With the focus in winter often on escaping the cold, it’s easy to forget that some of the most fun can be had when the temperature drops.
It’s certainly the case in Glen Innes, a town which gets even more charming as the chill settles in.
July’s Chill n Glen festival is just one way to enjoy the surrounds, but there’s plenty to do all winter long. Here’s five of the best reasons to pack your warm woolies and visit this hot little town.
TOP 5 WINTER WARMERS
Bush walking adventures
In fact, in this region, winter is an excellent time of year to visit its national parks. Although nighttime temperatures are below freezing in Gibraltar National Park in winter, daytime temperatures are ideal for exploring its vast surrounds.
Hiking the 45km Washpool-Gibraltar Heritage Walk is especially rewarding as it’s abundant in eucalypt forests, wetlands and granite tors, and the Gibraltar Range is World Heritage-listed for its rainforest plants. It’s also home to several species of endangered animal including the giant barred frog (which can grow to the size of a small adult’s hand) and glossy black cockatoos.
Also nearby is Washpool National Park which boasts plenty of lush rainforest, tranquil streams and dramatic gorges. Gibraltar National Park is located 57km from Glen Innes and Washpool National Park is 72km away.
Take a classic drive
Are you a classic car enthusiast? Well you’re in luck, with plenty of picturesque drives in Glen Innes and its surrounding areas to take your beloved set of wheels for a spin. Perhaps arrange to meet your fellow car club members at Glen Innes and then hit the road for the day.
The “Old Glen Innes to Grafton Road” scenic unsealed drive from Gwydir Highway takes in an array of local iconic sights including the abandoned gold mining area of Dalmorton. An old graveyard and butcher shop can still be seen and the road runs through the hand cut tunnel (height 3.3m), so there’s plenty to keep history buffs entertained.
There’s also a number of other scenic drives that you can take, using Glen Innes as your starting point. Head out to Thunderbolt’s Way to Gloucester, travelling through the verdant hinterland, or travel on Waterfall Way through the New England Tableland.
For adventurers who prefer to head off the beaten track for a more rugged experience, there’s also plenty of 4WD tracks to explore in the surrounds of Glen Innes.
Torrington State Conservation Area is just 67km from town, and is an intriguing landscape to explore, with its dramatic rock formations, spectacular views and a rich mining heritage on the Mole Tableland.
Over at Butterleaf National Park, old growth forests with huge trees and rocky outcrops blend seamlessly to create a diverse area, while the crest of the Great Dividing Range highlights the change in geology from east to west.
More than just great spots for 4WD adventures, both locations offer a range of interesting bushwalks, if you fancy jumping out of the car and exploring on foot.
Everything old is new
Everyone loves rugging up and listening to a great story, and Glen Innes has more than a few tales to tell. You’ll get plenty of these stories at the Land of the Beardies Museum, which houses a detailed collection of artefacts, displays and buildings that tell the history of the families, businesses and churches of Glen Innes.
The museum’s quirky name is derived from the story of two stockmen, Chandler and Duval, who supposedly began grazing stock on the land in the 1840s. However, some doubt surrounds this legend so the only way to make up your mind is to pay the museum a visit!
Glen Innes is also home to many second hand stores. If hunting for pre-loved treasure tickles your fancy, you’re guaranteed to find a little piece of historic Glen Innes to take home with you.
Put another log on the fire
At the end of a busy day, it’s hard to imagine a more relaxing scenario then a sumptuous meal, a glass (or two!) of red wine and great company, all in front of a crackling fire.
You’ll be spoiled for choice with a number of Glen Innes restaurants stoking the embers to create a warm and inviting atmosphere this winter. It’s the perfect way to unwind, reflect on the day’s events and start planning next winter’s Glen Innes visit.