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The central west NSW town of Forbes will surprise outdoor-loving families who spend some time visiting there, due to the plethora of adventures it offers. From mountain biking, to fishing, to paddling and camping, this town, only around five hours drive from Sydney, provides an awesome three-day weekend (or longer) escape. 

Forbes: Mountain biking heaven

For mountain bikers, the 29km of trails in Back Yamma State Forest are an absolute must-explore. These trails are about 40 minutes east of town, via the Escort Way, then left on to Parkes-Eugowra Road. For families who love their bike riding, it’s hard to beat staying in Forbes itself (there are some brilliant accommodation options in town) or out at this 4,400-hectare state forest, camped right next to those trails. The forest’s trail network itself is comprised of Green and Blue grade trails, making it ideal for the very young shredders in your family, through to the more experienced riders. The trails are also known for being relatively flat and slightly undulating, meaning they are fast – perfect for the experienced rider to test their skills on. 

So how does a remote trail network, next to one of Central NSW’s coolest towns, become so highly regarded by Aussie mountain bikers? Well, for a number of years it has been the location of the Back Yamma Big Foot mountain bike race, with competitors ranging from parents and their kids, through to (in previous years) Jason English, the then-current 24-hour Solo Mountain Bike World Champion. If you’re keen to camp in Back Yamma State Forest, you can do so for free – there are no camp fees. The state forest is also pet-friendly (you can bring your trail dog if you want!) and there are gas barbecues at the campground.

Water, water everywhere

Other outdoor playgrounds found in Forbes are its waterways, including the Forbes Ski Dam, in town itself, and the Lachlan River. As well as a swim in the lake,  you can fish and paddle there, too. Plus, there’s the option of exploring the 10km of walking and cycling paths that surround it.

Fishing is popular at Forbes, with the Lachlan River offering a number of excellent spots at which to try to catch some dinner.

This path features lighting (solar-powered) for a night walk if you so desire, and there is a barbecue area there, too. The Lachlan River gives you the chance to drop a line in and try and catch dinner, or you can tackle some water skiing along this famous waterway. Alternatively, you can lower the pace a bit and explore the river in a canoe or kayak.  

The magical Gum Swamp Wetland is a must-visit when you are in Forbes. Very close to town, there are bird hides and 1.5km of boardwalk and pathways around it.

If you need a break from all that pedalling and paddling, don’t forget that Forbes is home to the Gum Swamp Wetland, an ephemeral wetland that offers a habitat for loads of native wildlife and vegetation. This pristine area is only four kilometres south-west of the town centre, just off the Newell Highway (via Greens Road). The wetland has includes three new double-storey bird hides, on the edge of the swamp, and there’s 1.5km of accessible boardwalk and pathways. And yeah, we agree; three days here is not nearly enough!

See Amazing Forbes for more info on this fantastic Central NSW destination.