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Top 11 Things To Do in Portland, NSW Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

18/08/2023
10 mins read
Portland, NSW Australia
Source: Destination NSW

Nestled in the heart of New South Wales, Australia, Portland is a charming town brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. Located approximately 150 km west of Sydney, this enchanting destination offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to all interests, from outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers to history buffs and foodies.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal the top things to do in Portland, NSW, a captivating destination that promises unforgettable adventures. Immerse yourself in the area’s rich heritage, explore its stunning landscapes, and embark on a remarkable journey through the captivating world of Portland, NSW.

Things To Do In Portland, NSW

1. The Foundations Portland – A Canvas of Creativity and Culture

The Foundations Portland is a vibrant cultural and tourism hub that brings art and history to life. Marvel at the impressive large-scale mural artwork that adorns the walls of the former cement works, showcasing the talents of both local and international artists. The Foundations also hosts monthly markets, where you can browse through a variety of stalls offering handmade crafts, local produce, and unique souvenirs.

In addition to the visual feast, The Foundations also features pop-up galleries and museums that delve into the region’s rich history and heritage. Attend workshops, exhibitions, and events that cater to a diverse range of interests, from photography to pottery. The Foundations Portland is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

  • Address: 67 Williwa St, Portland NSW 2847, Australia
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Portland
  • Opening Hours: Open daily, but specific events and markets may have different hours. Check their website for details.

2. Jannei Goat Dairy – A Taste of Farm Life and Artisan Cheese

Indulge your taste buds at Jannei Goat Dairy, a local farm that specializes in producing high-quality goat cheese. Learn about the cheese-making process during a guided tour of the farm, where you’ll witness the care and attention that goes into crafting each delicious morsel. Meet the friendly goats that provide the milk for these artisanal cheeses, and gain an appreciation for sustainable farming practices.

After the tour, treat yourself to a cheese tasting, where you can sample a variety of Jannei’s award-winning products. From creamy chevre to tangy cheddar, there’s a cheese to suit every palate. Don’t forget to pick up some of your favorites from the farm shop to enjoy later or share with friends and family back home.

  • Address: 11 View St, Lidsdale NSW 2790, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 9.5 km (15-minute drive) from Portland
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as it is an indoor activity

3. Lake Wallace – A Serene Escape for Nature Lovers

Escape to the tranquil beauty of Lake Wallace, a picturesque body of water that offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Pack a picnic and find the perfect spot along the shoreline, where you can relax and take in the stunning views. The lake is also a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, with abundant fish species waiting to be caught.

Birdwatchers will delight in the variety of birdlife that calls Lake Wallace home, making it an ideal location for spotting native species and capturing memorable photographs. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an active day out, Lake Wallace provides the perfect setting for a memorable experience.

  • Address: Barton Ave, Wallerawang NSW 2845, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 12 km (15-minute drive) from Portland
  • Opening Hours: Open 24/7
  • Best time of the year: Spring and summer for water activities, but it’s a beautiful spot year-round

4. Blackfellows Hand – A Glimpse into Aboriginal Heritage

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich Aboriginal heritage of the Blackfellows Hand site. This historic location features ancient rock art that offers a fascinating insight into the lives and beliefs of the region’s Indigenous people. Wander through the site and marvel at the intricate artwork that adorns the sandstone walls, depicting animals, handprints, and other symbolic imagery.

The Blackfellows Hand site is not only a testament to the artistic talents of the Aboriginal people but also serves as a reminder of the deep connection they share with the land. As you explore the site, take a moment to appreciate the cultural significance of this sacred place and the stories it holds.

  • Address: Blackfellows Hand Trail, Newnes Plateau NSW 2790, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 40 km (45-minute drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but avoid visiting during heavy rain or extreme heat

5. Bushwalking in Wollemi National Park – Discover Nature’s Wonders

Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the pristine wilderness of Wollemi National Park. With a diverse range of walking trails to choose from, there’s a path to suit every fitness level and interest. The Glow Worm Tunnel Walk takes you through a disused railway tunnel that’s now home to a mesmerizing display of bioluminescent glow worms. For a more challenging trek, the Nayook Canyon Bushtrack offers a thrilling journey through rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery.

