Old suspension bridge, Nick Rains / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 1501

Canowindra, meaning 'home' in the Wiradjuri language, is in the Lachlan Valley with sandstone mountains to the west and the old volcano, Mount Candobolas, to the north-east. Ben Hall and his gang struck in the town twice in 1863. During the first visit they robbed two homesteads and then forced residents and local police into Robinson's Inn (now the Royal Hotel), where they held an impromptu and compulsory two-day party. Two weeks later they returned and held a similar three-day party, reportedly at their own expense. Today Canowindra is still a genuine old-style country town with a National Trust–classified main street (Gaskill St) that follows the crooked path of an old bullock track. It is now known for balloons, fossils and boutique cellar doors. Canowindra calls itself the 'balloon capital of Australia' because there are more hot-air balloon flights here than anywhere else in the country. In 1956, 3500 fish fossils over 360 million years old were found in the area. Another major dig took place in 1993.

Visitor Information

134 Gaskill St; (02) 6344 1008

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

  • 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

  • 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

Nearby towns

  • Cowra

    Cowra is nestled in the Lachlan Valley, where you can enjoy local food and wine. The peaceful air of this town on the Lachlan River belies...more

  • Eugowra

    Situated on the rich basin of the Lachlan River, Eugowra is a tiny country town known for its crafts. Nearby on the Orange–Forbes road, the...more

  • Orange

    Before European occupation this area was home to the Wiradjuri people, who thrived on the plentiful bush tucker resulting from the fertile...more

In Town

Age of Fishes Museum Long before dinosaurs walked the earth bizarre fish populated local rivers, including fish with armoured shells, fish with lungs and fish with jaws like crocodiles. The museum displays many of the fossils from the Devonian era found during the 1956 and 1993 digs along with information about the digs. Gaskill St.

Historical museum: local history displays and agricultural equipment; weekends or by appt; Gaskill St.

Hot-air balloon rides: over picturesque Lachlan Valley; Mar–Nov (weather permitting); details at visitor centre.

Historical tourist drive and riverbank self-guided walks: include historic buildings of Gaskill St; brochure available from visitor centre.


Gondwana Dreaming Historical Fossil Digs Tours of 1–6 days can be arranged to go on real archaeological digs led by palaeontologists to learn about and possibly find fossils. The tours promote hands-on learning and focus on the area as a whole, including local flora and fauna. This program funds ongoing scientific research. Bookings on (02) 6285 1872.

Wineries and vineyards: cellar-door tastings and tours; maps from visitor centre.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Taste Canowindra

Taste Canowindra sparkles, with spectacular views of the Belubula and Lachlan valleys. It serves a great selection of cakes, available all day long, as well as lunches. Wine tastings are available by appointment. And the... Find out more

Tom’s Waterhole Winery

Tom’s Waterhole is a fantastic weekend location for a midday feast. Their ploughman’s lunch is legendary, presenting a wonderful selection of preserves, chutneys, pickles and smoked meats. Or you may like to... Find out more

Campsites around town

Terarra Creek camping area 24 km

To get to this sole camping area in the park, follow the Escort Way from Eugowra and keep an eye out for a NPWS sign pointing to a dirt road. The campground is a little under 5 km from the park entrance. The road is 2WD,... Find out more

Canobolas Forest Park 29 km

This is a peaceful picnicking and camping area surrounded by a 60-year-old pine forest. There are picnic tables, walking tracks and trout in the creek nearby. It’s 20 km south of Orange via Cadia Rd then Four Mile... Find out more

Bakers Shaft Reserve 33 km

This camping area is around 20 km west of the historic town of Carcoar. Follow the Mid-western Hwy through Mandurama, then turn north for Burnt Yards; take Bakers Rd then Junction Park Rd. This is 2WD, dry-weather access... Find out more

Wallaby camping area 33 km

Take a walk along the Wallaby Walking Track (4 km, 1 hr, medium difficulty) and you may catch a glimpse of a red-necked wallaby or swamp wallaby. Alternatively, sneak out after dark with a torch and see if you can catch... Find out more

Federal Falls camping area 38 km

The road in to Federal Falls camping area isn’t suitable for caravans or camper trailers, although 2WD vehicles are permitted. To get here, follow Pinnacle Rd from Orange and turn onto Towac Rd. There are a number... Find out more

Carcoar Dam camping area 48 km

Carcoar is a small and picturesque town, 12 km south-west of Blayney. On the National Heritage list for being the third oldest settled village west of the Blue Mountains, it certainly has a ye olde feel to it. The dam is... Find out more

Canobolas Caravan Park 51 km

This is a friendly and well-appointed caravan park on Bathurst Rd in Orange. There are shaded powered and unpowered tent sites as well as self-contained deluxe and standard cabins. Nearby attractions include wine-tasting... Find out more

