The so-called Country Music Capital of Australia, Tamworth is no shy and retiring type. It’s home to big things (hello Big Golden Guitar) and even bigger events (hello Tamworth Country Music Festival), yet there’s a very warm and welcoming small-town feel to this sprawling city, plus a burgeoning cafe and restaurant scene. Located at the heart of the richly agricultural New England region, it’s also encircled by quaint country towns and villages that more than merit the short drive.
The feather in the city’s cap, Tamworth Country Music Festival is the second biggest festival of its kind in the world. It takes place over the course of 10 days each January, welcoming country music talent from across the country, who come to play ticketed shows and to busk. Country music fans that don’t time their visit to coincide with the festival can instead stop for a photo op with the Big Golden Guitar or swing by the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. Neighbouring Quirindi hosts a rodeo every February.
Each April, the city also hosts the month-long Taste Tamworth Festival, which includes pop-up bars and one-off long lunches, plus plenty of live music.
Those in search of a little culture should try the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery – one of the oldest in NSW.
Tamworth and its surrounds are prime territory for outdoorsy adventures. Go bushwalking, swimming or fishing in Warrabah National Park. Get out and about on horseback on a vast local cattle station. Or take a trip up to Oxley Scenic Lookout and explore some of the walking tracks, accessible from the car park, including the Kamilaroi Walking Track.
The New England region is chock full of charming country towns. Take a day trip to tiny Nundle, a historic mining village that’s home to one of Australia’s last working woollen mills; it’s also a stop on the Fossickers Way touring route. Visit the railway town of Werris Creek, with its heritage-listed station. Swing by Uralla, known for its gold rush history and indigenous heritage, as well as its boutique wineries. Or stop in at Gunnedah, on the banks of the Namoi River.
Kamilaroi man Len Waters leads a number of tours in the region, which delve deeper into the local Aboriginal culture. Tours can be tailored to meet your needs, and include bushwalks, Dreamtime stories, and insights into bush foods, bush medicine and even Kamilaroi astronomy.
Friendly staff, clean facilities and great water pressure in the shower block – what more could you want in a caravan park. Paradise Tourist Park also has a spacious indoor camp kitchen, an outdoor swimming pool, and is located a 15-minute walk from the centre of town.
If you’re looking to venture out into the sticks a little more then try Warrabah campground, within the Warrabah National Park, where you can bushwalk, fish, swim, and canoe. Sites are available for tents and caravans and bookings are required.
Open since late 2020, the Powerhouse Tamworth by Rydges is, without doubt, the most upmarket hotel in town. Despite being part of a hotel chain, there’s a boutique feel and a number of different room and suite configurations to choose from. Rooms feature timber panelling and pops of cerulean and teal. Exploit the hotel’s facilities, including a gym, an outdoor pool, a spa, a barbecue area, a sauna and a guest laundry. The Mercure Tamworth is a worthy alternative, with a bit more of a corporate, cookie-cutter vibe, but a rather sizable pool.
Looking for a country retreat? It doesn’t get better than Goonoo Goonoo Station, a 25-minute drive from Tamworth. Hole up in one of the working cattle station’s impeccably dressed rooms or cottages, all featuring a homely yet contemporary design. There’s also a critically acclaimed restaurant onsite. Or for something a little more rustic, try DAG Sheep Station.
Occupying a heritage-listed building that was formerly a bank, The Pig & Tinder Box is a gastropub and friendly all-rounder: rock up for late afternoon drinks, enjoy one of the lunchtime specials, bring your little ones, who can tuck into the kid’s menu, or make an evening of it with the modern Australian share plates menu.
If you’re after an indulgent breakfast, brunch or lunch, American-inspired Hissy Fits Cafe most definitely fits the bill. Locals love the burgers, burritos and chicken and waffles, and it serves great coffee too. See also: Camp Grounds Coffee Shop, which pumps out stellar cups of coffee and a retro 70s vibe.
Located within the Powerhouse Hotel, The Workshop Kitchen has earned rave reviews with punters for its perfectly cooked steaks and extensive wine list.
For reliable Chinese food you can’t go past Dragon Palace. Eat in at the rather lavishly decorated dining area, or devour in the comfort of your hotel room. The spartan Blue Flame Modern Indian is arguably the best spot in town for Indian food.
Nightcaps are best consumed at The Welder’s Dog, known for its comprehensive craft beer line-up and selection of whisky.
Located 500 kilometres north of Sydney, it takes five hours to reach Tamworth by car. But why not take the scenic route instead, and travel from Sydney to Brisbane via the country towns and cities of New England High Country en route. You can reach Tamworth by plane too: Qantas offers daily services from Sydney, while Link Airways operates six flights a week from Brisbane. Otherwise, daily bus and train services operate from Sydney.
Tamworth has a warm climate with hot summers and mild winters. On average, November and December are the rainiest months. January is arguably the busiest month of the year, with tens of thousands of people descending on the city for the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The South West Edge is an epic South Western Australia road trip that traverses 1200km from Perth to Esperance, a road trip that will take you through wine regions, towering forests and along marine life-rich coast before heading across the outback, all in 12 days.
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Package includes a luxurious 3 nights at Sails in the Dessert (Yulara) and a spectacular Kings Canyon Helicopter Flight.
The kids will have a blast at the Big Banana Fun Park, learn about marine life at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and swing through the trees at Treetop Adventure Park.
Located on the coastline of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, Naiko Retreat is a refuge from the everyday. A place to declutter your mind.
The main thoroughfare of Auburn Street is lined with a plethora of boutiques and speciality stores. Time your visit right and head to one of the weekend markets in the City and surrounding villages.
Experience the Tamar River from above and below the surface. George Town has some of the best scuba diving in Tassie, and is home to the only all-inclusive tandem skydiving experience in the state.
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Discover vibrant events & festivals as you hug the coastline along Grand Pacific Drive, don’t miss:
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