New England’s top 10 activities for the young and adventurous.
With natural wonders, unique galleries and gourmet food abound, there's no shortage of things to do in New England.
1. Throw a tent and a sleeping bag in the car or 4WD and explore the region’s stunning national parks, including the Oxley Wild Rivers, Cathedral Rock and New England, each of which have an abundance of wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Pick from any number of awesome campsites, or turn it into a daytrip.
2. Climb Cathedral Rock at sunrise or sunset. It’s a three hour round trip so take a head torch and plenty of water and snacks, and brace yourself – there’s enough clambering and climbing over boulders to get the adrenalin well and truly pumping! But you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views at the top.
3. Get lost in a moss-covered fairytale landscape at Weeping Rock in New England National Park. Take the short walking track, which meanders through ancient subtropical rainforest where Gondwana-era Antarctic beech trees have stood guard for hundreds of years. After climbing and descending the many rocky staircases carved into the cliff, you’ll emerge at Weeping Rock, a vertigo-inspiring rock face that perpetually weeps with natural spring water. In winter it’s covered in a sheet of ice, such that one might almost expect to see a fur-clad Jon Snow descending in a rickety lift.
4. Go chasing waterfalls!
There’s plenty of them to find along the aptly-named Waterfall Way east of Armidale, from the multi-level Ebor Falls in the Guy Fawkes River National Park to the awe-inspiring Wollomombi Falls – one of the highest waterfalls in the country with a drop of up to 230m.
5. Fly over the spectacular gorges and waterfalls with either Go Fly Armidale, Fleet Warbirds or Fleet Helicopters. Ask the pilot to take the doors off for an added adrenalin kick!
6. Visit the New England Brewing Company in Uralla as well as our local wineries specialising in cool climate wines.
Just try not to draw the short straw for designated driver!
7. Swim in wonderful natural waterholes such as Gara Gorge (the Blue Hole). Rock hop along the riverbed of the gorge exploring the cascades and pools downstream.
8. Dangle a line for a trout. The fishing season runs from the October long weekend until the June long weekend. Try your luck at Dumaresq Dam, Oakey and Serpentine Rivers and the many trout streams around the area. Canoes are available for hire from World of Hire. And if you’d like to see how trout are farmed to stock the rivers, check out the Dutton Trout Hatchery in the New England National Park. You might even get to ‘milk’ a trout!
9. Get on the deadly treadly and explore the city of Armidale by bike. Or if mountain biking is more your caper, you’re in for some of the best tracks in Australia. Bicycles can be hired from the Armidale Bicycle Centre or Bicycle Central on Marsh.
10. Get your art on at the New England Regional Art Museum, or NERAM for short.
This sophisticated gallery is home to over 3,500 works of art including the Howard Hinton and Chandler Coventry Collection. NERAM showcases national exhibitions including the much loved Archibald Prize, and offers activities and classes for all ages. There’s also a café, so factor in a coffee or lunch.