Trips & Journeys

New England High Country

Breathe in that clear mountain air

Six Days | 254km
By Travel In | 5th April 2016

Journey into one of NSW's most impressive natural playgrounds with a drive through New England High Country. Boasting spectacular waterfalls, breathtaking national parks, cool-climate vineyards, fascinating museums and galleries, and a world class food scene, New England High Country promises to have something for everyone. And the best part is, it's extremely accessible!

The high country consists of towns Walcha, Uralla, Armidale and Guyra, with the New England towns of Glen Innes and Tenterfield also offering plenty of exciting attractions just down the road. Nearly all towns are connected by the New England Highway, with Walcha and Uralla joined instead by the famous Thunderbolts Way.

The journey from one end of the trail to the other will take you less that three hours, but it is well worth your while to take a few days and truly immerse yourself in this lush and diverse region.

Day One

Walcha

Situated at the southern end of New England High Country, Walcha is a thoroughly charming country town set against a scenic backdrop. The rich farming land surrounding the town is recognised for producing some of the finest wool, lamb and beef in the country, yet the town also boasts a blossoming artistic community. In this way, Walcha offers an authentic country town experience, with a delightful mix of history and modernity.

STAY

Spend the night in the heart of town at the charming Walcha Guest House.

Enjoy comfortable accommodation at Angela House Bed and Breakfast.

Head west along the Oxley Highway for just 15 minutes and you'll come across the Walcha Road Hotel, an award winning historic hotel offering a comfy bed and a mean pub menu.

EAT

Savour a light lunch and a top notch coffee at the extremely popular Cafe Graze.

Dine in the cafe, on the veranda or out in the garden at the historic Walcha Royal Cafe. The hotel also offers boutique and motorcycle friendly accommodation.

DO

Wander through the streets of Walcha and take in the 41 unique sculptures that make up the town’s Open Air Gallery.

Admire the extraordinary works at the Walcha Gallery of Art.

Visit the Langford Homestead, a beautiful Edwardian Mansion located on the very spot explorer John Oxley camped in 1818.

Day Two

Walcha to Uralla
21 mins 41km

Uralla is a truly picturesque country town, offering old world charm with modern convenience. The streets are almost bursting with quaint galleries, antique stores and Australian clothing shops, while the food and wine scene is second to none. Without a doubt though, history and heritage are the biggest calling cards here, with the town and the surrounding lands offering authentic and exciting slices of days gone by.

If possible, ensure your visit coincides with one of Uralla's fabulous festivals, such as the Uralla Food and Wine Festival, Thunderbolts Festival or the Uralla Lantern Parade.

STAY

Enjoy a top quality pub meal at Top Pub Hotel and Beer Garden, then retire to one of their comfortable ensuite rooms for the evening.

Stay in luxury at the charming Aurelias Farm Bed and Breakfast.

Relax in beautiful surround at Grace Cottages.

EAT

Savour a tasting paddle at Uralla's own New England Brewery, one of NSW's finest craft beer companies.

Fuel up with the Michael's Mess Special at Michael's Cafe.

Head south down New England Highway and stop in at Dobson's Distillery in Kentucky, where you can taste a wonderful range of gin, whiskey and vodka.

Merilba Estate has it all: quality wines, great food, spectacular views and a fascinating history.

Enjoy the beautiful cheese produced at Sunhill Dairy Goats, then meet the goats themselves!

DO

Visit the final resting places of the two vastly different men who helped shape the history of Uralla with a trip to Thunderbolt and Buchanon’s graves.

Uncover the history of Uralla at McCrossin's Mill Museum, where a selection of exhibits tell the tales of local heroes and infamous bushrangers.

Just 10km from Uralla you'll find the beautiful vine-clad Gostwyk Chapel and the historic Deeargee Woolshed, both a must-see.

Day Three

Uralla to Armidale
19 mins 23km

Being the capital of New England, it's should come as no surprise that Armidale has more than its fair share of attractions, both natural and man made. This cosmopolitan city offers a perfect blend of rural and urban charm, with the presence of the university meaning the streets are pulsating with a youthful energy. You could easily spend a few days or even weeks here, exploring the city's numerous galleries, museums and historic sites, as well as the plethora of natural wonders that lie right on its doorstep.

And then there's the food: Armidale boasts an incredible cafe culture, while restaurants serving contemporary Australian and international cuisines dot both the streets and the countryside. Add in the impressive range of festivals and events that frequesnt the city, and you are guaranteed an experience not to be forgotten in the heart of New England High Country.

