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The Tamworth Region
The Tamworth region sits within the heart of North West NSW, encompassing Nundle, Manilla, Gunnedah, Barraba,Quirindi and the city hub of Tamworth. It’s an area renowned for its country hospitality and natural beauty.
Tamworth itself is home to around three quarters of the region’s residents and is known as Australia’s country music capital, playing host to the iconic annual Tamworth Country Music Festival each January, and year-round a visit to the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre is a must. Interestingly, Tamworth is also known as Australia’s ‘first city of lights’, as it was the first place in Australia to use electric lights in 1888.
The Tamworth region has a packed events calendar, and is also known as a food and wine hub due to its agriculture industry, which produces beef, sheep, poultry, grains and dairy. It’s also an emerging wine region, with more than 20 cellar doors in the New England region focussing on cool climate varieties. The highlight of the region’s food calendar is the Taste Tamworth festival held In April, showcasing the region’s top restaurants, produce, and wine during 10 days of food and wine focused events. A highlight of the New England wine region, Dobson’s Distillery houses the Eastview Estate cellar door, as well as a brewery hip, speakeasy style bar where you can enjoy local wines, beers and spirits. You can try local goats cheeses and meet the friendly goats at Sunhill Dairy Goats Farm.
Recognised by many as the sporting horse capital of Australia, Tamworth is a thriving equine centre boasting three major equine association headquarters (NCHA, ABCRA and AQHA) making way for some of Australia’s most glamorous and action packed equine events.
Horses are big business in the Tamworth area with various international, national and state championships regularly held in the district along with Australia’s richest sporting horse event, the NCHA Futurity (annually in May/June) as well as the ABCRA National Finals Rodeo showcased during the Country Music Festival every January. In 2008, the city opened the doors to a $30 million world-class Australian Equine & Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) which houses an indoor arena with seating for 3,100 spectators (expandable to 5,000), as well as stabling for 500 horses, truck parking and camping facilities for over 200 vehicles. The AELEC is the principal equine facility in Australia and many locals are predicting that in time, equine will grow to become a bigger industry than country music.
Less than an hour’s drive south east of Tamworth you’ll find historic Nundle, a former gold mining town. It also plays host to the third largest festival in the region, the Nundle Go for Gold Chinese Easter Festival, which celebrates the town’s gold mining past and the valuable contribution of the Chinese miners who shaped the town. Check out nearby Chaffey Dam, a great spot for a walk or a picnic, and Sheba Dams, ideal for rainbow trout fishing.
Nearby Barraba on the Manilla River is a well-known spot for bird watching. You can follow the Barraba Track to the summit of spectacular Mount Kaputar (an extinct volcano), or head to the stunning Horton Falls. At Quirindi, you can admire the spectacular sunflower fields from December to March, and be sure to stop by the town of Gunnedah to see koalas in their natural habitat.