Internationally recognised for aero sports
Tamworth | Barraba | Nundle | Our Region
Manilla has come to international fame as an exciting destination for sports flying, including paragliding, hang gliding and sailplane gliding. Mount Borah hosts state and national paragliding competitions every year and, in 2007, hosted the first Paragliding World Championship outside Europe.
You could plan your visit to attend one of these awe-inspiring displays, or other annual events such as the Country Music Quest in January; the Manilla Show in February; the Manilla Vintage Machinery Group rally in June; the Manilla Campdraft in September; the VRA Manilla Antiques and Collectors Fair in October and St Michael’s Parish Fete in October.
Manilla’s main street is a fascinating display of period architecture – Victorian and art deco facades, leadlight windows, wrought-iron balconies and ornate verandas. Also in Manilla Street is Manilla Heritage Museum, a complex featuring the Royce House Collection, in the original home of construction engineer George Royce, who came to town in in 1884 to build the iron bridge over the Namoi River. There is also the Yarramanbully Schoolhouse, a little museum depicting rural schooling from the 1930s to 1950s – and the strange tale and a replica of vaudevillian Harry Burrell’s ‘Platypusary’.
Manilla grew from a camping ground for teamsters and bullock wagons at the junction of the Manilla and Namoi rivers, who stayed there before continuing their journeys carrying supplies to outlying cattle stations.
Manilla is a Gamilaraay word meaning ‘winding river’, and the rivers are central to the character of the town. They make fantastic playgrounds for fishing, boating and camping. Warrabah National Park, Manilla Weir and Manilla Ski Gardens are favourite places among locals. Split Rock Dam and Lake Keepit are water storage areas also popular for water sports.
Top Five Experiences
1. Sign up for a hang-gliding or paragliding lesson with Godfrey Weness, Australia’s most experienced pilot and world distance record holder (335km). Weness established Mount Borah as one of the world’s best and safest flying sites, and it was the venue for the Paragliding World Championships in 2007. If you prefer, simply watch others decorate the sky with dozens of colourful sails and enjoy the magnificent vista. See www.flymanilla.com
2. Delight in hand-cut potato chips, double-malt milkshakes, homegrown olives, leather seats and laminated tables at one of the few remaining authentic Greek cafés in rural NSW, the Canberra Café in Manilla Street. Owner Paul Calokerinos and his son John restored the café for Paul’s 63rd anniversary behind the counter in 2013.
3. Head to the visitor information outlet and Manilla Heritage Museum
in Royce Cottage to see exhibits ranging from headstones of Chinese market gardeners, to the early 20th century ground-breaking platypus research of Harry Burrell. The museum has the only replica of Burrell’s Platypusary, an enclosure used to transport platypus to New York’s Bronx Zoo in 1922.
4. Be inspired by the work of practising artist Liz Priestly, who has established a studio in a former shop on Manilla’s main street. See the work of Liz by appointment. Contact Liz on 0414 256 8705.
5. Expect an honest and hearty Australian pub experience at The Imperial, The Post Office Hotel or the Royal Hotel, Manilla.