STAY

Soak up the old world charm of Petersons Guesthouse and Winery, an historic century old homestead offering luxury accommodation and gourmet meals at the cellar door restaurant.

Retreat into the countryside with accommodation at Poppy's Cottage.

Rest up in a restore historic homestead at Elderslie Bed and Breakfast.

Enjoy affordable comfort at the well equipped Armidale Tourist Park.

EAT

Try the incredibly popular Russian pancakes at Fresh @ 110 cafe, run by Russian expat Lana Lazareva

Experience the perfect cup of coffee at Goldfish Bowl Bakery.

Savour some impeccable Mediterranean fare at Bistro on Cinders.

DO

Visit one of Australian's was nationally significant museums with a visit to the New England Regional Art Museum.

Stop by the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place to experience an incredible display of Aboriginal art and culture.

Get an insight into rural life of the 1800s with a visit to Saumarez Homestead, an impressive 30 room Edwardian mansion.

Do not miss out on a tour down the breathtaking Waterfall Way, which offers offers access not only to Wollomombi Falls, Ebor Falls and Gara Gorge, but to the magnificent New England National Park and Cathedral Rock National Park.

Day Four

Armidale to Guyra
28 mins 37km

Situated 1330m above sea level on the Northern Tablelands of the Great Dividing Range, Guyra is a vibrant country town basking in natural beauty. Fishing, bush walking, bird watching, rock climbing, kayaking and more in this exciting natural playground, or explore the towns history and heritage charm.

If you're thinking about a SEASON vacation, consider allowing your trip to coincide with the Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival, which celebrates the specialties of nearby farmers. It's not to be missed!

STAY

Relax in the wilderness with accommodation at Milani Trout Cottages.

Head north for 20 minutes and rest your head at Uncle Billy's Retreat in Ben Lomond.

DO

Mother of Ducks Lagoon is a bird watchers paradise, with this peaceful spot home to a large number of aquatic birds.

Enjoy a round of golf at the idyllically situated Guyra Golf Course.

Visit the the Guyra Antique Machinery Railway Museum, located within the old historic railway station.

Day Five

Guyra to Glen Innes
41 mins 60km

Immerse yourself in Australia's Celtic country in Glen Innes. This heritage rich town boasts a collection of heritage-listed buildings, book shops and boutiques, as well as a lush countryside reminiscent of that of Scotland. Some of the earliest settlers to this area were from Scotland, after all. Additionally, Glen Innes boasts some of the world's richest gem and mineral fields,allowing ample opportunities for fossicking.

The annual calendar is bursting with must-see events and festivals, such as the Australian Celtic Festival, the Minera Fossicking and Gem Show, and the Glen Innes Pastoral and Agricultural Show.

STAY

Enjoy a peaceful night's rest at the Glasshouse Boutique Accommodation.

Spend the night on a working sheep and cattle property at Oakhurst Cottage.

Fossicker Caravan Park offers shady camping and caravan spots in the heart of Glen Innes.

EAT

Savour a delicious cake or pastry at the famous Smeaton’s Pie Shop.

Stock up on home-baked sweet and quality coffee at the Town Hall Coffee Shop.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch at Crofters Cottage Cafe, based in a charming cobblestone cottage.

DO

Experience the rich Celtic history of Glen Innes with a visit to the Australian Standing Stones.

Stop by the Emmaville Mining Museum, located just an hour north along Emmaville Road, to see an impressive collection of minerals and photographs.

Head out along the historic Old Glen Innes Road and visit Tommy's Rock and the historic rock tunnel.

Day Six

Glen Innes to Tenterfield
1 hr 91km

Located at the northern end of New England High Country, Tenterfield occupies a vibrant pocket of NSW's countryside. Boasting both natural beauty and urban charm, Tenterfield is awash with quality dining options, fascinating museums and historic sites. The town is also surrounded by six unique villages, all with their own personal charm and all well worth a visit.

STAY

Rest up at Tenterfield Cottage, a cosy and historic house in the centre of town.

Enjoy quality accommodation without pretension at the Best Western Henry Parkes Motel.

EAT

Stop by the revamped Commercial Boutique Hotel for some craft beers and gourmet pizzas.

Savour a hearty meal at Henry's on Rouse.

DO

Visit the place that served as inspiration for Peter Allen's famous song with a trip to the Tenterfield Saddler.

Get a glimpse of the past at the Historic Tenterfield Railway Museum, a perfectly preserved 19th century railway station.

Get out of town and explore the six spectacular national parks on Tenterfield's doorstep, including Bald Rock National Park and Boonoo Boonoo National Park.