Visited places during the trip: Blue Mountains, Bathurst, Abercrombie Caves, Blayney, Carcoar, Cowra, Young, Wyangala Dam.
That was another interesting adventure we had! We reached the town of Young,the cherry capital of Australia and experienced cherry picking in the farm of Ballina Clash. Also, we explored the Abercormbie Caves as well as the rich history of Cowra during WW II.
During the trip, we passed by the Blue Mountains, then to Bathurst and down to Blayney and Carcoar. We arrived at the Abercrombie Caves a bit early that day, thus we had enough time to drive down to the town of Young, went cherry picking and visited the Chinese Garden there, too. We spent the night at Cowra Holiday Park, then the following day drove to the town centre, visited the Japanese Garden, and the Japanese War Cemetery. On our way home to Sydney, we drop by the Wyangala Dam for a brief stop.
Abercrombie Caves is one of the spectacular caves and caves formation in New South Wales just off the Bathurst-Goulburn Road, Trunkey Creek. It is a limestone caves located in a nature reserve. In fact we did walk up and down a carved out path of a limestone rich mountain to reach the opening. The opening can be seen a few metres down the man-made path as if it was intentionally hidden by huge trees from public view. They consist of a large arch claimed to be the largest natural limestone tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere and a number of smaller passages leading from it.
While the cave system is small as a whole, the Abercrombie Archway is one of enormous dimensions surpassing the size of the Grand Arch at Jenolan by two and half times.
Definitely, it is one of the majestic caves I’ve seen so far with full lighting and safe accesses. More than a century ago gold miners built a platform for dances in one of the main galleries. Today the historic dance floor is used as a stage for underground concerts, weddings and Christmas carols.
Young is situated on the South West Slopes of New South Wales in the heart of the Hilltops Food and Wine Region; Young is renowned for glorious undulating countryside, vineyards, orchards, fascinating pioneering history, exciting events and for being known as the Cherry Capital of Australia. Every year, the town receives many visitors because of their vineyards and cherries. There were two busloads of tourists when we were there and they were on cherry picking, too.
The cherries were already ripe for picking, you can eat while you’re picking but whatever you bring out of the field in a bucket, you got to pay for it. We paid two buckets full of cherries and shared one bucket to some friends when we arrived home.
Young which is 376 kilometres south west of Sydney is popular as the orchard of cherries to some of our friends and it was because of these cherries that we’re motivated to visit the town to experience cherry picking, too. We didn’t know that at that time it was also the town festival. So, after the cherry picking, we were still able to watch some of their featured activities.
That afternoon, we finished early at the Ballena Clash and we drove off to visit the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Gardens located at the Chinaman’s Dam which is four kilometres from the town centre of Young.
The development of the gardens began in 1992 and was established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860s, and to the ongoing contributions of the Chinese community to Australia as a Nation.
Cowra is a town in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia in the Cowra Shire. It is located on the Mid-Western Highway, 317 kilometres west of Sydney. We passed by this town on our way to Young, and we spent the night here after our trip to Young. We continued to explore Cowra the following day.
That day it was warm, we straightaway drove to the town, where the Peace Bell is located. The Australian World Peace Bell is a replica of the one that stands in the forecourt of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Peace Bell was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for its long standing contribution to world peace and international understanding. It is the only World Peace Bell in the world that is not located in a city. Some notes are provided for the visitors at the hut to understand the importance of the Peace Bell.
We drove next to the Bellevue Hill Lookout overlooking the scenic town of Cowra. It is one of the beautiful places to visit! At the bottom of the lookout there are playgrounds and free barbecues with lights that come on a night for an evening barbecue.
Japanese Garden, Cowra
Not far from the lookout is the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre. The garden is beautiful, fully landscaped and any visitor will definitely agree with me. The Garden’s designer, Ken Nakajima, created the Kaiyushiki (strolling) Garden to symbolise the Japanese landscape. The rocky hillside, manicured hedges, waterfalls and streams, and the two lakes provide a serene environment for a myriad of birdlife. Special features of the Garden include a Bonsho Bell, a traditional Edo Cottage, an authentic open air Tea House and a Bonsai House. All of these features contributed to the wealth of beauty the garden has. Opened in 1979, the multi award-winning Cowra Japanese Garden is a “must see” at any time of the year.
We also entered the cultural centre that showcases exhibitions of a variety of local and regional artists and has two galleries featuring an extensive collection of Japanese artworks and artifacts. These collections of arts could indeed make you feel the warmth of arts and culture of the Japanese people ranging from swords, to potteries and dolls.
Cowra POW Camp
We did have also the chance to visit the Cowra POW Camp. Temperature at that time were in the mid-30s and very humid. Cowra became famous because of its rich history during the World War II. Here, the famed mass breakout of Japanese prisoners of war during World War II in 1944 took place – one of the most dramatic episodes in Australia’s wartime history. Now, there are still few remnants of the buildings that were used inside the camp and without these remnants of buildings you may not believe that the place was once and formerly a POW camp. We concluded our tour of Cowra when we visited the war cemeteries which are not far from the POW Camp.
Before heading back to Sydney, we visited the Wyangala Dam, too. Below is a photo of the impounded river with a beautiful lookout. The dam was constructed in 1928 and now it continuously provide irrigation to agriculture across the valley around Cowra, Forbes, Condobolin and Hillston. The lake is known as a popular sport and recreation destination.