Cowra and Canowindra set to be showcased on national television

Better Homes and Gardens presenter Graham Ross filmed at the Cowra Japanese Garden on Tuesday.
Better Homes and Gardens presenter Graham Ross filmed at the Cowra Japanese Garden on Tuesday.

With international travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of visitors have been flocking to the Central West - and it hasn't gone unnoticed by lifestyle program "Better Homes and Gardens".

Crews from the Channel Seven show have been visiting Cowra and Canowindra throughout the week, with episodes featuring the region set to air next year.

Stalwart of the program, presenter Graham Ross, was truly in his element when he visited the Cowra Japanese Garden.

The radio host and founder of the Australian Garden Council said he has been impressed by the work done by staff and the board to enable the garden to bounce back following years of drought.

"I'm very excited to be back because I was here when it opened, when Premier Barrie Unsworth cut the ribbon with Ken Nakajima, the original designer and his wife was here, Mrs Nakajima," he said.

"I came a few years later with a tour group, and then I came with Better Homes and Gardens about 10, 11 years ago and of course the drought was on.

"You just can't bring water out of nowhere and the garden was really suffering... Sometimes when those sort of natural disasters happen, whether it's floods or bushfires or drought, people can lose their inspiration, lose their commitment and dedication.

"So I wanted to see it for myself and I'm absolutely thrilled, it's looking great... the lawns are looking fantastic, the trees are great, the garden is maturing, which is something I didn't see in my lifetime."

He said the garden was unique in Australia and a fitting tribute to the relationship between Cowra and Japan following the Breakout.

"I was here when it started and I've got returned soldiers in my family, and they weren't all that excited about it but Cowra went out on a limb," Mr Ross said.

"You guys knew that those prisoners of war who died here needed to be remembered respectfully. We don't have any other gardens like this in the country, we've got memorials of diggers in every town and every city... but we don't have a garden like this.

"Here is a garden which, all those decades ago now, was ahead of the game and so was Cowra and the people who set it up, Don Kibbler and all those people... who fought to have it happen."

The crew also filmed a segment with Tommy Jeffs in Canowindra and checked out the private garden at Noojee Lea.

Mr Ross said, with more and more people gardening, he hopes Cowra and Canowindra can become must see destinations for those with green thumbs.

"They've never been to Cowra, they've never been around their own country, let alone their own state... I think there's a silver lining to COVID," he said.

"Get gardens like this hooking up with a real state gardening tourist trail.

"Cowra becomes linked by its garden to other gardens, that's a really good opportunity, I'd like to see that come together. It's another card in your deck that brings different people."