Zig Zag Railway, Tourism New South Wales

Population 11298

Lithgow promotes itself as being 'surrounded by nature'. Easy access to several of the state's finest national parks and the city's charm make it worth visiting this isolated but staggeringly beautiful region. It was isolated from the coastal cities until the revolutionary Zig Zag Railway, built with gently sloping ramps to cut through the mountains, opened it up in 1869.

Visitor Information

Cnr Great Western Hwy and Geordie St; (02) 6350 3230 or 1300 760 276

Nearby national parks

  • Blue Mountains National Park

    Blue Mountains National Park presents an astounding and unique landscape to its millions of visitors. The terrain ripples and folds, a world...more

  • Wollemi National Park

    Wollemi National Park, the second largest national park in the state and its largest wilderness area, is a primeval landscape of precipitous...more

  • Kanangra–Boyd National Park

    Kanangra–Boyd National Park’s majestic landscape of wild rivers and waterfalls, mountainous terrain and deep gorges is rimmed by...more

Nearby towns

  • Blackheath

    This pretty resort town, the highest in the Blue Mountains, has breathtaking views. Known for its guesthouses, gardens and bushwalks,...more

  • Katoomba

    Originally named Crushers but renamed a year later, Katoomba stands at an elevation of 1017 metres and is the region's principal tourist...more

  • Oberon

    This picturesque farming town is 1113 metres above sea level, which gives Oberon a mountain climate of cool summers, crisp winters and...more

In Town

Eskbank House Museum Built in 1842, this sandstone Georgian mansion houses an extensive collection of Lithgow pottery, memorabilia and photographs. The front 4 rooms are authentically furnished with Regency and Victorian furniture. Open Wed–Sun or by appt; (02) 6351 3557; Bennett St.

Blast Furnace Park: ruins of Australia's first blast furnace complex (1886) with a pleasant walk around adjacent Lake Pillans Wetland; off Inch St.

State Mine Railway Heritage Park: mining and railway equipment and historic mining buildings; State Mine Gully Rd.

Small Arms Museum: established in 1912, some argue that this is the birthplace of modern manufacturing in Australia. Displays range from firearms to sewing machines. Open 9.30am–2.30pm Tues and Thurs, 10am–4pm Sat, Sun, public and school holidays; Methven St.


Wollemi National Park This is the largest wilderness area in NSW at 500 000 hectares, and is a breathtaking display of canyons, cliffs and undisturbed forest. In 1994 the discovery of a new tree species – the Wollemi pine – in a rainforest gully was compared to finding a living dinosaur. Highlights include historic ruins at Newnes, the beaches of the Colo Gorge and the glow worms in a disused rail tunnel. The park also includes Glen Davis, home to more species of birds than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere. Mt Wilson, surrounded by the park, is a 19th-century village with large homes and superb gardens, many open to the public. Via the town is the Cathedral of Ferns; begins 16 km E.

Blue Mountains SpaRadise: Japanese bathhouse; Bowenfels; 1 km N.

Hassans Walls Lookout: spectacular views of the Blue Mountains and Hartley Valley; via Hassans Walls Rd; 5 km S.

Lake Lyell: stunning lake in mountain setting, popular for activities such as power-boating, waterskiing, trout fishing and picnics. Also canoe and boat hire available on-site; 9 km W.

Zig Zag Railway: built in 1869, and later restored, it offers train trips of 1 hr 40 min return, departing 11am, 1pm and 3pm daily. Services have been temporarily suspended due to fire. Check their website for more details.

Lake Wallace: sailing and trout fishing; 11 km NW.

Jannei Goat Dairy: produces cheeses, yoghurt and milk and is open to visitors, with free cheese tastings; 11 km NW.

Hartley: became obsolete after the construction of the Great Western Railway in 1887. Explore 17 historical buildings administered by the National Parks & Wildlife Service; 14 km SE.

Portland: charming town with a power station offering tours and interactive exhibits, a museum with much Australian memorabilia and several pleasant picnic areas; 17 km NW.

Mt Piper Power Station: hands-on exhibits in the information centre and daily tours at 11am; 21 km NW.

