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15 Things You Must Do In The New England Region

Monday 2nd December 2019
By Ely Power
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By Ely Power

Head Inland For An Awesome New England Adventure

Cover image: Byron Smith

Australia’s coastline is only the beginning of our glorious great outdoors. So why not take a break from the breaks with a rural adventure down the road less travelled? It’s time to try something different and discover all of the wonderful things to do in New England! 

Despite ages of Aboriginal ownership and a much warmer climate, its rolling hills and dense forests reminded British settlers of home. While its resemblance to the UK is up for debate, there's no doubt in the land’s natural beauty as you cruise down winding country roads, up misty hilltops and across lush valleys. 

Nestled within this patchwork of untouched wilderness and fertile farmland are historic townships like Tamworth and Armidale. Rich in culture and activities for all ages, these charming regional centres are bursting with small-town hospitality.

With heaps of awesome attractions in New England, your only regret will be not having explored it sooner. Check out our top recommendations for your regional NSW road trip below!

1. Discover The World’s Largest Solar System Drive

Image: Byron Smith

For an out-of-this-world adventure, check out the scaled model of our Solar System on your way to Coonabarabran, ‘the Astronomy Capital of Australia’! With five drives to experience, you can launch from various starting points to suit your route. 

Beginning at far-off Pluto, you’ll encounter the rest of the 3D planet models as you power towards the Sun (or rather the 37-metre dome at Siding Spring Observatory). Fun for the whole family, this unique attraction is filled with fascinating facts about our Solar System.

Where to camp:

2. Stargaze at Milroy Observatory

Image: Byron Smith

Once at Coonabarabran, make your way to the magical Night Sky Show at Milroy Observatory. 

Thanks to the incredible darkness, you can enjoy a guided stroll under the glittering Milky Way galaxy. Gaze at the constellations above as your astronomer shares the wonders of star birth, nebulas and planets. Then view the night sky like never before through the 40-inch telescope! 

Make sure to book this stellar experience in advance, with prices at $30 per adult and $15 per child (under five’s go free!).

Where to camp:

3. Explore Sandstone Caves

Image: Byron Smith

Follow in the Gamilaroi people’s footsteps as you venture down the Sandstone Caves walking track in Pilliga Nature Reserve. Short but sweet, the path is lined with mesmerising sandstone hills - many decorated with age-old Aboriginal rock art.

Make the most of your time at this special spot with a tour from an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. Book your guided walk at Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre, where interactive displays and local showcases introduce you to the stunning landscape. 

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4. Admire Sculptures In The Scrub

Photo by JulieMay54 via Wikimedia Commons. Licenced under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

For an art exhibition you’ll never forget, drive deep into Timmallallie National Park. Here, you can camp among extraordinary sculptures scattered within the bushland of Dandry Gorge.

More than a beautiful piece to stare at, each sculpture shares a special story rooted in local Aboriginal history and folklore. Take time to appreciate these works, which are accompanied by their artists’ bios, creative methods and cultural meanings.

We suggest a spring-time visit, when the wildflowers put on a vibrant show of their own. 

Where to camp:

5. Play With Clay At Pilliga Pottery

Image: Flynn Graham

Now that you’re feeling inspired, why not release your inner ceramicist at Pilliga Pottery?

Located on Barkala Farm, you can make your own treasures from local clay, even learning the basics of wheel throwing. There’s also an option to play with clay for free, choosing to fire your favourite creations from just $5 each.

And if you’d rather leave it to the pros, Pilliga Pottery is filled with hand-thrown earthenware engraved with designs depicting local wildlife and mythology. Pop by to pick up a piece any day of the week!

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6. Birdwatch On Belougery Split Rock

Image: Byron Smith

A steep peak in the Warrumbungles, Belougery Split Rock is not for the faint-hearted. But we promise there’s a huge reward at the top!

As soon as you reach the summit of this ancient lava dome, all of your hard work is paid off - the panoramic views are incredible, showcasing the range in all its glory, as well as the sprawling Western Plains.

Don’t forget to bring binoculars to spot wedge-tailed eagles, rosellas and lorikeets, which have made Split Rock a must-visit for birdwatchers. Oh, and a camera wouldn’t be a bad idea, either!

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7. Kick Back At Black Gate Whiskey Distillery

Image: Flynn Graham

Visit the family-run Black Gate Distillery in Mendooran to soak up its unspoilt beauty and warm country welcome!

Whether you’re after a delicious camp oven dinner, a tour of the distillery or a tasting at its cellar door, they’ve got you covered. Then get cosy by the campfire as you sip hand-crafted single malt whisky, quandong liqueur or dark rum.

And if you’re here in May, enjoy their World Whisky Day festivities with smoked meats, live music and whisky flights. Bookings are required so don’t miss out!

