunched man thinking about? These are the types of questions that keep the love alive and you'll be able to ask them all when you journey to Forbes. Round out the trip with a spot of birdwatching in Gum Swamp Wetlands and bond over the adrenaline rush of spotting the elusive Yellow-Throated Miner.

Strolling Historic Laneways In Bathurst

Take the next step in your relationship by wandering the Bathurst streets, occasionally commenting on the unique architecture of Heritage buildings as you grip each other’s hands tightly in the morning sun. That’s true love. Officially named Australia’s oldest inland city, Bathurst blossoms in the cooler seasons, with the Autumn Colours Heritage Festival brimming with like-minded couples traipsing through foliage and sampling Australia’s finest olives and wine.

Town-Hopping On Bikes Around Blayney

Destined to be the picturesque backdrop of your own rom-com, Blayney’s countryside and historic villages are best explored by bike. If you’re there for a little longer, pack a fully stocked picnic basket and venture on a day trip through Carcoar, Millthrope and Neville, finishing back in Blayney to complete the loop. Each town looks like the set of Gilmore Girls, complete with quaint coffee shops to live out your own Luke and Lorelai love story. Every April, Blayney is also home to the annual Sculptures by the Bush, so plan accordingly to ensure you can spy all the distinctly Australian scarecrow and hay bale art.

Ute Patrol In Condobolin

There's more than meets the eye in Condobolin, as you take a cruisy drive through Lachlan to view 20 vibrant utes (yes, literal utes) doused in every shade of paint imaginable. Murals and motifs by local artists cover these mechanical canvases from head to toe (or rather, from boot to bonnet) and it's safe to say, you won't find this type of art installation anywhere else in Australia–or the world, for that matter. There's something about the mix of art and engineering that really gets the motor running and might just like a spark between the two of you.

Glow-Worm Spotting In Lithgow

The first time you see glowworms needs to be experienced with someone you can grip tightly–it's easy to forget that these otherworldly insects exist outside of '90s animations like Ferngully. Lithgow, just one of the Seven Valleys you need to be touring, harbours a shiny little secret in the form of an abandoned railway line, AKA the Glow-Worm Tunnel. Set your cameras to night-mode and snap some perfect couple shots with nature's fairy lights.

Foraging In Oberon

Shakespeare enthusiasts might initially mistake Oberon for the king of fairies in A Midsummer's Night Dream, and they're not entirely wrong. This magical town is home to an array of mushrooms ripe for the picking, and if there's one place fairies are found, it's among mushrooms in a forest. Pop into the Visitor Information Centre for tips and tricks, then you're free to forage until your heart's content. No pressure implied, but something about a proposal in a pine forest sounds dreamy.

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Central NSW. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.

Image: Destination NSW

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