Discover Cowra and discover a wealth of experiences - the great outdoors, vineyards, adventure and hot air ballooning.
Cowra has a number of true country experiences from relaxing along the extensive waterways to exploring the tranquil Japanese Garden. Take a trip down memory lane and experience Cowra's fascinating history, from the days of steam trains to the largest Prisoner Of War breakout in modern military history.
Food and wine buffs can tour Cowra's boutique vineyards to sample the superb local food and wine available. Where better to enjoy fine wine and delicious food than right in the heart of where it is actually produced.
Cowra has a vibrant and expanding retail and commercial centre. It boasts the services you would expect to find in a larger town while still retaining that wonderful feeling of country hospitality.
The Australian World Peace Bell was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for its long standing contribution to world peace and international understanding. Capital cities usually reserve the right to erect the World Peace Bell, however Cowra's commitment to the World Peace Bell's objectives has meant Cowra was awarded the honour. The Bell is made of coins provided by 106 member countries of the United Nations, which were melted down and cast into the Bell.
The Cowra Civic Square now proudly houses the Bell. The Pavilion is decorated with pottery tiles reflecting the community's ideas about the World Peace Bell and its association with Cowra. An audio presentation explains the significance of the bell and its association with Cowra.
A ceremony is held on World Peace Day - 3rd Tuesday in September - to mark the opening of the Disarmament at the United Nations.
The Cowra Regional Art Gallery aims to engage our community and visitors from across Australia and overseas in cultural experiences that foster an awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts.
Cowra Regional Art Gallery offers audiences a diverse program of exciting and vibrant exhibitions, public events and educational activities. Exhibitions include significant historical and contemporary art touring exhibitions from state and national sources, CRAG-curated exhibitions with a regional focus and the showcase of selected works from the Gallery Collection.
The gallery’s program of public events includes guest speaker and artists’ floor talks; educational activities for local school groups; and innovative workshops for children and adults.
The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre is a registered cultural organisation, and is classified by the National Trust as ‘A place of Significant Cultural, Architectural and Historic Significance.'
It is also very important that this historic Garden and Cultural Centre is preserved for present and future generations.
The Board of Directors operates in an honorary capacity.
There are numerous Japanese Gardens throughout the world, however this Garden is more than just a Garden, it is a powerful symbol of good will, encouraging reconciliation and peace.
The Cowra Visitor Information Centre is an essential first stop for visitors to the Cowra region. Our centre is home to ‘Claire’ the local girl who tells her personal account of the Cowra Breakout through a fascinating hologram presentation. The hologram is a free theatre and continues to be as popular as ever with the 60,000 plus visitors our friendly team welcome each year.
Our centre is your one stop shop for local & regional information, maps, local produce, craft and now proudly over 40 varieties of local Cowra region wine. Why not select a bottle of award winning wine and some local produce to enjoy during your stay or better still, allow us to customise a hamper of local produce for you to enjoy during your stay.
The village of Wyangala is an absolute adventure playground. For starters, it’s the hub of Wyangala Waters Holiday & Recreation Park. There’s also a nine-hole golf course and tennis court available for visitors. After a day of fishing and water sports, you can relax with a meal and a drink at the Wyangala Country Club. Or pack a picnic and head to Dissipater Park, which is located right at the base of the dam wall. It’s a spectacular backdrop for any occasion.
The Wyangala Country Club is an Oasis much like Wyangala Dam itself. Located only 30 mins from Cowra and 1 hour 20 mins from Orange and Bathurst.
Enjoy the intimate atmosphere of a small club with friendly staff and patrons - striving to appeal to everyone. The club is a family-friendly establishment and children of all ages are most welcome under supervision.
Cowra Bridge Pylons are situated beneath the Lachlan River Bridge and feature aboriginal murals on the pylons. The murals were painted by local aboriginal artist, Kym Freeman and depict the history of the Wiradjuri people who inhabited the Cowra area prior to English settlement. The size of the murals and the attention to fine detail make them a must see when visiting Cowra. They are just a short walk from the Visitor Information Centre down towards the river.
At 1.50 am on the clear moonlit night of August 5, 1944, the largest Prisoner of War breakout in modern military history occurred at Cowra. More than 1000 Japanese prisoners launched a mass 'suicide attack' on their guards, Australian soldiers of the 22nd Garrison. To the Japanese, the disgrace of capture could finally be overcome by dying in armed battle.
Armed with crude weapons, four groups each of approximately 300 Japanese threw themselves on to barbed wire fences and into the firing line of Vickers machine guns. Protected only by baseball mitts, blankets and coats and using their comrades as a human bridge to cross the tangled barbed wire, more than 350 Japanese clawed their way to freedom.
All escapees were captured during the following week. A total of 107 POWs were wounded, 231 prisoners died along with four Australian soldiers.
From the tragedy of war and the Cowra Breakout came a long lasting friendship between the people of Cowra and the nation of Japan. There is much in Cowra today which serves as a reminder to these events.