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ROAD TRIP ORANGE & COWRA
experienced writing for Open Road.
A century-old shearing shed, it has
been converted into a unique
boutique ‘accommodation experience’
(an oft-overused phrase, but a worthy
tag in this case). The main shed has
five comfortable suites, and it’s
amazing to see that much of the
Victorian machinery is still intact.
We fall asleep after taking in the
magnificent countryside view, and I
wake the following morning to the
gentle bassooning of a cow, while the
call of a bird at my window sounds like
a knife scraping burnt toast. This
mellifluous solitude is soon
punctuated by the bugling of my wife
blowing her nose again, poor thing.
From my window I watch the wind
tickle the long grass and think one
word: antihistamines. Hayfever
sufferers might avoid the Central
West during harvest.
Breakfast at the Black Sheep Inn
is worthy of any five-star restaurant.
We love how they’ve repurposed the
original wool sorting table and other
remnants of the shearing business
to deliver a charming mix of old and
new. We leave agreeing that the inn
represents outstanding value and
raises the, ahem, ‘baa’ for Aussie
Next stop Cowra, where they’re
stripping too, apparently. Our first
port of call is The Mill, Cowra’s oldest
building. Built in 1861, it produced
flour for the region but then fell into
disuse, sitting vacant for 90 years.
It’s now a cellar door and café, having
been artfully renovated using
recycled materials from train
carriages, cattle yards and houses.
They’ve done a splendid job. We love
the ceiling in the loo fashioned
entirely from vintage kerosene tins.
In a more serious vein, a must-see
in town is the POW Theatre at the
Cowra Visitor Information Centre.
During World War II there was a major
prisoner of war camp near Cowra, and
in 1944 more than 1000 Japanese
prisoners attempted a mass escape.
The theatre’s account of the event
features fascinating hologram
technology and we watch,
open-jawed, as a perfectly formed
three-dimensional girl, 15cm high and
in full colour, addresses us.
This moving (metaphorically and
literally) narrative sets the scene for
a visit to the actual POW site just out
of town. As we walk into the
deserted, eerie paddock, a booming
voice addresses us from a tower
overhead, frightening the living
daylights out of me. The motion-
sensing audio track is one way to
make visitors pay attention to its
After a sobering walk through the
camp, we head back to the Visitor
Information Centre to collect the key
to our accommodation for the night
(this particular stay is booked through
the Centre itself). “ Here’s your key to
Paradise,” the man at the kiosk says.
Taking the proffered metal I open my
mouth to make a jokey rejoinder but
stop when my wife pins me with
Built in 1883, Paradise is one of
Cowra’s most historic homes and
was commissioned by Peter Murray,
who paid two stone masons from
Scotland £450 to help build it.
Comprising five bedrooms, it’s a
stately affair with lovely grounds
and is ideal for a family escape or
for couples wanting a spacious place
to relax. Being historic home buffs,
my wife and I adore it.
After settling in we head out for
one last spot of sightseeing, visiting
the Cowra Roundhouse Depot and
Museum. It’s the only existing railway
roundhouse depot in NSW, where
steam locomotives are still fired up
for a day’s operation.
The next morning we point our
Toyota Yaris to home in Sydney. Our
final pit stop, Leura Garage, is ideal
for any Open Road reader. This hip
café, with its garage aesthetic and
industrial car-themed art, offers tasty
gourmet pizzas and share plates.
Being a car buff, I love how the staff
are dressed like mechanics and how
old wrenches and tyre jacks are set
into the floors. Beneath a shiny hoist
we drain killer lattes before hitting the
road, making our way back down the
Blue Mountains, where my wife smiles
and takes a joyfully unobstructed
sniff of Sydney’s pollution.
CHEERS & SHEARS
(clockwise from top): Don’t miss a drop at
Millthorpe Railway Station’s cellar doors;
enjoy a stay in historic Cowra home Paradise;
the rolling green hills of the Cowra region;
inside the unique Black Sheep Inn.
I wake to the gentle
bassooning of a
cow, while the call
window sounds like
a knife scraping
OR0516_RT_Central West OPENER redux.indd 54
8/04/2016 12:28 pm
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