Glen Innes & Inverell Area

This is gemstone country, but they’re not the only things that gleam in this historic region of north-western NSW. A fascinating Celtic past (Glen Innes’ Standing Stones pay homage to this heritage), distinct seasons, stunning national parks marked by tracts of ancient Gondwana rainforest, and a growing contingent of artisanal producers add up to an unforgettable experience. Are you ready to shine?



Explore gemstone country

The soil around Glen Innes and Inverell is rich with gems like sapphires, emeralds, quartz, garnets and citrine. Pick up a fossicking map from information centres in Glen Innes, Inverell, Warialda and Bingara and try your luck. These towns are stops on the Fossickers Way touring route, which also takes in Barraba, Tamworth and Armidale, among other New England towns that were in their heyday during the gold and gem rushes of the 1800s – small wonder the region is known as ‘gemstone country’. To take a deep dive, visit the Emmaville Mining Museum houses a great collection of local specimens and memorabilia.

The family will love panning for gold at Three Creeks Gold Mine, and prospecting for sapphires at Billabong Blue Sapphire Fossicking Park and 7 Oaks Sapphire Fossicking. Visit in March for the annual three-day Minerama Fossicking, Gem and Jewellery Show.

Woman fossicks for gemstones in Reddestone Creek, Glen Innes

Fossicking, Glen Innes

Step back in time

Visit Inverell Pioneer Village's historic buildings and homes date from 1841, and are set across peaceful landscaped gardens. You’ll find an original blacksmith’s shop, mining museum and more. You can even look for sapphires in the wash pond. Celebrate the region’s Celtic roots during the Australian Celtic Festival in May. The ties to Scotland are also celebrated at the Australian Standing Stones monument, where enormous stones are arranged as a calendar incorporating the Celtic cross and Southern Cross into design.   

A scenic drive north of Glen Innes is the beautiful town of Tenterfield, known as the birthplace of Australia after Sir Henry Parkes’ famous 1889 speech here calling on the colonies to unite. While it no longer open to the public, you can still wander past the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, where he gave the Tenterfield Oration.

The historic Glen Innes town hall built 1887 in Glen Innes, Country NSW

Glen Innes Town Hall, Glen Innes

Explore World Heritage wonders

Rich in natural beauty, the New England region is home to national parks in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Explore on walking tracks in the Washpool National Park and the Gibraltar Range National Park.

For spectacular gorge views and river fishing, Slippery Rock walking track is a great way to experience the dramatic landscape of Kwiambal National Park. Northwest of Bingara is the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial, one of Australia’s most important reconciliation sites.

Autumn colours along the New England Highway near Glen Innes, Country NSW

New England Highway, Glen Innes

Getting there

The Glen Innes and Inverell region is a seven-hour drive from Sydney and less than a five-hour drive from Brisbane. The closest regional airports are in Moree, Armidale, Tamworth and Grafton

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