World Heritage wilderness, gem fossicking and a Celtic festival are some of the charms of this captivating rural town in the beautiful New England High Country of NSW. Historic Glen Innes has 30 heritage-listed buildings and a picture-postcard main street.
With the countryside reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, European settlers named the area the Glen Innes Highlands. This Celtic connection is honoured at the Australian Standing Stones monument and the annual Australian Celtic Festival in May, a highlight of the events calendar.
This pretty area is on the Fossickers Way touring route and nicknamed gemstone country because of sapphires and other gems discovered here. Pick up a fossicking map from the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre, and try your luck searching for precious and semiprecious stones.
Find more gems at the Minerama Fossicking, Gem and Jewellery Show in March, the largest of its kind in NSW. Other great things to do include visiting the Land of Beardies History House Museum and the Emmaville Mining Museum, and taking a Country Art Escapes cultural tour.
Rainforests and walking trails
For stunning journeys into the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, explore walking and hiking tracks in the Washpool National Park and Gibraltar Range National Park. The Washpool walking track departs from a campground and loops through ancient rainforest.
Getting there and where to stay
Glen Innes is around seven hours’ drive from Sydney and just over four from Brisbane. The closest airport is in Armidale and you can hire a car for the one-hour drive north. Places to stay include campgrounds and caravan parks, B&Bs, rural cottages and B&Bs.