With heritage, charm and natural beauty on its doorstep, Tenterfield is a quaint town with a big story.
1. Learn about Federation at the Sir Henry Parkes Museum
Considered the birthplace of Australian Federation, Tenterfield is where Sir Henry Parkes made his Federation call during a public address on October 24, 1889. The very hall in which he made that speech now comprises part of the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts complex.
The museum tells Australian history through state of the art technology and exhibition design. It focuses on themes including Sir Henry Parkes’ Federation call, his life and collections, Tenterfield’s connection with Australian Federation and Federation’s influence and impact on social, cultural and economic life.
2. Take a scenic meander up Mount Mackenzie Drive
A scenic drive that takes just an hour return loop from town, the Mount Mackenzie Drive weaves through verdant farmland past impressive granite outcrops and boulders – the likes of which define the landscape in this part of New England – and eventually climbs to the top of the mountain.
The view is nothing short of stunning, some 1298m above sea level with a vista stretching over the town of Tenterfield to the Great Dividing Range beyond and across the border in Queensland. Pack a picnic, because there are barbecue facilities and picnic tables awaiting you at the top.
3. See if ‘time is a traveller’ at the Tenterfield Saddler
Immortalised in song by Peter ‘The Boy From Oz’ Allen, The Tenterfield Saddler is a quaint bluestone cottage that served as a meeting place for local discussions and scuttlebutt for more than a century. Saddler George Woolnough soaked up the chatter and opinions of his many friends who wandered in as he worked away on his fine leather products.
One famous customer was poet and author Banjo Paterson, who lived in the town for a short while and married a local girl, Alice Walker of Tenterfield Station, in 1903.
4. Step back in time at the Tenterfield Railway Museum
Housed in the impressive gothic architecture of the former Tenterfield Railway Station on a quiet backstreet, the museum hosts an impressive array of railway relics from passenger and freight trains to luggage carts and other equipment including suitcases, curios and railway advertisements from throughout the 20th century. Oh, and someone here is an avid gardener, as the entire museum is adorned in plants, ferns and greenery.
5. Eat, drink and be merry at the Commercial Hotel
Lovingly restored in recent years, the Commercial Hotel is now Tenterfield’s finest bar and eatery with stylish accommodation to boot. The building has been brought into the modern era without sacrificing an ounce of its historic charm, and the sleek bar is a great place to enjoy a glass of local wine or a craft beer.
The restaurant serves refined yet hearty cuisine, or keep it easy and cheerful with a wood-fired pizza. An imposing corner pub on the main street of town, you couldn’t miss the Commercial if you tried.