Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Lachlan Valley, Cowra is a hidden gem in the Central West region of New South Wales. From its rich history to its stunning natural beauty, this town has plenty to offer for visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you’re looking to explore the region’s vineyards, soak up some culture, or get up close and personal with some Australian wildlife, Cowra has something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable Australian experience, read on to discover the top things to do in Cowra.
History of Cowra
The Town of Cowra is located in eastern central New South Wales, Australia. It was the site of a prisoner of war camp during World War II. The POW camp had four compounds, each roughly circular, divided by internal causeways and a Broadway road. The first three compounds held Italian and Japanese prisoners captured during the North African campaigns. Compound D housed Japanese officers and Korean labourers forced to work for the Japanese.
Early maps of the town show the area was named Cowra-Rocks. Early settlers devoted large tracts of land to cattle, sheep, and horses, as the climate was unsuitable for growing wheat and timber. However, the population of the town remained low and supplies were scarce. In 1851, a ford needed to be crossed. Geo. Tindal hired a ferryman, who would cross the creek for 2/6 per head.
Cowra Japanese Garden
If you are looking for a unique place to spend some time, consider visiting the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre in Cowra, New South Wales. This cultural centre is located on five acres of land and was built to celebrate the connection of the Cowra Shire with Japan. The Japanese culture and garden has been an important part of Cowra for many years, and the garden offers many different opportunities for visitors to learn more about the Japanese culture.
The location of the Cowra Japanese Garden is quite unique, as it is located near the only Japanese War cemetery outside of Japan. The Japanese believed that the dead must return to their place of birth, and the garden was built as a fitting tribute. The garden was originally planned as an old park, but Don Kibbler, the community leader who proposed the project, was moved by the story and a member of the Order of Australia in 2009.
Cowra Prisoner of War Camp
If you have never been to the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp, you may wonder what it’s all about. The camp was established by the British Military Board in 1941 to house Italian soldiers captured in Egypt during World War II. The camp housed over 2000 prisoners, most of them Italian, and Japanese prisoners were also held in the camp between 1944 and 1945. The Italian prisoners were forced to work on farms during the day, and their contributions to the local food culture are reflected in the town’s modern cooking.
The original gates of the POW camp can be viewed by visitors. This historic site is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register, entry number 00619, published by the Office of Environment and Heritage. During your visit, you can learn about the history of the camp and the infamous Cowra breakout. While visiting the camp, be sure to listen to the reenactments of the breakout, which were carried out by the prisoners themselves.
Australia’s World Peace Bell
The Australian World Peace Bell is a replica of the Japanese Peace Bell located in the inner court of the United Nations headquarters in New York. Cast from melted coins and medals, the bell weighs 477 kilograms and has a diameter of 60 cm. The Bell is dedicated to world peace on 15 September 1992. To visit the World Peace Bell, visitors are welcome to ring the bell and learn about the history and significance of world peace.
The peace bell will be rung on September 3 every year on Civic Square in Cowra. The event is held to commemorate World Peace Day, which was established in 1945 after the opening of the United Nations’ Disarmament Commission. The peace bell will now be called the Rotary Peace Bell Albury-Wodonga. A letter to the local Rotary Club of Wodonga West member Ian Brown pointed out that only one World Peace Bell is rung per country, and that Australia’s designated ringer lives in Cowra.
Japanese War Cemetery
In the Central West region of New South Wales, Cowra has a small town and a large Japanese War Cemetery. The cemetery is located near the Canowindra road, north of the town. It was consecrated in 1964, and contains 523 graves of Japanese POWs, internees, and civilians. Despite its name, the cemetery is the only one of its kind in Australia.
The database contains information about individual burial plots in the Japanese War Cemetery in Cowra. The information provided includes details about the Japanese prisoners of war, civilian internees, and a small number of Taiwanese. Among the information included are the causes of death, military rank, and movement histories. The database is free to search and download, and is an excellent resource for historians and researchers. There are also numerous links to other Japanese war cemeteries in Australia.
The Cowra Japanese War Cemetery contains the graves of a large number of Japanese POWs. Prior to the Breakout, these men were buried in separate graves. After the war, the local RSL tended to the Japanese graves. In 1956, the Japanese government proposed the establishment of a Japanese War Cemetery in Australia and the Australian Government agreed. Those graves include those of Japanese Airmen who were shot down or crashed over northern Australia.
Cowra Regional Art Gallery
Opened in 2000, the Cowra Regional Art Gallery aims to foster the appreciation of visual arts throughout the community. The gallery has a varied program of exhibitions, educational activities, and public events. The current exhibition program includes touring significant historical exhibitions, curated projects, and permanent collection exhibitions. Education activities include guest speakers, educational activities for local school groups, and innovative workshops for children. Check out the website for the latest information.
The Cowra Regional Art Gallery is a wonderful cultural destination in the area. Featuring local artists, contemporary Australian artists, and contemporary works of art, this gallery is a great place to spend a day. It is also home to a popular museum store where visitors can purchase greeting cards and local art publications. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, and closed Mondays. CRAG is free to enter and admission is free.
Bellevue Hill Reserve and Lookout
If you’re looking for some breathtaking scenery, you should make your way up to Bellevue Hill Reserve and Lookout. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the city and the surrounding area. This 5.5km walk takes 90 minutes and has spectacular views. While you’re up there, take the time to check out the Japanese Garden and the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. You can also check out the Lachlan Valley Railway Museum and the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.
