The town of Uralla lies on the New England Highway, just over 450km north of Sydney, and has a population of about 2,500.
The Anaiwan aboriginal culture remains vibrant, and 'Uralla' is taken from their word for 'ceremonial meeting place'.
There are many reasons to drive to this scenic area, and here are five:
1. Visit markets, antique shops, museums, cafes and country pubs.
Pick up a brochure from the Visitor Information Centre and stroll through town. You will be rewarded with a mix of history, different architectural styles, knick knacks to buy, and great food and drink options. If you visit Uralla in autumn, the colours are magnificent.
2. Scenic drives.
Gostwyck was a huge squatting run, settled in 1832 and one of the first in New England. The Gostwyck Chapel was built in 1921 in memory of Major Clive Dangar who died from war injuries just after returning from WW1. It is covered in Boston Ivy, which glows deep red in autumn. Elms were imported from England to plant along the magnificent avenue near the chapel.
The octagonal Deeargee woolshed was built in 1872, and is made of tallow wood with brick pillars. It has two tiers of glass windows, and was designed to give good ventilation.
As well as the Anaiwan aboriginal history, which goes back at least 5,000 years, and the pastoral and agricultural history; the story of Captain Thunderbolt is very prominent in Uralla.
A life-size statue of the bushranger looks over the main street, and there is a headstone in the Pioneer Cemetery marking his alleged grave. Call at Thunderbolt's Rock as you enter town from the south. This group of granite boulders gave him an excellent lookout for approaching mail coaches.
Despite his well-documented life of crime, some regard him as a battler's hero. A local highway and a 4x4 track are named after him.
4 Waterfalls and gorges
Drive to Dangar's Gorge. It is very impressive, and there are well maintained walks and excellent camping and day facilities.
The 120m Dangar's Falls were dry when we visited, so we missed seeing the reported rainbows in the spray. Scenic flights are available.
5. Birds and photography
We saw wrens and crimson rosellas at Thunderbolt's Rock.
Drive to Dangar's Lagoon about 4km from Uralla on Thunderbolt's Way. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded there. Or head to Racecourse Lagoon, 3km from Uralla, which is an important site in the history of the Anaiwan people. It is also an area popular for migratory bird breeding.
Take a picnic and enjoy spending time in nature.