Gardens of Stone National Park: fascinating pagoda rock formations, sandstone escarpments and beehive-shaped domes caused by erosion. This is a great spot for rock climbing and picnics; 30 km N.

Mount Tomah Botanic Garden: 5000 species of cool-climate plants at over 1000 m above sea level. Also award-winning restaurant; 35 km E.

Fishing spots near town

Lithgow to Mudgee 9 km

Early settlers following in the footsteps of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson took three weeks of hard trudging to cross the majestic Blue Mountains. These days the drive from the Penrith plains in western Sydney takes... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Picnicking in the Blue Mountains 27 km

Take a picnic up to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah at any time of year and you will not be disappointed. At 1000 metres above sea level, it is usually cool in summer, brimming with flowers in spring,... Find out more

Ice-climbing 30 km

In winter, the frozen cliffs around Blue Lake provide one of the only places in Australia to learn and perfect the art of ice-climbing. Multi-day courses involve a hike in with heavy packs, and camping out in the... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club 70 km

As a globetrotting professional golfer of the 1970s and ’80s, Graham Marsh won more than 60 titles across five continents. The key to his success was his approach to the game. Every shot was thoughtfully... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Secret Creek Cafe and Restaurant

Anglers will understand the ‘secret creek’ joke and previous diners will attest to the delightful surprise waiting at this down-to-earth jewel tucked away at the Secret Creek Sanctuary wildlife reserve. This... Find out more

Lochiel House

Lochiel House has perfected the blend of contemporary comfort and rustic appeal. The building itself is a slice of Blue Mountains history: it was the first inn in these parts in the early 19th century, and while time has... Find out more

Campsites around town

Lake Lyell camping area 7 km

Lake Lyell is a large water-storage area serving the dual purpose of supplying 2 nearby power stations and providing fabulous recreational opportunities to visitors. Swimming, fishing, waterskiing and paddling are just a... Find out more

Lockyers Trackhead camping area (walk-in camping) 11 km

If you’re a walker with a penchant for European history, you can follow part of the original route across the Blue Mountains on the Lawsons Long Alley and Lockyers Loop Rd (4 hr, 11 km return), setting out from... Find out more

Bungleboori camping area 11 km

Bungleboori is predominantly a stop-off point for those driving through the state forest on their way to the impressive Glow Worm Tunnel or Gardens of Stone National Park. It’s a pleasant spot amid towering pines,... Find out more

Burra Korain Flat camping area (walk-in camping) 16 km

This is a walk-in bush camping site for self-sufficient walkers, reached from the Victoria Falls Lookout. It’s a strenuous 6 km, 5 hr return trip, so you may as well take a tent with you and savour the experience.... Find out more

Millionth Acre picnic and camping area 23 km

Millionth Acre picnic area came into being in 1970, to celebrate the millionth acre of radiata pine to be planted in Australia. It’s a pleasant camping site at the intersection of Jenolan Caves Rd and Oberon... Find out more

Perrys Lookdown camping area 23 km

Perrys Lookdown campground has fabulous views of the Grose Valley and Mt Banks. Campers can only stay 1 night and no wood fires are permitted. It’s 9 km from Blackheath via Hat Hill Rd, and there’s a short... Find out more

Acacia Flat camping area (walk-in camping) 25 km

This is a simply gorgeous bush camping area in Blue Gum Forest in Grose Valley. The modern conservation movement is reputed to have been born in this forest, and after a night spent sleeping beneath the majestic blue... Find out more

Sunny Corner Recreation Reserve 25 km

This is a small camping area in Sunny Corner Village, a historic gold town 36 km east of Bathurst via the Great Western Hwy. The village is a good base from which to explore the surrounding forest by 4WD or trail bike.... Find out more

Mary’s Park camping area 29 km

To reach this basic camping area, follow the signs on Sunny Corner Rd. It’s about 2.7 km west of Sunny Corner village. There are no facilities here, so bring your own everything, including toilet, drinking water... Find out more

Coxs River camping area (walk-in camping) 29 km

At 15.5 km from the trackhead, you need to carry in drinking water to this walk-in campsite; gas/fuel stove preferred. This site is in a pleasant clearing above Coxs River. There is a swing bridge giving access to... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Blackheath Glen Caravan Park 22 km

