Established during the 1880s, Alma Park received its name in 1893 when local school children assembled to plant one hundred trees within its grounds. The first tree was planted by Alma O'Connor, daughter of the Mayor,...
For a full and rewarding food and wine adventure you cannot go past the “foodie capital of New England” Uralla. Just an hour drive from Tamworth, Uralla boasts diverse and bountiful food experiences from local markets, farm gate sales, cafes and restaurants to boutique wineries, artisan breweries and even a cidery and distillery where you can indulge in some of the best local and seasonal produce and even enjoy a little tipple here and there.
The drive from Tamworth, will take you through the majestic Moonbi Ranges, where you will get to experience some of the most fascinating natural landscapes this hilly granite countryside has to offer. As you make the ascent to Uralla, you will begin to feel the temperature drop as you reach the small community of Bendemeer, home of the infamous Banalasta, Bickling Estate and World Forest Visitors Centre.
Set amongst 1800 hectares of vineyards, lavender and organic eucalyptus plantations, this award winning centre is open every day and provides you with an opportunity to tour the distillery and sample some of the region's premium cool-climate wines, or simply enjoy a coffee as you take in the stunning surrounding scenery. While you’re there you can also peruse the gift shop stocked full of the ‘Banalasta’ branded health and body care range delicately fragranced with eucalyptus and lavender oil, or you can highlight your favourite products for purchase from the online store when you get home.
After stopping in at Banalasta, your drive will continue for another 30mins until you arrive at Uralla where the township is beautifully dotted with established trees, parks and gardens and the main street is lined with interesting retailers, displaying all sorts of appealing knick-knacks and curiosities. Uralla’s beautiful book store, antique shop, galleries, and museums make for a pleasant meander through the town centre.
First up on your Uralla food adventure should be a visit to Sunhill Dairy Goats. Located just 8km from the town centre, you will have the opportunity to meet the goats, taste the delectable goats cheeses made onsite, take a tour of the farm and milking operations and purchase some of the goat milk skin care products available. Open to the public most days, Sunhill Dairy Goats offers a truly unique farm-gate experience.
For another unique farm-gate experience, take a right on Uralla’s main street as you head back from Sunhill, and drive toward Armidale until you come to Arding Road. Turn here and follow this to Hawthorn Road, where you’ll find, nestled on top of the Great Dividing Range, Greenhill Orchards.
Owned and operated by the same family for 150 years the rich soils and distinct seasons of the area are ideal for cool-climate fruits which you can purchase direct from the orchard. In the summer months, you can enjoy luscious apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines. In the autumn you cannot beat the crisp fabulous flavours of Greenhill’s largest harvest apples and pears. The Yeoman family open their farm-gate to the public Monday to Saturday until 5pm. With 150 years of experience, there’s no better place to reconnect with the seasons and the land than at Greenhill Orchards.
As you head back into Uralla, stop in at the New England Brewing Company. All beers are handmade here, in the Old Woolstore, and the tasting bar is open Thursday through to Sunday from 11am. Tours of the brewery can be arranged by appointment. The New Englander Pale Ale is a local favourite but with all beers on tap why not sample them all.
As lunchtime rolls around, there are plenty of options to choose from. The newest, and some would say the coolest, place in town is the Natural Healthy Wholefood Store and Cafe. Located in the old chapel on top of the hill, this cafe specialises in providing healthy options and caters for most food intolerances and/or preferences. If a more hearty meal is what you’re after, then the Top Pub, next door to the New England Brewery is for you.
On a weekend, you also have the option of visiting one of the local wineries for a delicious meal and wine tasting experience.
Whyworry Wines, located just 4km off the New England Highway at Uralla, offers a relaxed BBQ option for lunch every Saturday and Sunday. At Whyworry you will enjoy award-winning varietals both red and white while observing the breathtaking high country views. Locally sourced lamb steaks, scotch fillet and gourmet sausages are available for lunch and you can cook them to your liking on the BBQ facilities provided. Add to that a tasting of Whyworry’s superb cool-climate wines and you will have yourself a perfectly casual afternoon.
If you would rather enjoy the culinary expertise of a first-rate chef, then you can go no further than the cellar door at Merilba Estate Wines and New England Cider Co. Located just 30km from Uralla, it makes for a pleasant drive through the slopes, hills and pastures that make the area ideal for cool-climate viticulture.
At Merilba Estate, you will be able to enjoy the distinctive style of the cool-climate wines and delicious dishes on offer while also enjoying the amazing view of the valley and the Honeysuckle ranges. Open Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm for wine tasting and lunch (bookings essential for lunch) Merilba Estate provides a unique winery experience in a quintessentially country setting.
For a stylish, sophisticated and relaxed dining experience showcasing the very best local produce in the most innovative ways, then Eastview Estate is your answer. Located 15km south of Uralla, Eastview Estate home of Eastview Wines, Dobson's Distillery, Dobson Brewery and PINOT restaurant, can be found a short drive off the New England Highway along the Kentucky Road.
At Eastview Estate, the wines are very much about the food and the seasonal menu is expertly matched to the wines they have on offer by head chef Lyn Dobson. With exceptional reds their specialty, in particular Shiraz and Tempranillo, winemaker Stephen Dobson is on hand to provide a consultation and tasting of the wines which will enhance and complement your chosen dish at your table.
After lunch, why not relax in the Jazz and Blues Bar and sample some of the other beverages on offer, including what Gourmet Traveller named the best gin and tonic of the day! Open from 10.30 am Wednesday to Sunday Eastview Estate is an all round indulgent experience.