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Must-see spots on the New England Highway

Stonehenge Recreational Area, Glen InnesCREDIT: Destination NSW

The Stonehenge Recreation Area in Glen Innes is just one of the New England region’s unexpected attractions.

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Must-see spots on the
New England Highway

Stonehenge Recreational Area, Glen Innes CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Stonehenge Recreation Area in Glen Innes is just one of the New England region’s unexpected attractions.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Embark on an unforgettable country New South Wales adventure in the New England region, an area known for its undulating farmscapes, heritage towns, precious stones and wine. But this corner of the state’s northwest also has a few surprises in store for visitors. Running along the eastern side of the region is the New England Highway; from north to south, here are five top stops worth making on this scenic driving route. 

Tenterfield  

Whether you’re a history buff or an adventure seeker, you’ll find plenty to do in the country town of Tenterfield, near NSW’s northern border. Don’t miss the excellent Railway Museum and the Tenterfield Saddler, immortalised in the song of the same name by the town’s most famous former resident, the late entertainer Peter Allen. Nearby lies wineries and wilderness areas such as Bald Rock National Park, which has walking trails and a campground; explore both and other local attractions with Tenterfield Tours. A renovated 1940s pub with eight heritage-style rooms upstairs and classic pub fare downstairs, The Commercial Boutique Hotel makes a great place to stay.

Glen Innes 

Reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands (hence the name), historic Glen Innes, roughly an hour (or 93km) south of Tenterfield, sits on the Fossickers Way touring route. Pick up a fossicking map from the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre and try your luck searching for sapphires and other precious and semiprecious stones. The town itself has 30 heritage-listed buildings; step back into Victorian times at The Great Central Hotel, which has classic country hotel rooms upstairs, all with shared bathrooms. When you leave town, don’t miss the the Stonehenge Recreation Area, 10km to the south, which has an unusual collection of granite rocks that reminded early settlers of the prehistoric English monument.

Tenterfield Railway Museum, Tenterfield CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Historic Tenterfield Railway Station transformed into the Tenterfield Railway Museum.

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Tenterfield Railway Museum, Tenterfield CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Historic Tenterfield Railway Station transformed into the Tenterfield Railway Museum.

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Fossicking, Glen Innes CREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman fossicks for gemstones in Reddestone Creek, Glen Innes.

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Fossicking, Glen Innes CREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman fossicks for gemstones in Reddestone Creek, Glen Innes.

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Armidale  

Dubbed the ‘Cathedral City’, charming Armidale is an hour (or 95km) south of Glen Innes. After touring its heritage building-lined streets and stopping in at the excellent New England Regional Art Museum, treat yourself to a country manor getaway at Petersons Guest House and Winery, which boasts seven elegant rooms in the historic Palmerston homestead built in 1911. Stroll the lawn, dine in style at the airy restaurant, sample Petersons’s cool-climate wines at the cellar door, then soak in your spa in one of the suites. In town, Archie’s on The Park is another memorable location for a modern Australian meal. For local craft beer, head to The Welder’s Dog, or the New England Brewing Company in Uralla, 20 minutes south. 

Detour: Walcha  

Just 51km off the New England Highway (turn off at Bendemeer, an hour south of Armidale), Walcha’s free open-air gallery of more than 50 sculptures, ranging from wooden figures to abstract metal creations, is well worth the detour. The oldest settlement in the New England region, Walcha is also studded with heritage buildings, and is a gateway to Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, where you can embark on wilderness adventures galore. For a good-value stay, check in to the Walcha Caravan Park. Choose from the selection of ensuite cabins, powered sites and shady camping spots, with facilities including a great communal kitchen.  

Tamworth  

It’s known as Australia’s home of country music (you can’t miss Tamworth’s 12m-high Golden Guitar), but the main hub of the New England region, 1.5 hours (or 112km) south of Armidale, also has an increasingly happening food and drinks scene. With a focus on fresh New England produce, The Workshop Kitchen is a popular spot for all-day dining. It’s located in the Rydges Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth, a landmark local hotel which received a $12 million refurbishment in 2020. Casual all-day eatery The Pig and Tinder Box, nestled in the heritage-listed old bank building, is another popular stop on Tamworth’s foodie trail. Right next door, Sonny’s Bakery and Cafe is the place to go for buttery croissants and great coffee in the morning.  

Petersons Armidale Winery and Guesthouse CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying local red wine and the sun setting over Petersons Armidale Winery and Guesthouse.

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Petersons Armidale Winery and Guesthouse CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying local red wine and the sun setting over Petersons Armidale Winery and Guesthouse.

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Open Air Gallery, Walcha CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sculpture on public display in the Walcha Open Air Gallery.

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Open Air Gallery, Walcha CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sculpture on public display in the Walcha Open Air Gallery.

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