DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Stay and play – Tamworth, NSW

While coined the nation’s 'country music capital', this lively riverside city quickly demonstrates that it’s far from a one-hit wonder.

Tamworth has many strings to its bow. Credit: Destination NSW.

Where is it?

Tamworth is 410km north of Sydney (4hr 45min drive) or 280km northwest of Newcastle (3hr 40min drive) in the New England North West region.

Why go?

For its mighty mix of first-rate indoor and outdoor attractions that cover ample interests, ensuring extended stays are rewarded. 

Easy access to the Peel River adds more allure to a Tamworth escape.

The essentials – things to do in Tamworth, NSW

The Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre

Let’s start with the stereotype. Easily identifiable by the 12m-high guitar at its entrance, the centre details Tamworth’s rich country music culture. It includes a wax museum honouring country music royalty, while the National Guitar Museum showcases dozens of famous ‘axes’. The city’s visitor info centre is located here, too.

There's more to this iconic attraction than an obligatory photo op.

Australian Country Music Hall of Fame

This outstanding attraction explores the nation’s country music scene in brilliant fashion, displaying a mountain of ever-changing memorabilia. A permanent fixture is the interactive Walk a Country Mile exhibition, which broadly explores the musical genre’s beginnings and influence in Australia as well as Tamworth’s key role in the industry.

Oxley Scenic Lookout

Soak up spectacular outlooks of Tamworth and the wider Peel River Valley from a dedicated viewing platform. Seating at the top ensures the lookout doubles as a prime picnic spot. A visit at sunset or to admire the city’s night lights amplifies the experience.

Super views: Oxley Scenic Lookout. Credit: Destination NSW.

Tamworth Powerstation Museum

Billed as Australia’s only dedicated electrical museum. This absorbing attraction retraces Tamworth’s place in history as the first Australian city to be lit by municipal electric street lighting. A massive collection of items brings to life the story of electricity use in Australia as well as its associated innovations. Powerful stuff.

Tamworth Marsupial Park

This expansive park must rank as one of the best family attractions in Tamworth – and it has free entry! Interactive encounters with kangaroos and wallabies, a free-flight aviary, and hand-feeding peacocks is all part of the fun. Also within these confines is an adventure playground with two distinct areas for little and bigger kids.

Tamworth Marsupial Park is a must-visit for families. Credit: Destination NSW.

Tamworth Regional Botanic Garden

Explore a feast of floral delights and fantastic features within sprawling surrounds. Must-see elements include an Asian garden, the bush chapel, and an indoor exhibition space showcasing Aboriginal artefacts.

Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum

A must for motorheads, the museum displays dozens of bikes built from the 1950s-1980s. The assortment includes various rare and limited-edition models. 

Get on your bike and head to Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum. Credit: Destination NSW.

Tamworth Regional Gallery

View a substantial collection of variable works set within modern exhibition spaces. Significant textile and silverware collections are among the headliners along with important landscape paintings from the likes of revered artist, Hans Heysen.

There's loads to captivate at Tamworth Regional Gallery. Credit: Destination NSW.

Things to do around Tamworth, NSW

Manilla

The small town has emerged as a hang-gliding and paragliding hotspot. At 880m high, nearby Mt Borah provides great flying conditions and is equipped with launch pads that suit various wind directions. On firmer ground, Manilla Heritage Museum comprehensively retraces the area’s past.

Distance: 45km northwest of Tamworth.

Magnetising Manilla. Credit: Destination NSW.

Sheba Dam Reserve

Built in the 1880s to support the gold-mining operations around neighbouring Hanging Rock and Nundle, the dams now suit various leisure activities. These include swimming, kayaking, and fishing, and this is a top picnic spot, too. Just north of here is Hanging Rock Lookout where spectacular views are revealed a short walk from a nearby car park.

Distance: 70km southeast of Tamworth.

Picnic perfection: Sheba Dam. Credit: Destination NSW.

Warrabah National Park

Namoi River is the centrepiece of this peaceful park and cuts through a spectacular gorge. It’s backed by gigantic granite boulders and other pleasant scenery that makes a visit here a rewarding daytrip option. Popular activities include canoeing, swimming, birdwatching, and hiking.

Distance: 80km north of Tamworth.

Barraba

The small town grabs attention for its striking architecture that mixes Victorian, Edwardian, and art deco buildings. Just south of its centre is an eye-catching silo mural called The Water Diviner.

Distance: 90km northwest of Tamworth.

The Water Diviner is an impressive mural just south of Barraba. Credit: Destination NSW.

Random fact

The annual Tamworth Country Music Festival – held each January – is one of the state’s most popular events, but there is debate as to when it began. Officially, it’s recognised as starting in 1973, yet some trace its origins to 1968.


Tamworth accommodation

BIG4 Paradise Tamworth

Park type: Classic.

Directly overlooking the Peel River on the city’s main street, this park brilliantly blends central location with relaxing surrounds.

Riverside cabins are among the accommodation highlights, backed by excellent ensuite and powered sites.

Paradise, Tamworth style.

A spacious camp kitchen and BBQ area and an inviting resort-style pool are key park features and kayaking and canoeing can be enjoyed with ease. There’s also a shared walking-cycling path that leads straight to the city centre.

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