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8. Sample The Delights At Blue Sky Cheese

Image: Flynn Graham

Blue Sky Cheese is another must-do in Mendooran. Not to be missed by any foodies, it is a dairy-lovers dream. Think hand-crafted cheeses made with love from natural, local products!

On Wednesdays, you’re welcome to drop by the cheese factory at Mendooran Showgrounds to purchase their signature Castlereagh Camembert, melt-in-your-mouth Beni Blue or creamy Peppertree Feta. Need we say more?

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9. Wander Through The Land Of The Beardies

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Named after two bearded stockmen who discovered the rich grazing lands beyond Armidale, this quirky folk museum operates out of the old Glen Innes Hospital. Packing 25 rooms with historical miscellanea, you’ll find everything from war-time artefacts to antique buggies!

After your weird and wonderful visit to the Land of the Beardies, explore Mann River, its granite swimming holes and little sandy beaches for an afternoon dip.

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10. Hike Around Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Photo by RebeccaLudstrom via Wikimedia Commons. Licenced under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park treats you to World Heritage-listed gondwana rainforest, striking gorges and majestic falls (we think it's best discovered on a scenic drive down the Waterfall Way).

Adventure through the Apsley Macleay Gorges to enjoy remarkable ridge-top vistas or head to Wollomombi to check out the tallest waterfall in NSW! Either one will make your jaw drop.

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11. See A Movie At The Roxy Theatre

Photo by Lucas Albuquerque on Unsplash

Built by three Greeks in 1936, the Roxy Theatre is a timeless cinema and cafe combo. 

Today, the restored Roxy is still adorned with art deco architecture, such as its original stucco plaster, elaborate paintwork and colourful lights. Watch a movie or enjoy a performance by the North West Theatre Company!

After the show, grab a bite to eat at the Greek Café or visit its adjoining museum to learn about Greek immigration to Australia. 

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12. Summit NSW’s Very Own Uluru

Photo by Cas Liber via Wikimedia Commons.

Just outside Tenterfield, Bald Rock Summit walking track winds through beautiful bushland and up to the summit of Australia’s biggest exposed granite monolith! 

After you’ve hiked to the top of this giant water-streaked dome, it’s time to cool off with a splash in one of the heavenly water holes along Boonoo Boonoo River. 

Where to camp:

13. Visit Tamworth Marsupial Park

Photo by Bob Walker on Unsplash

Run by passionate volunteers, Tamworth Marsupial Park is the perfect stop for wildlife lovers. This bush oasis is home to heaps of native animals that you can hand feed, watch and walk with, including wombats, kangaroos, emus and koalas! 

You’ll also find an awesome aviary and Adventure Playground designed by Tamworth’s local littlies. It’s free entry for the whole family with bush walking tracks leading to Tamworth Botanical Gardens, Flagstaff Mountain and Oxley Lookout. 

Where to camp:

14. Adventure Across Coolah Tops National Park

Photo by Shiftchange at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons.

Edging the Warrumbungle ranges, Coolah Tops is an extraordinary expanse of plush grass trees, towering snow gums and ancient eucalypti. And the wildlife is just as wonderful, from red-necked wallabies to feather-tailed gliders.

Explore waterfalls on the Falls Link and Racecourse tracks. Mountain bike down the Bundella or Mullion tracks. Pass Pinnacle Lookout to discover a network of basalt caves. Whichever outdoor activities you choose, it’ll be a camping trip to remember!

Where to camp:

15. Catch Sunset At Fans Horizon

Image: Byron Smith

For a special end to your day, brave the challenging hike up Fans Horizon walking track in Warrumbungle National Park. You’ll soon see why this volcanic landscape is so iconic.

Climb over 1,000 steps for a front-row seat to a spectacular sunset over Grand High Tops. The lookout sits atop Balgatan Mountain’s sandstone cliffs, boasting some breathtaking views of the Breadknife, Crater Bluff and Belougery Spire!

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Equipped with this epic guide to the New England region, all you have to do is find an awesome van to take you there!

Camplify can help you find the perfect RV so that you can experience the joys of caravanning without having to own one yourself. Interested? Learn more about Camplify for hirers here

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We are Australia’s largest caravan and motorhome sharing community, helping connect (removed thousands) holidaymakers with thousands of local van owners. 
What does that mean?
Essentially, we provide a unique sharing platform where local owners of caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes, and campervans list their van  for hire while not in use. As a van owner, this enables you to earn up to $10,000 - $20,000 a year by sharing with others
As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you find a van that’s perfect for your next adventure, so you can experience the freedom & joys of caravanning - without having to own one yourself. 
Interested? Learn more about Camplify here > 
To find out how Camplify can work with you and your van, register today here.

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