Well before it became a gathering place for motor racing enthusiasts, the Mount was an important part of the local Wiradjuri tribe's culture. The Mount was called ‘Waluu', which means ‘to watch over' and it was from the vantage points now known as Skyline & McPhillamy Park that the young Wiradjuri men would watch over their land and the movements of travellers to and from the valley.
Mount Panorama began as a dirt-track/tourist-drive carved out of the bald hills around the bustling city of Bathurst in the mid 1930s. The Council of the time, specifically Mayor Martin Griffin, had a vision for a premier motor racing circuit with the sharp hills, hairpin bends and a fast downhill straight that would inspire awe and demand respect from all who took up the challenge for years to come. Strong support from the New South Wales Light Car Club, Auto Cycle Union and the Federal Government, through a national employment relief scheme, saw this vision become a reality. On 17 March 1938 Mayor Martin Griffin declared the Mount Panorama Scenic Drive open. He always knew that the road was going to be used for motor racing but Depression Era funds weren't easy to come by, so he had to create a ruse. At Easter 1938 the first races were held and except for the war (WWII), have been run ever since.
Mount Panorama is indisputably a Mecca for motor racing fans all over Australia and around the world. On 16 April 1938, Mount Panorama attracted an overwhelming 20,000 spectators to its first race, The Australian Tourist Trophy.
The Pits - Early YearsPhotographs of the early days of racing on Mount Panorama show the crowd leaning over wire fences, vehicles on dirt tracks, officials in canvas tents, and drivers with gloves, goggles and jacket, but no helmet. The facilities at Mount Panorama were non-existent during this time, with nothing more than dirt and some lines marking out a pit space for each car.
Of more recent times, Mount Panorama has undergone some serious refurbishment to ensure the legacy of this icon lives on for generations to come. The spiritual home of Australian motorsport has been well and truly established through the staging of 46 consecutive Bathurst 1000 races (formerly 500). The Mount has seen drivers come and drivers go, with few ever completely dominating the merciless curves and unforgiving straights. In 2006, 194,000 spectators turned out not only to witness Craig Lowndes edge out Rick Kelly for his 2nd Bathurst title, but also to farewell one of the best racing car drivers Australia has ever produced - Peter Brock, King of the Mountain. Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are so far the only drivers to win the new Peter Brock trophy, winning all three Bathurst 1000 races since its introduction.Courtesy: Mount Panorama.
The Bathurst 12 Hour, currently known as the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour for sponsorship reasons, is an endurance race for GT and production cars held at the Mount Panorama Circuit, in Bathurst, Australia. It is an annual race, taking place every February. The race was first held in 1991 for Series Production cars and moved to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway in 1995 before being discontinued. The race was revived in 2007, again for production cars, before adding a new class for GT3 and other GT cars in 2011. This has led to unprecedented domestic and international exposure for the event. In all, eighteen races have taken place; seventeen at Mount Panorama and one at Eastern Creek Raceway.
Bathurst and Mount Panorama are located roughly 2.5 hours west of Sydney. The fastest route is through the Blue Mountains on the Great Western Highway.Bathurst also has a direct route to the ACT via Cowra and Boorowa. It takes around 3.5 hours to get to Canberra.
N.B: Please note that the Blue Mountains do become busier during weekends, especially Sunday afternoons heading back to Sydney. At the end of the Race on Sunday, the roads are so packed that it can take up to 5 hours to return to Sydney.
Bathurst has a medium-sized regional airport located at the outlying suburb of Raglan, roughly 10 minutes from the Bathurst CBD. Regional Express (or REX) services Bathurst twice daily. Flight time is approximately 40mins depending on weather.
Local buses and taxis are available to ferry passengers to a desired location. The airport also has rent-a-car companies based there for those booking a hire car for the duration of their stay.
Regional Express website
Countrylink has daily XPT trains to Bathurst from Sydney Central with selected stops in between. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours.
CityRail has a daily return service (Bathurst Bullet) from Sydney to Bathurst. Trains also travel to Lithgow numerous times during the day, and passengers can book to continue to Bathurst via Coach. Prior bookings for coaches are essential and seats do fill up.
Both train and coaches stop at the Bathurst Railway Station, located at the bottom of Keppel Street. Local buses and taxi are available ferry passengers to a desired location.
Australia Wide Coaches has a daily bus that travels to and from Sydney. The coach originates in neighbouring Orange, and does require passengers to pre-book their seats for collection in Bathurst. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours.
Australia Wide Coaches website
Orange (1 hours away), Lithgow (45mins away), Oberon (45mins away) or Blayney (30mins away). Mudgee is about 1hour 40mins away. Personally, I wouldn't like to be driving the Sofala road at 2am dodging all the wild life to make the 5:30am start.
|Dogwood BX - 87 Keppel Street, Bathurst - PHONE.