Wyangala Waters camping area 52 km

This is a sprawling space on the shores of Wyangala Dam, offering powered and unpowered tent and caravan sites, bungalows, cabins, cottages and houseboats. Activities include waterskiing, sailing and fishing – the... Find out more

Grabine Lakeside State Park camping area 54 km

Grabine Lakeside State Park is on the north-eastern banks of the Wyangala Dam, 75 km north-west of Crookwell along the Crookwell–Bathurst Rd, or 120 km from Goulburn along Bigga Rd. The park offers endless boating,... Find out more

Heritage Grove camping area 64 km

Heritage Grove is one of 4 main areas in Macquarie Woods that have been established by Forests NSW to demonstrate sustainable forestry. This camping area can be accessed via Cashens La, off the Mitchell Hwy, 29 km west... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Colour City Caravan Park 52 km

This is a council park with good basic facilities in a quiet, off-highway position, about 2 km north of the city centre, adjoining the showgrounds. It is good value at a budget price. Bookings are recommended all year... Find out more

Apex Riverside Tourist Park 63 km

The park is about 3 km from the town centre on a picturesque bend of the Lachlan River, which some sites overlook. It is managed on behalf of Apex and is of good quality.... Find out more

BIG4 Forbes Holiday Park 63 km

This is a very neat owner-operated park, about 2 km from the centre of town on Cowra Road. The park caters predominantly for tourists and has good amenities and most facilities. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Forbes River Meadows Caravan Park 65 km

Located about 2 km south of Forbes along the highway, this owner-operated park is a convenient and ideal overnight stop. It has shady trees, large expanses of lawn and spotless amenities. We sometimes stay here when... Find out more

Spicer Caravan Park 66 km

This is a budget-priced, council-owned park with good basic facilities, about 2 km from the town centre. It is in a quiet spot, off the main highway, about 16 km from the Parkes satellite dish. Bookings are required in... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Everview Retreat

Everview Retreat is set on half a hectare of pristine countryside with spectacular panoramic views. The retreat’s two stone cottages are light and bright, built from handcrafted granite and basalt, and have been... Find out more

Falls Spa Retreat

Nestled in 5 acres of country gardens and overlooking a manicured vineyard and lake, Falls Spa Retreat is the ultimate in luxury getaways. Enjoy the ambiance of the exquisite Edwardian Manor offering four well-appointed... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Cowra rest area 30 km

At Cowra

Just off the highway on the east side of town at Ramage Park.

Cowra park area 30 km

At Cowra

Opposite the information centre.

Tyagong Creek rest area 42 km

31km E of Grenfell (R) or 24km W of Cowra (L)

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Fullers Lane rest area 47 km

57km NE of Cowra (R) or 48km SW of Bathurst (L)

Just off the highway under a few trees with good views of the surrounding countryside.

Carcoar Dam camping area 48 km

T/O 59km NE of Cowra (R) or 46km SW of Bathurst (L)

On the shores of the dam 2km south of the highway.

Kingsley Fairborough park area 54 km

29km NW of Orange (R) or 5km SE of Molong (L)

Just off the highway under shady trees.

Gamboola rest area 55 km

17km NW of Orange (L) or 17km SE of Molong (R)

Just off the highway among some trees.

Blayney park area 55 km

At Blayney

Adjacent to the highway on the west side of town.

Molong park area 55 km

At Molong

Just off the highway on the banks of Molong Creek.

Grenfell rest area 60 km

At Grenfell

Just off the highway on the south side of town.

Bogolong Rest Area 62 km

95 km E of West Wyalong (L) or 9 km W of Grenfell (R)

Large area just off the highway. Limited shade.

Macquarie Wood camping area 63 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.

Billabong Creek rest area 64 km

23km N of Forbes (R) or 10km S of Parkes (L)

Small area just off the highway.

Forbes rest area 65 km

At Forbes

On the riverbank 500m north-west of the highway via Junction St. For 48-hour stays only.

The Rocks rest area 68 km

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

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Weddin View rest area 72 km

82km E of West Wyalong (L) or 22km W of Grenfell (R)

Adjacent to the highway under a few trees.

Bell River rest area 75 km

42km S of Wellington (L)  

Adjacent to the highway. For southbound only.

Ben Halls Cave camping area 76 km

T/O 81km E of West Wyalong (R) or 23km W of Grenfell (L)

Secluded bush setting in Weddin Mountains National Park 13km south-west of the highway via Lynchs Rd (unsealed) and Nowlands Rd (partly unsealed).

Two Mile Creek rest area 84 km

32km N of Molong (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For northbound only.

What's on around town

Springfest: wine and art; Oct.

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