Enveloped by six national parks and World Heritage Sites, historic Tenterfield is a gem in the New England region of NSW. Nature’s bounty aside, the region is known for its superb wineries and farm gates, and is also the ‘birthplace of Australia’ – this is the town where Sir Henry Parkes made his famous 1889 speech calling for Australia's federation.  



Step back in time 

Tenterfield’s streets are lined with grand, heritage-listed Federation buildings – explore the town’s bygone era on a self-guided walk; you can pick up a brochure from the Information Centre. Stop by the 1860-built Tenterfield Saddler, made famous by Peter Allen’s song of the same name. Over the years the National Trust-listed building has been used as a saddlery, bank and private residence; today it’s a living museum stocked with artefacts from yesteryear.  

Exterior view of the Tenterfield Saddler, Tenterfield

Tenterfield Saddler, Tenterfield

Along your walking route you’ll also likely pass the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts. It’s no longer a museum open to the public, but if you’re a history buff you’ll appreciate that this is where Parkes gave his speech that propelled the Australian colonies towards federation in 1901. While you wander, download the Tenterfield Soundtrail app to hear stories of the characters that once called this part of the world home.  

Trains no longer stop at the 1886-built Tenterfield Station, but you can still visit this historic spot to visit the  fascinating Tenterfield Railway Museum. In addition to rolling stock on the rails, the platform’s buildings are jam-packed with well-preserved artefacts from the railway’s heyday.  

Wineries, breweries & farm gates 

Thirsty? You’ve come to the right place. The Mediterranean climate and stellar terroir make the region great for growing grapes, as you’ll soon discover when you visit the cellar door at Reedy Creek Estate. Drop in for a wine tasting or shiraz and prosecco – two signature drops here. If you can’t bear to leave, the estate has a cottage you can rent, as well as campsites by a river. For additional refreshment, 2 Wild Souls produces a range of sparkling mead, which you can sample at the cellar door. And Deepwater Brewing makes an extensive range of beers, including a number of limited-edition, seasonal drops. Visit on Fridays and Saturdays, when the team also stoke the wood-fired pizza oven.  

Family-run Cherrydale Orchard grows quality cherries, apricots, nectarines and plums, which you can pick up from the farm gate during harvest – peak cherry season is December, while stone fruits are harvested to late February. Meanwhile, Aloomba Lavender is part of a 1,600-hectare cattle estate, and comes replete with a gift shop where you can pick up everything from lavender-infused beauty products to bouquets of the flowers. There’s an on-site B&B, for those looking to linger.  

Yellowbox Honey Sparkling Mead drinks at 2 Wild Souls, Torrington

2 Wild Souls, Torrington - Credit: 2 Wild Souls

Outdoor adventures 

Tenterfield experiences four glorious seasons, which makes visiting at any time of year a treat. Come in autumn and the entire town is swathed in a kaleidoscope of colours, creating the perfect backdrop for those Instagram-worthy snaps. When the chill sets in, snuggle up by the fireplace or toast marshmallows around an open-air fire as the night sky dances with twinkling stars. In spring, you’ll discover a mix of perfectly manicured garden beds and rugged displays of Australian natives – many in bloom throughout the region’s national parks.

Cyclists riding through Rotary Park in autumn, Tenterfield

Rotary Park, Tenterfield

For bushwalking, swimming and picnicking, explore the Boonoo Boonoo Falls walking track to a waterfall that drops 210 metres into a gorge. A number of shorter trails here take you to waterholes where you can cool off. 

You’ll also enjoy eye-popping panoramas in Bald Rock National Park, a beguiling union of ancient forests and rugged landscapes. There are a number of walking trails, both around the base of the rock and also to the summit. Plus, there’s a campground so you can pitch your tent at the end of the day.  

Take a leisurely drive along the 38km of Tourist Drive 9 and marvel at the stunning granite formations of Mount Mackenzie and beyond. See friendly kangaroos and wallabies hopping around, and listen to a symphony of birdsong. 

Ottobeuren Park overlooks the Tenterfield Dam, and is another great place to observe a wide range of waterbirds. Make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch. 

Four-wheel drive and trailer entering Mount Mackenzie Nature Reserve

Mount Mackenzie Drive, Tenterfield

Getting there & where to stay

Tenterfield is an eight-hour drive from Sydney, 3.5 hours from Brisbane and 70 minutes from Glen Innes. The closest regional airports are in Lismore and Grafton, where you can hire a car to explore the area. There are lots of places to stay including campgrounds, motels, B&Bs and historic cottages. 

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