When it comes to a roadtrip, nothing quite beats snaking along the coastline, dropping in to hidden beaches and sleepy cafes to fuel the journey along the way.
But a recent day trip to the NSW Central West played as a welcome reminder of just how much is on offer away from coastal stops.
From Bathurst to Blayney, Millthorpe to Mudgee – the strip of road that winds between Oberon and the even sleepier township of Taralga provided a slice of scenery at every turn. And with a bit of luck, you’ll have most of the drive all to yourself.
To mark the launch of the new Lexus IS, my journey started at the accommodation of Abercrombie Ridge, which is home to perhaps one of the most stunning outdoor spa baths you’ll find in the state.
Heading east towards Oberon along Taralga Road, little did I know I was in for a garden visit like no other.
Flanked by lush green pastures (yes, green thanks to La Niña) and almost next to no one else on the road, the 90-minute journey bends and winds through some of the state’s most picturesque countryside.
With the Blue Mountains sitting on the horizon, you’ll momentarily feel as if you’re driving through Alpine country given most of the journey is through the pine-filled Vulcan State Forest. The pine trees extend as far as the eye can see, and while my journey was at the beginning of summer, winter in the region marks for a sensational stop. But be sure you adhere to road safety measures, especially as the area tends to get regular dumpings of snow.
But the standout along the route is easily a garden hidden on the backstreets of nearby township Oberon.
Known as Mayfield Gardens, the stunning landscape is made up of two main areas to explore; Mayfield Garden and the Hawkins’ Family Garden. Together, the gardens make up a total of 65-hectares of spectacular cool climate landscape.
The Water Garden is one of the best spots of the property, and is the perfect spot for a few photos – especially during the spring season. Spanning across 2.5 hectares, there is an extensive display of colourful flowering bulbs – making late in the year the best time to visit.
The summer flowers create a stunning contrast with the water lilies found throughout the Water Garden ponds, with the distant Blue Mountains the perfect backdrop.
Getting around the gardens in thirsty work, so be sure to slip in to the on-site cafe for a locally sourced cheese plate or even a cuppa for the drive home. But trust me, you won’t want to leave.
The writer visited Abercrombie Ridge and Mayfield Garden as a guest of Lexus for the launch of the Lexus IS sedan.