A tempting country escape awaits in the historic township of Camden. Walk the charming streets, and you’ll find gorgeous green spaces and heritage buildings that hint at the town’s historical significance. There are also vintage aircraft flights, mountain bike tracks and abundant local produce, all only an hours’ drive from the city.
Things to do
Get acquainted with the town and its history by visiting the convict-built Belgenny Farm on Camden Park Estate. Established by John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1805, it’s one of Australia’s oldest set of intact farm buildings, and offers an insight into how the colony was fed and clothed back in the day. The estate's colonial garden is also worth exploring.
Camden Park House, completed in 1835, is a Palladian-style mansion that's still occupied by descendants of the Macarthurs. It's open to the public one weekend a year in September, during the Camden Festival. You can also learn about the district’s colonial and Aboriginal heritage at the Camden Museum, found inside the Camden Library. A walk through the quaint town centre for a spot of antique shopping is also a must.
Macarthur Park is a sprawling green space, which includes heritage rose gardens and wisteria walks. The nearby Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is the nation’s biggest botanic garden and home to lakes, outdoor sculptures, walking trails and a mountain bike track. For something a little more lo-fi, play a round of golf at the Camden Golf Club.
Other great attractions include paintballing and the Alan Baker Art Gallery. For more fun activities, check out the events calendar, which features the Camden Show, a traditional agricultural show. As part of the annual Camden Festival, Camden Town Farm hosts the annual Taste Food, Wine and Music Festival.
With the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains to the west and the city skyline to the east, the area is perfect for aerial tours. With something for all tastes and thrill levels, choose from a dual-seat aircraft with Southern Cross Gliding Club, an aerobatic flight with Air Combat Australia or a vintage aircraft with Camden Aviation. For a more tranquil airborne experience, jump on a hot-air balloon with Balloon Aloft.
Eat & drink
A great way to savour the region's abundant local produce is by browsing the bustling Camden Fresh Produce Market, held every Saturday in a picturesque rural setting. You’ll find a delicious range of farm produce and locally-made gourmet treats. There are also boutique wine producers such as Razorback Ridge Wines to visit.
Enjoy a range of restaurants, such as Luigi’s, The Italian Food Project, Pronto Pizza and Enzo’s for Italian; Bep Be Map and Phuong's Vietnamese Cuisine for Asian fare; or Samadhi Whole Foods for delicious vegetarian. For pretty views, you can't beat the setting of Melaleuca House, right in the middle of the Australian Botanic Garden.
More casual options include Burger Frank and Barenz, while the Narellan Hotel and Camden Hotel are popular local pubs. If you’re after coffee and cake, head to cafés The House of Art and Back Galley Cafe.
Camden is accessible by public transport from the city centre, with the train and bus journey taking roughly two hours. But it's worth taking the leisurely hour's drive so you have a car to explore the pretty area on the Camden Scenic Drive.