With nation-making heritage, spectacular wilderness and elegant wineries, Tenterfield is a delight to visit in the beautiful New England region. This charming town is known as the birthplace of Australia, after Sir Henry Parkes’ famous 1889 speech calling for a ‘great national government for all Australia’.
The Tenterfield Oration is credited as decisive in propelling the Australian colonies on the path to federation in 1901. You can visit the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, the first National Trust museum where the Father of Federation gave his stirring speech on October 24, 1889.
You’ll discover many more heritage-listed buildings in Tenterfield. Pick up a brochure for the Tenterfield Heritage Walk from the Visitor Information Centre on Rouse Street. Stroll to the 1860-built Tenterfield Saddler, made famous by Peter Allen’s song by the same name, released in 1972.
The heartfelt song is about a musician’s life and a tribute to his grandfather George Woolnough, who worked at the saddlery. The fascinating Tenterfield Railway Museum is in the old Tenterfield Station, built in the 1880s. You can taste cool-climate wines at wineries such as Zappa Wines.
For outdoor adventure, the national parks are perfect for bushwalking, swimming and camping, and there are enchanting picnic areas too. Take Boonoo Boonoo Falls walking track to a waterfall that drops more than 210 metres into a gorge. In Bald Rock National Park there are breathtaking panoramas.
You’ll find plenty of places to stay in Tenterfield, which is 70 minutes’ drive from Glen Innes and a scenic drive from Armidale, Byron Bay, Lismore and Brisbane. There are train and bus options, and you can fly to nearby airports, including Armidale, Ballina, Brisbane and Gold Coast, and rent a car.