The Deep Pass Trail is another popular option, leading hikers through lush rainforest and past cascading waterfalls. Keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, Wollemi National Park promises an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature.

  • Address: Wollemi National Park, New South Wales, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 60 km (1-hour drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and fewer insects

6. Abercrombie Caves – A Subterranean Wonderland

Venture beneath the earth’s surface and explore the awe-inspiring Abercrombie Caves. This spectacular cave system features a series of limestone formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones that have been shaped over millions of years. Embark on a guided tour to learn about the geological history of the caves and the unique features that make them so captivating.

In addition to the mesmerizing natural beauty, the Abercrombie Caves also hold historical significance, with evidence of early gold mining activities within the caves. Participate in a range of activities, such as adventure caving, fossicking, and even attending a concert in the stunning Cathedral Cave. A visit to the Abercrombie Caves promises an unforgettable experience for all ages.

  • Address: 2580 Trunkey Rd, Abercrombie NSW 2795, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 100 km (1.5-hour drive) from Portland
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, as the caves maintain a constant temperature

7. Carcoar – A Step Back in Time

Journey to the charming town of Carcoar, a National Heritage-listed destination that offers a glimpse into Australia’s past. Wander through the well-preserved streets and admire the historic architecture, including the Edmond Blacket Church and Courthouse. The town’s museums provide fascinating insights into the lives of early settlers and the region’s rich history.

Carcoar also hosts a range of events throughout the year, such as the Carcoar Village Fair and the Australia Day celebrations. These events showcase the town’s vibrant community spirit and provide a unique opportunity to experience local culture. Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a leisurely day out, Carcoar is a must-visit destination.

  • Address: Carcoar, New South Wales, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 80 km (1-hour drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather for outdoor exploration

8. Forbes Heritage Trail – A Walk Through History

Embark on a journey through time as you follow the Forbes Heritage Trail, a self-guided walk that takes you past some of the town’s most significant landmarks. Visit the grave of bushranger Ben Hall and learn about his notorious exploits, as well as the stories of other notable figures from the region’s past.

Forbes Heritage Trail
Source: Graeme Butler

The trail also highlights the town’s architectural heritage, with beautifully preserved buildings that showcase a range of styles from the Victorian era. As you wander through the streets of Forbes, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and stories that have shaped this charming town.

  • Address: Forbes, New South Wales, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 200 km (2.5-hour drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather for outdoor exploration

9. Cowra and Canowindra – History and Natural Wonders

Discover the captivating history and natural beauty of the towns of Cowra and Canowindra. In Cowra, visit the tranquil Cowra Japanese Garden, a stunning example of traditional Japanese landscaping that serves as a symbol of peace and friendship between Australia and Japan. The garden is particularly breathtaking during the cherry blossom season and autumn when the leaves change color.

In Canowindra, explore the fascinating Age of Fishes Museum, which showcases a unique collection of 360-million-year-old fish fossils. The museum offers a rare glimpse into the prehistoric world and the evolution of life on Earth. Both Cowra and Canowindra provide a delightful mix of history, culture, and natural beauty that will captivate visitors of all ages.

  • Address: Cowra and Canowindra, New South Wales, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 150 km (2-hour drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather for outdoor exploration

10. Breweries – Sample the Local Craft Beer Scene

Quench your thirst and sample the local craft beer scene at a selection of nearby breweries. Cosmo Brewing in Bathurst offers a range of unique brews, with a focus on quality ingredients and innovative flavors. Enjoy a tasting paddle and discover your new favorite beer in their welcoming taproom.

