Canowindra has spent a fair bit of time in the national spotlight in the past few months and that trend is set to continue when the town is featured on an episode of Sydney Weekender on the Seven Network.
Host Mike Whitney and his film crew spent a few days in the township this week, checking out all Canowindra has to offer, including a hot air balloon ride and a Blind Freddy’s Bushranger tour.
On Wednesday morning, the crew was treated to a reenactment of the infamous Ben Hall raids in Canowindra, with Mr Whitney getting up close and personal with the bushranger gang.
He said it was a great way to kick off filming for Sydney Weekender’s 25th year on television.
“This is the 25th year of Sydney Weekender, which is just extraordinary and my 24th year,” he said.
“Of course, there’s ballooning, it’s a beautiful place to come, fantastic accommodation around the place, some funky little cafes have opened up and of course the Bushranger history.
“I’ve been here a couple of times in the last 20 years, I knew exactly what I was in for.”
Mr Whitney said a highlight of the trip was the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon on Tuesday morning.
“With ballooning, Canowindra is considered one of the best places in the world, probably the premiere hot ballooning spot in Australia, let alone NSW,” he said.
“It’s almost forgone, if you’re going to come here, you’re going to go ballooning, which we did yesterday morning and that was just fantastic.
“I’ve probably been up in a balloon about 20 times all over NSW but you never get sick of it and I like it when they’re not burning and you’re just floating, silently above the beautiful countryside.”
He also noted the changes in industry since first coming to Canowindra two decades ago.
“It’s still absolutely gorgeous and when I first came out here I shocked at how big the grape growing in Canowindra was, people think of the Hunter Valley or Mudgee but there’s a huge amount of grapes in the ground,” he said.
“Like Olive Oil, I mean there was no olive oil industry when I started this show 24 years ago, now I see olive trees planted around here, it’s massive and the best in the world.”
Mr Whitney also took the opportunity to thank the Canowindra community for their support during filming.
“We come down here this morning to film in town and half the town was out to see us,” he said.
“They shut the school down and brought the kids out from school and there was lot of people just hanging around.
“I thank them, we know that it’s really exciting for a TV show to come to town, it’s a good thing for the town because it’s promoting the town.
“I couldn’t have thought of a nicer place to come for my first shoot of the year.”
The episode will air later this year.