Discover the Tamworth region and beyond with these great scenic drives to Nundle, Uralla, Armidale, Willow Tree, Gunnedah or along the Fossickers Way.
Just a 40-minute drive from Tamworth’s CBD is the quaint and thriving little centre of Nundle. This pretty village is surrounded by undulating green hills, beautiful trees and parks that draw visitors from Sydney, Brisbane and beyond.
Known for its old-world shops cluttered with antiques, home wares, bake ware and craft, the village is the perfect place for a mid week or weekend drive. Following the Peel River, Nundle Road takes visitors on a picturesque journey through the Peel and Dungowan Valleys.
Further along your journey, you’ll see the great 55-metre Chaffey Dam wall capable of holding more than 62,000 megalitres of water and providing Tamworth and its surrounds with town water. The expanse of the dam is inspiring – stop at the lookout to take in the 542-hectare surface area and the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
As the paddocks begin to take on the green of English pastures you’ll know you’re nearing Nundle. Park the car and immerse yourself in the charm of the boutiques, shops and cafes that will have you thinking you’ve stepped right into a Country Style magazine.
When lunchtime rolls around, there are a number of delightful eateries where menus highlight the best in local produce. In the summer, you can sit outside on verandahs and courtyards taking in the rural vistas, and in winter warm up by cosy log fires.
After lunch it’s worth taking the twenty minute drive to Hanging Rock Lookout. The lookout offers spectacular views of the Nundle valley below – and arguably the most extraordinary views in the North West of NSW. On a cold day, you might be lucky enough to see Hanging Rock with a dusting of snow. With an elevation of 1100 metres the area does see snow on the colder winter days.
If you’re not tempted to stay the night in Nundle, you can begin the return journey to Tamworth – the drive is just as pretty on the way home.
Just an hour’s scenic drive from Tamworth, with views to the majestic Moonbi Ranges, is the pretty town of Uralla.
Uralla is almost a halfway point between Sydney and Brisbane and is a cool-climate area, 1000 metres above sea level. The town’s main street is located on the New England Highway and is well worth a stretch of the legs and well-earned refreshment.
A quintessentially country town that sprawls up a gentle incline, Uralla is dotted with beautiful established trees, parks and gardens. Retailers are open weekdays and weekends and display all sorts of appealing knick-knacks and curiosities. Uralla’s beautiful book store, antique shop and cafes make for a pleasant meander through the town centre.
In recent times Uralla has established a growing reputation as a small centre for cool-climate wines. There are now a handful of estates offering the best in locally produced food, wines and beers. Estates offer a range of weekend and weekday tastings, with delicious, fresh food available on-site as well. Estates are located within 30 kilometres of Uralla, making for a pleasant afternoon drive through the slopes, hills and pastures that make the area ideal for cool-climate viticulture.
Rich in history, art, architecture and natural wonders, Armidale makes for a full and rewarding day trip from Tamworth.
In just over an hour’s drive you’ll feel worlds away as you step out of the car into Armidale’s cool climate. In the summer, the centre sees warm days and cool evenings; in the autumn, spring and winter, however, you may find yourself wishing you’d brought your hat, coat and gloves.
Spend a morning wandering the streets on a self-guided tour (details available from the Tourist Information Centre) taking in the beautiful and historic post office that has stood for more than 130 years. Don’t miss St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral – a High Victorian Gothic-style building completed in 1878. Armidale is a treat for those with an interest in history – with over 30 heritage-listed buildings it is sure to inspire.
A university town, Armidale is cosmopolitan and boasts magnificent food, coffee and wine. The town centre boasts a number of outstanding restaurants, cafes and specialty food stores. Take a walk through the town mall and find a cosy corner by an open fire; or a chair in the sun, ideal for sipping on a barista-made coffee.
If it’s adventure you’re after, Armidale won’t disappoint. Try some local trout fishing with local and friendly operators, a helicopter ride taking in the magnificent surrounding National Parks, or some bush walking through one of the dozens of well-maintained and scenic pathways. Aspley, Chandler and Dangar Falls all offer spectacular lookouts and walking trails.
Armidale is at the centre of NSW’s newest cool-climate wine region – with more than 30 cellar doors within comfortable driving distance, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
There is so much to see and do in Armidale, on the drive back to Tamworth you may find yourself planning your next day trip to the region.