The views from this vantage point are breathtaking, especially during sunrise or sunset. There’s plenty of space to park a caravan or a trailer, and picnic tables are available for free. There are also public toilets and barbecue facilities available for use. And if you bring your family, you can also enjoy the view from the lookout. You’ll be glad you took the time to go there!
Cowra Railway Station
Located in the town of Cowra, Australia, the former railway station of the same name is a must-visit destination for rail-lovers. Situated on the Blayney-Demondrille railway line, the station is one of the most historic locations in the area. Despite its recent redevelopment, the station still retains much of its former charm. Listed below are a few things you can do at Cowra Railway Station, including a guided tour and a look at the heritage site.
Located on a hillside, the Ironbark Walking Track is a pleasant 90-minute walk. Featuring great views of the town and the Lachlan River, the track offers breathtaking panoramas of the Cowra Valley and the nearby Cherry Creek Gully. Red lines etched into the cliff faces are a reminder of the Conimbla Range. The town was home to the Wiradjuri Aboriginal language group long before European settlement began. On 27 May 1815, George Wilson Evans passed by the townsite. James Sloan brought cattle across from Bathurst to the area and Arthur Rankin became the first white settlers on the Lachlan River.
Best Places to eat in Cowra
Cowra is a charming town in the Central West region of New South Wales that is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich history. But the town has much more to offer than just its picturesque surroundings – it’s also home to a vibrant and diverse food scene that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From cozy cafes to fine dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Cowra. So, if you’re a foodie looking for a new culinary adventure, here are some of the best places to eat in Cowra.
- The Quarry Restaurant & Cellar Door Located in the historic Railway Precinct, The Quarry Restaurant & Cellar Door is one of Cowra’s most popular dining spots. The restaurant offers a modern Australian menu that focuses on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their wine list is also impressive, featuring a range of local wines and craft beers.
- The Oxley Wine Bar & Kitchen The Oxley Wine Bar & Kitchen is a chic and contemporary dining spot that offers an extensive wine list and a menu of modern Australian cuisine with an Asian twist. Their small plates and share plates are perfect for a group or a romantic date night.
- Cowra Services Club Cowra Services Club is a local institution that offers a range of dining options, including a cafe, bistro, and a fine dining restaurant. The bistro is particularly popular for its hearty meals and affordable prices, while the fine dining restaurant is perfect for a special occasion.
- The Bakehouse on Melyra The Bakehouse on Melyra is a cozy cafe that serves up delicious breakfasts, lunches, and sweet treats. Their menu features a range of classic cafe dishes, as well as some unique and inventive options.
- Cowra Thai Restaurant For something a little different, Cowra Thai Restaurant is a great choice. The restaurant serves up authentic Thai cuisine that is both flavorful and affordable. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and is perfect for a casual dinner with friends.
The Best Places to Stay in Cowra
Cowra is a charming town in the Central West region of New South Wales that is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in Cowra. From cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels, here are some of the best places to stay in Cowra.
- Cowra Motor Inn Located on the edge of town, the Cowra Motor Inn offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in a convenient location. The motel has a range of room types to suit all needs, including family rooms and spa rooms. The property also features a swimming pool, barbecue facilities, and a licensed restaurant.
- The Vineyard Motel If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat surrounded by vineyards and countryside, The Vineyard Motel is a great option. The motel offers comfortable and spacious rooms with views of the surrounding countryside. The property also features a swimming pool, barbecue facilities, and a restaurant serving up delicious local cuisine.
- Cowra Holiday Park For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Cowra Holiday Park offers affordable cabin and camping options. The park is located on the banks of the Lachlan River and features a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, playground, and barbecue facilities.
- Aalana Motor Inn Aalana Motor Inn is a family-owned and operated motel that offers friendly service and comfortable rooms. The motel has a range of room types to suit all needs, including family rooms and spa rooms. The property also features a swimming pool, barbecue facilities, and a licensed restaurant.
- Meran House Bed and Breakfast For a more unique accommodation experience, Meran House Bed and Breakfast offers cozy rooms in a heritage-listed building. The bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Cowra and is within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The property also features a beautiful garden and a delicious breakfast is included in your stay.
10 Interesting facts about Cowra NSW
- Cowra is a small town located in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia.
- Cowra is located about 260 kilometers west of Sydney and is known for its rural landscape, including rolling hills and fertile farmland.
- Cowra is located in the Lachlan River valley and is surrounded by several national parks, including the Cowra Regional Botanic Garden, which is home to over 2,000 species of plants.
- Cowra is home to a number of historic landmarks, including the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, which was built to commemorate the Cowra breakout, a World War II event in which hundreds of Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a POW camp.
- Cowra is known for its wine industry and is home to several wineries and vineyards. The Cowra Wine Region is known for producing a range of wine varieties, including chardonnay, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon.
- Cowra is home to a number of sporting facilities, including the Cowra Golf Course, the Cowra Leagues Club, and the Cowra Aquatic Centre.
- Cowra is home to the Cowra Japanese Festival, an annual event that celebrates Japanese culture and the friendship between Australia and Japan. The festival features a range of activities, including traditional Japanese performances, food stalls, and craft demonstrations.
- Cowra is home to the Cowra Show, an annual agricultural show that has been held in the town since 1876. The show features a range of activities, including livestock exhibitions, horse riding events, and craft displays.
- Cowra is located in the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri people, who have a long and rich history in the region.
- Cowra is located on the main road between Sydney and Melbourne, and is a popular stop for travelers passing through the region.