Rocks Brewing Co in Alexandria is another must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts. With a passion for traditional brewing techniques and a commitment to quality, Rocks Brewing Co produces a range of delicious beers that cater to a variety of tastes. Finally, don’t miss Wildflower Brewing & Blending in Sydney, where you can sample an array of wild ales and mixed fermentation beers that showcase the unique flavors of the Australian landscape.

  • Cosmo Brewing
    • Address: 2A Piper St, Bathurst NSW 2795, Australia
    • Distance from town: Approximately 45 km (40-minute drive) from Portland
    • Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday, check their website for specific hours
  • Rocks Brewing Co
    • Address: 160 Bourke Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
    • Distance from town: Approximately 160 km (2.5-hour drive) from Portland
    • Opening Hours: Open daily, check their website for specific hours
  • Wildflower Brewing & Blending
    • Address: 11-13 Brompton St, Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia
    • Distance from town: Approximately 160 km (2.5-hour drive) from Portland
    • Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday, check their website for specific hours

11. Blue Mountains – A World Heritage Wonderland

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage area that offers a wealth of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. With its dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and stunning waterfalls, the Blue Mountains provide a spectacular backdrop for hiking, abseiling, and canyoning adventures.

Popular trails include the Three Sisters Walk, which offers incredible views of the iconic rock formation, and the Wentworth Falls Track, where you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a cascading waterfall. For a more leisurely experience, take a scenic ride on the Katoomba Scenic Railway or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the landscape from the Scenic Skyway. The Blue Mountains is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

  • Address: Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 100 km (1.5-hour drive) from Portland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and beautiful scenery

Towns Nearby Portland, NSW

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Portland, NSW, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Portland, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Wallerawang, NSW (5.18 km from Portland): A small town known for its picturesque landscapes and the nearby Lake Wallace, which is a popular spot for picnicking, fishing, and birdwatching.
  2. Lithgow, NSW (25 km from Portland): A regional city with a rich industrial history, Lithgow offers attractions such as the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum, the Blast Furnace Park, and the Zig Zag Railway.
  3. Katoomba, NSW (100 km from Portland): Located in the heart of the Blue Mountains, Katoomba is home to the iconic Three Sisters rock formation, Scenic World, and numerous bushwalking trails.
  4. Bathurst, NSW (45 km from Portland): A historic city with a strong motorsports culture, Bathurst is known for the Mount Panorama Circuit, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
  5. Orange, NSW (200 km from Portland): A vibrant regional city famous for its food and wine scene, Orange offers a range of wineries, restaurants, and cafes, as well as the beautiful Cook Park and the Orange Botanic Gardens.
  6. Cowra, NSW (150 km from Portland): A town with a rich history, Cowra is home to the Cowra Japanese Garden, the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp, and the Cowra Breakout Memorial.
  7. Carcoar, NSW (80 km from Portland): A National Heritage-listed town, Carcoar offers a glimpse into Australia’s past with its well-preserved streets, historic architecture, and fascinating museums.

Getting To Portland, NSW

To get to Portland, NSW from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Sydney CBD:

  • By train: Take the Blue Mountains Line from Sydney Central Station to Lithgow Station. The journey takes approximately 3 hours. From Lithgow, you can take a taxi or a pre-booked shuttle service to Portland, which is about a 25-minute drive.
  • By car: Drive west on the M4 and continue onto the Great Western Highway (A32) towards Lithgow. From Lithgow, follow the Castlereagh Highway (A55) to Portland. The drive takes approximately 2.5 hours, depending on traffic.

From other nearby towns:

  • From Lithgow: Drive west on the Castlereagh Highway (A55) for about 25 minutes or 25 km.
  • From Bathurst: Drive east on the Great Western Highway (A32) and turn left onto the Castlereagh Highway (A55) towards Portland. The drive takes approximately 40 minutes or 45 km.
  • From Orange: Drive east on the Mitchell Highway (A32), turn right onto the Mid Western Highway (A41), and then turn left onto the Castlereagh Highway (A55) towards Portland. The drive takes approximately 2 hours or 200 km.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Transport for NSW website (https://transportnsw.info) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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