CALLING ALL FUN LOVING ADVENTURERS & EXPLORERS:
Join us over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (Friday 7 to Monday 10 June 2019) for a 4-day curated and hosted travel experience by train from Sydney to Orange, where we’ll recreate the infamous Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert & Ben Hall bushranger gang’s epic 1863 takeover of a local pub in the historic village of Canowindra. While Robinson’s Inn no longer exists, we’ll be locking ourselves into the Royal Hotel, built in 1910 on the exact spot of the original pub.
Will we be drinking and dancing for three entire days to emulate the original wild west party of 1863? Erm..not quite. There’s too much else to experience! But we will be having an excellent evening of local food, wine and music in the pub following a day of bushranging in nearby surrounding villages.
Our tour experience will kick-off on Friday night with a private screening of ‘The Legend of Ben Hall’ directed by Matthew Holmes at the art-deco Amusu Theatre in the village of Manildra, followed by dinner and a wine-tasting in a woolshed on a vineyard.
On Saturday we will have a guided bushrangers tour with local historian Craig Lawler, starting with a walking tour of Canowindra and then visiting the bushranger gang’s nearby Bald Hill lookout (now conveniently just above a winery), then onto Croote Cottage in Goolagong where they hid from the law (we’ll have lunch in the garden instead), and finally to Eugowra Rocks – scene of one of their most daring escapades in 1862 holding up a stage coach and robbing it of £14,000 in cash and gold, making it the biggest robbery in Australia’s history at the time. We’ll make it back to Canowindra just in time to be locked into the pub as Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and Ben Hall roll into town by horseback. The first shout is on them, and these colourful raconteurs will prop up the bar with us for an evening of music, food, as well as local craft beer, cider and wine.
Sunday we will be visiting the historic goldrush villages of Millthorpe and Carcoar, for a day of boutique shopping, devonshire tea, a pub lunch and wine tastings at cellar doors. You’ll have a free evening for dinner with your travelling companions.
To slow down the pace, we are giving you a free day to explore Orange on your own on Monday morning, with a group farewell lunch before the train departs for Sydney at 4pm.
Your package will include return train fares and accommodation at a charisma-laden and centrally-located boutique hotel in Orange, breakfast inclusive each day. All guided tours, wine-tastings, most meals (except a free evening on Sunday night) and all events are also included. Return transfers by bus from Orange to Manildra, Canowindra, Millthorpe and Carcoar as well as all tour transfers each day.
We will have fly or self-drive ticket options, and a very special one-day ticket for locals and visitors who’d like to join us for our Saturday bushranger day and pub lock-in only. Details available early 2019.
Note from Kelly:
I’m really excited about this tour concept – it’s been a long held dream of mine to bring to life our local historic goldrush villages and bushranger history with an event that will blow everyone’s minds. I just wasn’t sure how to do it. Imagine my delight when I discovered the story about local ‘gentleman bushranger’ Ben Hall and his gang ‘holding up’ one of our local pubs in the nearby village of Canowindra in 1863. The gang rolled in from Bathurst after a successful hold-up there, and hustled everyone in the village into Robinson’s Inn as ‘hostages’ where they hosted a three-day jubilant spree of drinking, dancing and games. These guys knew how to party – they ended up spending the entire loot they’d just robbed. I have to confess, it’s this part I love the most. They were proving a point that they weren’t just wild bandits or outlaws. They were true gentlemen of the people. Not entirely true, they were completely out for themselves – but the townsfolk of Canowindra still love them to this day.
Photo of Robinson’s Inn courtesy of Canowindra Historical Society.
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