Werris Creek is the first and last railway town in NSW and is located on a major railway junction. The Werris Creek railway station is the third largest in NSW. It houses the Werris Creek Rail Journeys Museum, which...
Your adventure begins heading south-west from Tamworth where you will soon begin to see why the locals fondly refer to this region as ‘the sunny side of the great divide’.
Located in a break in the Peel Range, just 20 minutes from Tamworth is the Currabubula Pub & Cafe a place to meet and relax with friends and family since 1838. From its humble beginnings as the appropriately named ‘Travelers Rest Inn’ the Currabubula Pub & Cafe is now a historic slice of Australiana. With its old world charm, good coffee, counter meals and luscious cakes, set against the panoramic views of the Peel Ranges, a stop at the Currabubula Pub & Cafe is a must.
During the summer months, you can sit and enjoy the views from the back deck, and during the cooler months you can relax by the cosy wood fire but no matter if its morning, noon or night, the Currabubula Pub & Cafe offers hearty, affordable dining every day and you might even be lucky enough to come across a local who’ll have a story or two for you.
Continuing south-west, the drive will take you to Australia’s first railway town and the home of the multi-award winning Australian Railway Monument and Rail Journeys Museum, Werris Creek. A railway town from 1877, Werris Creek is a small village of approximately 1500 people with the third largest active railway station in Australia behind Sydney and Newcastle.
As a major rail junction for the northern and North West parts of NSW Werris Creek provides an important service centre for the region. Its unique and attractive railway station building once bustling with visitors, railway workers and station attendants, is now home to The Rail Journeys Museum celebrating the history and essence of railway life in Australia. Lead volunteer Chris Holley, was the signals controller during the station’s heyday and now provides in-depth commentary as you peruse the displays taking in how significant the town is to our nation’s history. The adjacent Railway Monument provides a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives whilst working to develop the nation’s infrastructure.
Once you’ve finished exploring Australia’s rail history, head into town to the setting of Angelina Jolie’s movie Unbroken and pop into the Werris Creek Pharmacy and Gift Store, where she frequented with her family during her time in the village. The cafe in-store serves wonderful coffee, and for the sweet tooth sample the scrumptious gelato.
Back on the road again, you’ll pass the Werris Creek coal mine and Quipolly, Australia’s largest Equine Reproductive Centre. Explore the area by taking a turn-off to Quipolly Dam, on your left-hand side as you head towards Quirindi. Situated by a lovely recreation area, Quipolly Dam is a serene and very scenic spot for a picnic. Turn left at the T junction to visit Quipolly Equine, situated in the centre of the largest equine region in Australia with Tamworth to the north and Scone to the south. 10 minutes beyond the turn off for the Dam you will have arrived in Quirindi, the hub of the Liverpool Plains region.
Regarded as having some of the richest agricultural land in NSW, Quirindi’s seasonal crops include olive plantations, sorghum, canola, wheat, cotton and sunflowers. What Quirindi is most famous for however is its stunning sunflower crops that erupt in a blaze of colour at any time for three weeks between December and March. To find out more, contact the Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre.
Follow the Gunnedah signs to the edge of town and you’ll see a sign-posted right-hand turn to the ‘Who’d a Thought It Lookout’ an unusual name that resonates as you reach the peak with surprise over the vastness and colours of the area. The 360 degree view from the top showcases the popular crossing of the Great Dividing Range at Murrurundi to the south, which was first discovered by European Henry Dangar in 1825 and that is still used today.
On your way back down the hill, pull into Bob’s Shed to take a walk down memory lane. For $6 per person, you can experience an “Old Time General Store” stocked full of items from the fabulous 40s and 50s, and right next door two entire rooms dedicated to the late Peter Brock. Bob’s Shed is the envy of any collector and should most definitely be on your to do list in Quirindi.
At the bottom of the hill, take a right and head down the Kamilaroi Highway 3km until you arrive at the Quirindi Rural Heritage Village and Miniature Railway open Friday to Sunday 10am – 4pm. The village is a collection of information and artefacts showcasing the development of rural life in the Liverpool Plains from the 1800s to today. If you’re visiting during Autumn, you might even be lucky enough to catch the annual vintage machinery and miniature railway rally and swap meet where machinery enthusiasts and swappers gather to bring out their collections. You might bag a bargain yourself.
Make sure you also visit the Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre in Willow Tree, where you will find the "the Kamilaroi - a Highway, a People" display. Head back to Tamworth on the New England Highway with a stop at the First and Second Fleet Gardens in Wallabadah.