Dubbed the Cathedral City, Armidale in the New England High Country is one of Australia’s most elegant regional cities. With an altitude of a kilometre above sea level, it’s known for vibrant autumn foliage and cool breezes in summer. Wander its streets and find 19th century churches mixed with modern cafes and restaurants.
Things to do in Armidale
Discover Armidale’s cosmopolitan centre on a self-guided heritage walk or guided bus tour and see its grand cathedrals and colonial buildings in green, tree-lined streets. A short drive southwest of Armidale is Saumarez Homestead, a National Trust-listed Edwardian mansion built between 1888 and 1906 that’s open to the public.
Visit the New England Regional Art Museum, which houses the Howard Hinton and Chandler Coventry collections, and works by famous artists Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and James Gleeson. You’ll find indigenous art at the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place.
Eat and drink
You’ll find quality restaurants and cafes, trendy bars all over Armidale. Sample locally-brewed craft beers at The Welder’s Dog or sit down to a counter lunch at classic country pub like the historic Wicklow Hotel and the art deco Tattersalls Hotel. Goldfish Bowl is a good spot for coffee and breakfast.
Surrounded by some of Australia’s richest pastoral lands, the region is known for its fresh produce. Pick some up at the Armidale Farmers Market, held on the second Sunday of the month. Armidale is also known for its cool-climate wines – sample them at Petersons, Merilba Estate and Whyworry Wines.
Armidale is also an ideal base for exploring nearby national parks. Take the Wollomombi walking track to Australia’s second-highest waterfall in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
Getting there and where to stay
Getting to Armidale is easy. It’s halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, and the drive from each is less than six hours. You can also take the train direct from Sydney and the journey is around eight hours. There are regular flights into Armidale Airport, a 10min drive from the centre of Armidale.
There are plenty of places to stay, including B&Bs, guesthouses, farmstays, motels and apartments. You can stay among vineyards in a winery, camp out in the forest at Halls Park Camping or get a taste of rural life at Glenhope Alpacas B&B.