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The Bathurst Winter Festival is a Fantastic Family Experience!

Bathurst’s Winter Festival is great fun for kids that may not want to leave. Go ice-skating, explore the Hall of Mirrors, dance up a storm at the silent disco or simply relax. Here is our experience at the The Bathurst Winter Festival:

Discovering The House of Mirrors at Bathurst Winter Festival

The House of Mirrors at Bathurst Winter Festival
The House of Mirrors at Bathurst Winter Festival. Picture: Alison Godfrey

I’m standing inside a shipping container staring at nine visions of my daughter. She’s laughing. I’m not sure which one of her is real

It’s not a dream, but the House of Mirrors in Bathurst.

This fascinating labyrinth of endless mirrors, created by artist Christian Wagstaff, recently messed with minds at Dark Mofo.

This is no ordinary shipping container. Its the Hall of Mirrors
This is no ordinary shipping container. It’s the Hall of Mirrors. Picture: Alison Godfrey

It’s been brought to Bathurst for the Winter Festival. And my kids are loving it. I’m not sure that we will ever leave – even if they find the way out.

There is only one entrance and one exit. It will make you question what is real and what is not real. To find your way out of the maze, you are going to need to think carefully. Once my son found the exit, however, he immediately ran in the opposite direction and told everyone he wanted to stay in the maze for longer.

The House of Mirrors Can you find the exit in this room
The House of Mirrors. Can you find the exit in this room? Picture: Alison Godfrey

We’ve come to Bathurst specifically for the Winter Festival. Bathurst is a quick three hour trip from Sydney so it’s easy to take a quick family break in the country.

Staying at William Cottages in Bathurst

William Cottages are fantastic for families
William Cottages are fantastic for families. Picture: Alison Godfrey

Our accommodation at William’s Cottages is less than five minutes from the centre of town (walking). These beautifully styled cottages are great for families. Number 12 has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The main bedroom and ensuite are wheelchair accessible and includes a hoist from the bed to bathroom. The kitchen has every appliance, pot, pan and utensil that families need. There’s even milk in the fridge for our arrival so we can sit down with a nice warm cup of tea.

The Bathurst Winter Festival offers wines and food for all tastes!

These pizzas tasted so good. Picture
These pizzas tasted so good. Picture: Alison Godfrey

Food stalls at the festival sell mulled-wine, pizzas, burgers and loads of gourmet goods. But instead, we head for Church Bar – tucked just around the corner from the festival on 1 Ribbon Gang Lane. The bar, set in an old Church with generous warm wood fires and industrial decor,  allows children inside. The pizzas here are sensational. We choose a Rendang beef to share while the kids demolish a classic margarita.

It’s time to hit the ice at Bathurst Ice rink

Bathurst Ice rink
Bathurst Ice rink. Picture: Alison Godfrey

The Bathurst Winter Festival ice-skating sessions run for 45 minutes outdoors under fairy lights. Don’t worry if the kids can’t ice-skate yet. The the kids skate aids here are brilliant. Unlike the penguins, found at many other ice-rinks, Bathurst has kangaroo skate aids. One child can sit on the roo, while another pushes. Our kids loved taking turns navigating the rink on their roo and we’ve never seen them skate so well.

The silent disco is another huge hit with kids

Held in front of the illuminated Town Hall building families don earphones and can dance up a storm to music only they can hear.

The only problem we found with the Bathurst Winter Festival is that the kids didn’t want to leave. But we manage to wrangle them into bed by 9pm.

No trip to Bathurst would be complete without a drive around Mount Panorama

Head to The Hub for really great coffee on a Sunday morning
Head to The Hub for really great coffee on a Sunday morning. Picture: Alison Godfrey

After a leisurely breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and corn fritters at The Hub, we concede to the drive.

The kids were surprised by how slow it was – they were expecting to drive like race cars. Mount Panorama has speed cameras to stop hoons going too fast. The whole journey around the famous race track takes less than 20 minutes. But that’s a lot longer than the super-cars.

Few more things you will love about Bathurst

For a quick weekend getaway, you could:

  • Rent a bike from Boomerang and explore town, the river and Mount Panorama. Bikes can be unlocked with a credit card and returned at any time, day or night.
  • Check out the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home to the internationally renowned Sommerville collection.
  • Go boutique shopping on Keppel Street and check out the regional art gallery.

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