Top 10 things to do when visiting Lithgow and the Seven Valleys
Lithgow, is located in the Seven Valleys, in the Western Gateway to the Blue Mountains. It’s surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and valleys and is a popular holiday destination. There are a wide range of activities available in the area, as well as many scenic drives and tourist attractions.
- Visit the Zig Zag Railway
The Zig Zag Railway is a historic railway located in Clarence, just a 10 minute drive from Lithgow. It was originally constructed in the late 19th century as a means of transporting produce and resources from the western slopes of the Blue Mountains to the markets of Sydney. Its unique design incorporated a series of zigzagging switchbacks that allowed trains to descend and ascend the steep gradients of the Blue Mountains, allowing trains to negotiate the steep inclines and sharp curves of the terrain.
In the 1970s, the railway was decommissioned as a working railway, however it was later restored and preserved as a heritage railway, becoming a popular tourist attraction. The railway offers visitors the opportunity to experience a ride on historic steam and diesel trains along a section of the original railway track, providing stunning views of the surrounding Blue Mountains landscape.
- Take a Walk to Hassans Wall Lookout
Hassans Wall Lookout is a renowned scenic viewpoint situated approximately 3kms South of Lithgow’s town centre. It is easily accessible by car and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Known as the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains region, Hassans Wall Lookout offers visitors a spectacular panoramic view of the Hartley Valley, Mount Wilson, and the Kanimbla Valley. There are several designated viewing areas at Hassans Wall Lookout, each offering slightly different perspectives of the surrounding scenery.
Hassans Wall is a popular spot for capturing stunning sunrise and sunset photographs. Picnic tables and seating areas available near the lookout, make it a popular spot for families and groups looking to have a relaxing day out. There are also walking tracks that lead from Hassans Wall Lookout, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area on foot.
- Explore the Glowworm Tunnel Cave
Glowworm Tunnel Road is a renowned scenic route located 25 minutes North of Lithgow, situated in the Wollemi National Park. The tunnel is famous for its population of glowworms. At night, the worms emit a soft blue-green light to attract prey. The effect is particularly enchanting in the pitch-black darkness of the tunnel.
The road itself was originally built as a railway tunnel in the early 1900s to transport shale from nearby mines but is no longer open to vehicular traffic. It has now been converted into a walking and hiking trail, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The trail is accessible by foot, bicycle, or horseback and provides stunning views of the surrounding wilderness and unique rock formations.
While Glowworm Tunnel Road can be explored independently, there are also guided tours available for those who prefer a more structured experience. These tours often provide additional insights into the area’s history, geology, and wildlife.
- Visit Black Fellows Hands Reserve
Maiyingu Marragu – also known as Black Fellows Hands Reserve, is a significant Aboriginal rock art site located in Lithgow. The reserve is renowned for its Aboriginal rock art, specifically the hand stencils that are a prominent feature. These hand stencils are believed to be thousands of years old and were created using a technique where pigment was blown or spat around a hand pressed against the rock surface.
Due to the cultural and historical significance of Black Fellows Hands Reserve, there are conservation efforts in place to preserve the rock art and the surrounding environment. This includes measures to prevent deterioration and vandalism. Visitors are encouraged to respect any restrictions or guidelines in place. The site provides an invaluable opportunity for education about Aboriginal culture, history, and art. When visiting Black Fellows Hands Reserve or any similar Aboriginal cultural site, it is crucial to approach with respect, acknowledging the cultural and spiritual significance of the site to the local Aboriginal community. This includes refraining from touching or attempting to interact with the rock art.
- Scenic Drives around Lithgow
There are many scenic drives in the Seven Valleys and surrounding area that provide some of the most scenic routes in Australia, particularly during the winter months. Choose to tour around heritage buildings, museums, lookouts, lakes, and valleys in the area, and keep an eye out for native wildlife and birds along the way.
Visit the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre for information about the best scenic drives for your family holiday. The staff at the visitor centre will be able to provide you with maps and information that only the locals know about.
- Step back in time at Lithgow’s Museums
Lithgow is also very rich in history. There are several historic landmarks and museums that visitors can explore in Lithgow, including the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum and the Eskbank House and Museum.
