To the north of Mount Canobolas, near Orange are the Wellington Valley and the rich pastoral area along the Bell and Macquarie Rivers. Visit Lake Burrendong and the Arboretum or the Wellington Caves.
Orange-Wellington loop via Burrendong Way 95 km.
Explore the villages and roads from the Cobb & Co. days by travelling the Burrendong Way from Orange to Wellington. Many of the Cobb & Co. changing stations, inns and post offices are marked as localities and road names, the buildings no longer surviving on the landscape. Look for Kerr’s Creek, Farnham, Shepherds Creek - each a place in the Cobb & Co. story.
Visit Ophir, the site of Australia’s first gold rush in 1851. Travel to Stuart Town, immortalised by AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson in his poem The Man from Ironbark. Take time to discover the history of Wellington from the Lion of Waterloo Hotel at Montefiores, to the old buildings that mark the string of changing stations along the Wellington Valley that were used in the late 1800s by the coaches and teamsters.
Wellington-Orange loopvia Mitchell Highway 105 km.
Return to Orange along the Mitchell Highway through the former coaching towns of Neurea, Larras Lea and Molong.
Orange became the home of Cobb & Co. director WF Whitney. He ran the Cobb & Co. booking office located in the Royal Hotel. The hotel, remodelled in the 1930s in an art deco style, caters for today’s traveller. Opposite the hotel is Robertson Park and the Whitney Fountain. The fountain was donated by the employees of Cobb & Co. in NSW and Queensland. Obtain a copy of the Orange Heritage Walk Guide from the Visitor Information Centre and explore the city’s heritage and history.
Take a drive to Ophir, the site of Australia’s first gold rush. Coaches were used as gold escorts to transfer the gold from Ophir to Bathurst or Sydney. Tour the Gunadoo Mine - or call in to the Gold Nugget Tea House. Gold mining relics and the old cemetery are reminders of the past. The present offers fossicking, bushwalking and picnic spots. Details of walking tracks and road conditions are available from the Orange Visitor Information Centre.
3. Stuart Town
The area reflects a history of alluvial and reef mining of gold. The village’s buildings provide a glimpse of the past. The town was originally called Ironbark - AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson immortalised the town in his poem The Man from Ironbark. Cobb & Co. provided the mail service to Ironbark and travelled the road from Orange to Wellington following a road alignment through the landscape that was known as the Simpson Line - named after surveyor Simpson.
The Lion of Waterloo Hotel at Montefiores, on the north west side of Wellington, was a changing station for the coach teams. The old building has been restored and still operates as a hotel. Take a walk through the park opposite the hotel and discover the story of the last pistol duel held in Wellington. Cobb & Co. had a booking office and stables in the centre of Wellington, however the story goes that the customers of the adjacent Bank of NSW complained about the odour of the stables - Cobb & Co. moved the premises.
5. Bakers Swamp
The old coaching road traversed the Wellington Valley. A coach changing station was sited near the Bakers Swamp locality. Visit the local art galleries at Bakers Swamp and experience the talent of these artists who specialise in Australian landscapes and buildings.
Previously called Bell River City, Molong was a coach stop for a number of coaching firms. The Coach House in Gidley Street remains from the hotel that contained the Cobb & Co. booking office. The local craft shop, The Yarn Market, uses the coach house for exhibitions. Discover Molong by following the Heritage Walk. Brochures are available from the Visitor Information Centre.
Royal Hotel Orange
Re-enactment Orange 1988
Station Ruins Mullion Creek
The road to Ophir Reserve includes an unsealed section. Check with the Orange Visitor Information Centre about the suitability of your vehicle for the trip.