Owner and bartender Evan Stanley has worked in some of Australia’s top cocktail bars and offers a mix of traditional and bespoke cocktail creations. If you're a fan of Americana, you'll definitely love it here.
|Vine & Tap - 142 William Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6358 0875.
Bathurst's own slice of Italy. Grab a table in the courtyard, order a selection of Italian share plates and relax with a glass of Vine & Tap’s range of specialty local and imported wines, beers and cocktails.
|Church Bar - 1 Ribbon Gang Lane, Bathurst NSW 2795 - PHONE.
The pizzas are famous at this local favourite and you’ll find a mix of residents from the town dining here at any given time. Afternoons are best spent in the sunny outside courtyard. Kids and dogs are allowed.
|Jack Duggans - 135 George Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 2712.
Fancy an Irish feed and a cold Guinness? Then head straight to Jack Duggans, an old style Irish pub that is a great place any night of the week but particularly on weekends when talented local musicians get everyone up and dancing.
|The George Hotel - 201 George Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 3399.
Living proof that pubs can be modern and sophisticated, The George Hotel offers award-winning craft beers, an extensive wine list and a menu with European flair courtesy of executive head chef Matthew Hayden.
|Panorama Bathurst - 51 Durham Street Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 2666.
Perfectly convenient, located right in the heart of Bathurst, enjoy a relaxing meal prepared by the award winning chef in the @Panorama Bathurst bistro offering fresh, seasonal and delicious food with friendly service and a great vibe.
|O’Connell Hotel - 2408 O’Connell Street, O’Connell NSW 2795 - +61 2 6337 5745.
If a little drive out of town to see the countryside is what you are after, the O’Connell Hotel is the perfect place to stop for lunch before exploring the surrounding areas of the Bathurst region.
|Cobblestone Lane - 173 George Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 2202.
Romance is always in the air at Cobblestone Lane, who use the freshest ingredients from local sources to create a European-inspired menu and showcase the region’s best cool climate varietals with a predominantly local wine list.
|Lo's Rose Garden Chinese - Shop 12, 82 George Street Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6332 2882.
Enjoy a mouth watering selection of Chinese food in the comfort of Lo's Rose Garden Chinese Restaurant, located opposite King's Parade next door to Annie's Ice Cream. Select from an extensive and authentic menu range or simply drop in for the lunch time buffet.
|Restaurant 9inety 2w0 - 92 Bentwick Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 1757.
Modern French and Australian cuisine is fused together perfectly at Restaurant 9inety 2wo. Set in a beautiful 1877 heritage building, the warm ambience offers the perfect setting for an intimate dinner, while groups can enjoy a cosy feed in the leafy courtyard.
|Maalouf’s - 52 George Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 1477.
Get your Mediterranean fix in country Australia at Maalouf’s with a range of fresh, healthy and tasty dishes to enjoy from zesty tabouli, Fattoush salads, smoky hummus and labneh dips, or plates of kafta and Shawarma.
|The Birdie & Eagle Bistro - 136 Vittoria Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 4144 .
Enjoy live music and a hearty feed at the Bathurst Golf Club. Their menu includes woodfire pizza, delicious burgers, juicy steaks and pasta. They are open for lunch and dinner, and a kid’s menu is also available.
|Anam - 10/177 Howick Street, Bathurst NSW 2795 - +61 2 6331 9008.
Let the streets of Vietnam entice you at this hidden gem tucked behind the Bathurst Chase Plaza. Anam is the place to go to for pho (beef noodle soup), or try one of the rice dishes, popular soups or specialty dishes.
|Rydges Mount Panorama Bathurst||1 Conrod Straight, Mount Panorama NSW 2795||+61|
|Abercrombie Motor Inn||362 Stewart Street, Bathurst NSW 2795||+61|
|Bathurst Explorers Motel||357 Stewart Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 02 6331 2966|
|Bathurst Heritage Motor Inn||102 Stewart Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6334 3433|
|Bathurst Motor Inn||87 Durham Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 2222|
|Ben Chifley Motor Inn||272 Stewart Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61|
|Best Western Coachman's Inn Motel||1 Littlebourne Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 4855|
|Country Lodge Motor Inn||145 William Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61|
|Family Hotel||76 Bentinck Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 1353|
|Gold Panner Motor Inn||260 Sydney Road Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 4444|
|Governor Macquarie Motor Inn||19 Charlotte Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 2211|
|Kings Hotel||60 George Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 1852|
|Panorama Bathurst||51 Durham Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61|
|Quality Hotel||344 Stewart Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6332 1800|
|The George Hotel||201 George Street Bathurst NSW 2795||+61 2 6331 3399|