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum was established in 1909 and played a vital role in Australia’s military history. The factory ceased operations in the early 1990s. In 1996 the site was converted into a museum, to preserve the history and heritage of the factory and its contributions to Australia’s defence industry, showcasing an extensive collection of firearms, ammunition, and military equipment that was produced for both World Wars. The museum also has a gift shop, where tourists can purchase souvenirs, books and memorabilia related to the factory’s history and military heritage.
Eskbank House and Museum is also a cherished heritage site offering a captivating glimpse into Australia’s colonial past. Built in the 1840s, this historic house once belonged to Thomas Brown and his family, representing a pivotal era in Lithgow’s development. Today, it stands as a museum and art gallery, showcasing a rich collection of artifacts and exhibits that vividly narrate the stories of early Australian settlers.
- Explore the Blast Furnace Park
The Blast Furnace Park in Lithgow is a living testament to the industrial heritage of the region. This historic site once housed a functioning iron and steel production facility, until 1928 when the entire industry was moved to Port Kembla. Today, the preserved blast furnace stands as an imposing monument to the industrial pioneers who played a vital role in Australia’s development.
The towering structure, surrounded by picturesque parkland, offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the remnants of a bygone era. Interpretive signs and displays provide insights into the furnace’s operation and its significance to the local community. The Blast Furnace Park is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those interested in Australia’s industrial past.
- Visit the Jenolan Caves
Venture a little further South of Lithgow to experience the Jenolan Caves. Just over an hour’s drive away is a renowned cave system which has been formed over millions of years through erosion, sedimentation, and underground river activity. Comprising of numerous interconnected caves, the Jenolan Caves are renowned for their stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations which were created by the slow deposition of minerals from water dripping or flowing through the caves over thousands of years.
Some of the most famous caves include the Lucan Cave, the Orient Cave and the Chifley Cave. There are guided tours available which are relatively easy and suitable for most visitors, while others may involve more challenging terrain and require a higher level of fitness. The caves host special events throughout the year, including concerts, ghost tours, and themed experiences, providing visitors with exciting opportunities to enjoy this natural wonder.
- Take a walk in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is an hour and a half’s drive South from Seven Valleys. Visiting the Blue Mountains from Lithgow is an adventure that unveils the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s natural wonders. Nestled amidst the rugged terrain, Lithgow serves as the perfect gateway to this enchanting region. As you embark on the journey South, the scenic drive itself is a testament to the diverse landscapes of New South Wales.
Image via Destination NSW
As you ascend into the Blue Mountains, the air turns crisper, and the eucalyptus-scented breeze greets you. The iconic Three Sisters rock formation stands proudly, an ancient sentinel overlooking the deep valleys below. Exploring the well-marked trails, you’ll find many hidden waterfalls, ancient Aboriginal rock art, and panoramic lookouts that leave you in awe of the vastness and grandeur of the region.
The charming town of Katoomba also beckons, with its quaint cafes and artisanal boutiques, offering a perfect respite after a day of exploration. As the sun sets behind the rugged cliffs, casting a warm golden hue across the landscape, you’ll find yourself grateful for this unforgettable journey which is a testament to the wild beauty that Australia so generously bestows upon travellers who seek it.
- Visit Lake Lyell
Originally built in 1982 by Delta Electricity for the Mount Piper and Wallerawang Power Stations, Lake Lyell has a maximum water depth of 38m. The lake is now a popular area for nature lovers with an interest in fishing, water skiiing, swimming, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. There are plenty of fish in the lake for the angler in the family, including trout, Australian bass, Macquarie perch, and redfin. Enjoy a picnic by the water, or just watch the sunset set over this pretty location.
Lithgow has many accommodation options which are just perfect for a short getaway or an extended holiday. From bed and breakfasts to rustic cottages, there are plenty of options for those looking for a warm and comfortable place to stay.
The Bowen Inn Motel offers unique and affordable accommodation, with its own on-site restaurant, so guests can enjoy a comforting meal and glass of wine by the fire, to stay warm during the chilly winter nights in New South Wales. The Surveyors Restaurant is open for dinner Monday to Saturday nights. The restaurant is open to members of the general public, as well as motel guests.
Lithgow is an excellent place to visit, with its cosy accommodation, scenic drives, historical attractions and it’s close proximity to the Blue Mountains. Whether you’re looking for an active holiday or a relaxing getaway, Lithgow definitely has something for everyone.