Visit Country NSW
We all know that our farmers and country towns are doing it (very) tough at the moment – it’s been all over the news for a while. You may have seen the campaign to #buyfromthebush, and this is really helping struggling businesses, but what about going the extra mile and #visitthebush this Christmas/January holiday period, or later in the year. Coastal areas often see peak tourism over the Summer holidays, which can lead to our country destinations being a little forgotten. Even a short visit can provide a huge boost to these communities, and most places are easily visited by car, have rail connections, and some of the regional airlines even have special air fares to encourage travel to certain destinations. Country NSW has a wide range of attractions you may not even know exist. Stuck for ideas – how about these 3 destinations to start:
Photo Credit: Image above and the Featured Image on the home page – Tourism Moree Inc
Instead of an overseas spa trip to Japan or Europe, why not try Moree – Australia’s own Artesian Spa Town located in North West NSW. Tourists and locals alike have soothed their aches away for over 100 years in the mineral rich baths of the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre. The rich waters are naturally heated to 41 degrees Celsius (don’t worry, there are cold and “tepid” pools as well), and there is also a day spa, gym and sauna on site. The Aquatic Centre is visited by over 300,000 people a year (including yours truly), so you know it’s good. Other activities you can enjoy in Moree are a trip to the Bank Art Museum Moree, where you can view the collection of Indigenous art, or view the exhibition from the Archibald Prize, which will be on display from late March 2020, visit the Mehi Gallery & Studio (currently open Mon-Wed), founded by the local Gomilaraay (also known as the Kamilaroi) people where you can experience genuine Aboriginal art, and perhaps speak to one of the talented artists. You may prefer to play a round of golf at the Moree Golf Club (you don’t need to be a member, and there is no need to take your own clubs, they have clubs and buggies for hire), or take a tour of the Stahmann Pecan Nut Farm.
There are a variety of day trips outside Moree too – consider Inverell, where you can try your luck at Sapphire mining, or Narrabri, where a bush walk through Mt Kaputar National Park or a visit to the CSIRO Australia Telescope (bookings suggested) is a must. Moree has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. From Sydney, Moree is accessible by car, NSW Trainlink Explorer, or QantasLink. For more ideas on what to do in Moree, visit www.moreetourism.com.au
Photo Credits: Tourism Moree Inc
Instead of an African Safari, why not enjoy a trip to Dubbo, located in the Central West of NSW, and visit Taronga Western Plains Zoo. There are so many animals to see on the five kilometre circuit around the zoo, including giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and our personal favourite, the big cats. You can drive around the zoo, or hire a push bike or motorized cart (be quick – these are popular and go fast). A full day is recommended for a zoo visit, as the enclosures are so large you may need a 2nd visit to see some of the shyer animals. Stay on-site, or at one of the many accommodation options in Dubbo. After you’ve finished at the zoo, other Dubbo attractions include the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol, which operated from 1847 to 1966 and is a slice of history not to be missed. The Terramungamine Reserve which features 150 grinding grooves created over thousands of years by Aboriginal people shaping their tools and sharpening their spears on a hundred metres of rock alongside the Macquarie River, the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden, and the Western Plains Cultural Centre, which houses the city’s art gallery and museum are attractions well worth seeing.
Day trips from Dubbo include the Wellington Caves, and bush walking at either the Mount Arthur reserve or the Warrumbungle National Park (if you’re a camper, you may want to stay overnight for this one). From Sydney, Dubbo is accessible by car, NSW Trainlink Explorer, QantasLink or Regional Express. For more ideas on what to do in Dubbo, visit www.dubbo.com.au.
Photo Credits: Dubbo Regional Council
Wagga Wagga NSW
Instead of visiting the wineries in France or the Napa Valley, discover the wineries and foodie culture of Wagga Wagga, in the Riverina area of NSW. Boutique wineries such as Borambola, Cottontails, CSU Wines and Eunonyhareenyha are a short drive from the city, as is Bidgee Strawberries and Creams for freshly picked, chemical-free strawberries or Wollundry Grove Olives where you can book a tour of the plant and taste their delicious oils. Whilst in Wagga Wagga, visit the Botanic Gardens, with its free mini zoo and free-flight aviary and adventure playground, or Wagga Wagga Art Gallery which houses the National Art Glass Collection. Wander or cycle along the Wiradjuri Walking Track, and catch a glimpse of water birds and learn local culture at the Marrambidya Wetland. Visit Wagga Beach by the Murrumbidgee River, which has been shortlisted to be named one of the best beaches in Australia (and if successful it will be first inland beach to win the title). To continue your foodie experience book a cooking class at the award-winning Food I am or take a tour and taste the locally-made beers at Thirsty Crow Brewing Co.
Day trips from Wagga Wagga include Kengal (The Rock) Nature Reserve , with amazing district views, Junee, where you can visit the Roundhouse Railway Museum, the location of the last steam train depot in NSW, and the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, or the spectacular Sugar Pine Walk in the Bago State Forest at Laurel Hill in the Snowy Mountains. While in the mountains a visit to Tumut is also a must, where you can enjoy fishing, take a drive to explore the Yarrangobilly Caves, or tour the Tumut River Brewing Co. Wagga Wagga has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. From Sydney Wagga Wagga is accessible by car, NSW TrainLink Explorer, QantasLink or Regional Express. For more ideas on what to do in and around Wagga Wagga, visit www.visitwagga.com.
Photo credits: Visit Wagga Wagga
We hope we’ve given you a glimpse of the attractions available in country NSW. These are only three of a myriad of possible destinations – just a taste to whet your appetite. And remember, if visiting by car, you pass through a range of gorgeous country towns and regions that are worth visiting, including on the way to Moree, the Hunter Valley wine region, Scone – the Horse Capital of Australia, and Gunnedah where you can try your luck at spotting a Koala. On the way to Dubbo, visit the wineries of Mudgee or Orange, or do a lap of Mt Panorama in Bathurst. Drop in at the Big Merino at Goulburn or the Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai on your way to Wagga Wagga.
For more information on what to do at other regional NSW destinations, visit https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw where you will find information on areas around NSW. Are you planning on visiting country NSW for these or any other holidays? Let us know in the comments below. If you have ideas on visiting other regions in Australia, please get in touch – we are more than happy to help our country cousins.