In the heart of the Blue Mountains, this park is situated in a pretty parkland setting opposite the Rhododendron Gardens, and within walking distance of the town centre and Govetts Leap lookout. There are good basic... Find out more

Katoomba Falls Caravan Park 31 km

Located in a quiet off-highway location, this neat well-appointed park is very close to Katoomba’s cable car and scenic railway. It is an ideal park for a few days stay to explore the area. Bookings are required in... Find out more

BIG4 Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park 48 km

This is a quality park on the Great Western Highway, 5 km east of the centre of Bathurst, and offers a range of accommodation and great facilities including games and entertainment rooms. Bookings are required at peak... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

The Bowen Inn Motel

The Bowen Inn Motel is one of Lithgow’s newest motels, and is situated near the hospital just out of the main town. It offers a variety of comfortable and contemporary spa guest rooms, queen-sized units and a... Find out more

Rustic Spirit

Comprising four multi-award-winning cottages tucked away in a less crowded, infinitely tranquil part of the northern Blue Mountains, bordering Wollemi National Park, the Rustic Spirit is a truly magnificent escape from... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Dargan Springs Mountain Lodge, Clarence 9 km

At the soft end of ecotourism, this pleasant lodge and wellness retreat has advanced eco-certification. It is surrounded by a mountain ash forest dotted with waratahs, the habitat of wombats and wallabies. With a maximum... Find out more

Woolshed Cabins, near Blackheath 21 km

Eleven kilometres from Blackheath and surrounded by a glorious natural amphitheatre of towering sandstone walls, the Woolshed Cabins sit on 100 hectares of cleared farmland (a working cattle farm) in the Kanimbla Valley,... Find out more

Kanimbla View, Blackheath 22 km

Solar-powered, the two- and three-bedroom cottages here are surprisingly large inside. They are partially constructed from recycled and salvaged timbers, have composting toilets and a great view of the Kanimbla Valley... Find out more

Jemby-Rinjah Eco Lodge, Blackheath 25 km

One of the first working examples of large-scale sustainable tourism to exist in Australia, Jemby-Rinjah has advanced eco-accreditation, and one of the most extensive systems of composting toilets in the country. Ten... Find out more

Clonturkle Sanctuary 28 km

Join the experiment in sustainable living and tourism at Clonturkle Earth Hamlet and Forest Sanctuary. Located at Yetholme, there are four cabins set on 240 hectares of mostly eucalypt forest, with 15 kilometres of... Find out more

Wollemi Wilderness Retreat, Bilpin 29 km

These unusual self-contained cabins of various sizes feature passive solar design and are mainly constructed from recycled and salvaged materials. Although not high-class, they all have a spa and are in isolated bush... Find out more

Old Leura Dairy 30 km

This creative collection of six buildings, which can sleep up to 30 people in various combinations, has been renovated and fitted out with all manner of recycled bits and bobs. There are old oven doors, rusted corrugated... Find out more

Bunjaree Cottages, Wentworth Falls 35 km

Great for families, Bunjaree Cottages have been designed to make a small environmental footprint, with full solar power and earth-brick insulation. One is built with recycled car tyres and mud, providing even better... Find out more

Jenolan Cabins 41 km

These basic but cosy self-contained cabins, 6 kilometres up the steep hill past Jenolan Caves, are earth-sheltered for climate control and have composting toilets and rainwater. There are great views over the mountains,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Lake Wallace park area 10 km

T/O 51km E of Bathurst (L) or 11km W of Lithgow (R)

Located 2km north of the highway on the shores of the lake.

Sunny Corner camping area 25 km

T/O 34km E of Bathurst (L) or 28km W of Lithgow (R)

Secluded area surrounded by trees 7km north of the highway.

The Rocks rest area 71 km

21km W of Bathurst (R) or 35km E of Orange (L)

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Macquarie Wood camping area 77 km

T/O 29km W of Bathurst (R) or 27km E of Orange (L)

Open grassed area among trees, 2km (unsealed) north of the highway via Cashens La.

What's on around town

Ironfest: cultural festival celebrating metal; Apr.

Rally of Lithgow: May.

Celebrate Lithgow: Nov.

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