A comfortable 45-minute drive from Tamworth’s CBD you’ll find what the Sydney Moring Herald 2014 Pub Food Guide awarded the best ‘Country Pub’ in NSW. After just three years operating the business, new owners Charles and Cheryl Hanna have made the Willow Tree Inn a draw card for many visitors to the Tamworth region.
The Willow Tree Inn, recently renovated, goes back to 1913 when it was first established as a local hotel.
During your visit you can dine on local Black Angus beef while watching the children play happily outside on the Willow Tree Inn play equipment; or sit by the log fire with a glass of something to your liking while perusing the bistro or restaurant menus.
If you’re taking the drive to Willow Tree, it’s worth stopping by Werris Creek to see the quaint, historic country village recently made famous by Angelina Jolie’s film Unbroken. Jolie stayed in the region while directing film scenes in Werris Creek streets and outside the Railway Hotel.
Be sure to take a look at the historic Werris Creek Railway Station – a magnificent and beautifully maintained building that was at its height of activity in the 1870s. During this period the NSW Government designated Werris Creek as a vital gateway for railway travel and trade throughout the region. Werris Creek is also home to the Australian Railway Monument.
If you’re planning a drink or two in Willow Tree, the regional commuter train leaves Tamworth daily and gets you to Willow Tree in time for lunchtime meals and refreshments. When the afternoon is drawing to a close, you can then catch the afternoon train back to Tamworth with bellies full – perhaps a snooze on the train might even be in order.
Fossickers Way is a scenic drive that incorporates some of the most picturesque rural landscapes in NSW. From wooded hills to open, green pastures, dense bushland and fertile valleys the journey covers more than 375 kilometres.
Less travelled than the major highways, the drive provides a more relaxed and welcome alternative to the sometimes fast and congested drive between Tamworth and Brisbane.
Scattered along the open roads are eight country towns that service the warm and friendly agricultural communities surrounding them. The drive starts at Nundle just off the New England Highway, then passes through Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Bingara, Warialda, Inverell, Glen Innes and finishes at Emmaville where it rejoins the New England Highway.
Sections of the drive can make for a fabulous day trip – particularly for families or those with adventure in mind.
Like its name suggests, Fossickers Way is renowned for the abundance of gold and gemstones that have been found in the region since the early 1850s. The area was the site of a gold and gemstone rush in the mid-1800s – thought to have begun in the Peel Valley.
Today there are plenty of opportunities for gold panning, with Fossickers Way providing some of the few areas in NSW where a licence is not required. Public access is available in the Nundle area along the Peel River and at Hanging Rock. If it’s gemstones that take your fancy, why not take a trip to Barraba and search the Manilla River for some treasure.
Manilla provides a peaceful and spectacular experience for day trippers – offering some of the best paragliding and hang-gliding conditions in the world. Local operators provide everything for a day in the sky.
Each of the towns along Fossickers Way is steeped in history – take some time to see the historic remains of a mineshaft, visit a mining museum or meander through the streets to view some of the many heritage-listed buildings in the region.
When you’re ready to rest your fossicking legs, be sure to absorb the warm friendly atmosphere and delicious country delights found in the fabulous cafes and bakehouses in the region.
Gunnedah is the hub of one of Australia’s richest agricultural regions - the Liverpool Plains in North West NSW and is located on the Kamilaroi and Oxley Highways.
It's also home to one of the largest and healthiest Koala populations in the country. Keep your eyes peeled, one might just be around the corner. To get up close and personal with a Koala or other native Australian wildlife, visit the Waterways Wildlife Park.
Gunnedah has many attractions including several important memorials, museums, parks, and recreational facilities. A diverse range of sporting, cultural and recreational activities are available all year round to both visitors and residents of all ages.
Many annual events occur throughout the year, including Australia Day Celebrations, Ag-Quip Field Days, Week of Speed, Gunnedah Show, Bird Expo, Equestrian events, Dog Shows, Porchetta Day, and the National Tomato Contest. Each of these events draws large crowds and helps to promote Gunnedah to the wider public.
Gunnedah has great shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Residents and visitors appreciate the variety of great cuisine that the local restaurants, pubs, clubs and takeaway venues have to offer.