If you’re in the New England region of NSW, you’ll want to make a beeline to Warialda – the town’s name means ‘place of wild honey’ in the local Aboriginal language. The countryside here is blessed with natural assets, from vast national parks to rivers where gems, gold and sapphires have been found for decades. You, too, might find your fortune…  



Gemstone heritage 

This part of New England is known as ‘gemstone country’, with gold, sapphires and gems found here since the 19th century. Today, Warialda is a stop on the Fossickers Way touring route, linking other towns with a similar history in mineral riches. When you’re not on the road, polish up your knowledge of rough, cut and polished gemstones at the Wells Gem and Mineral Collection in the town’s Tourist Centre. It’s home to a display of incredible gems, minerals and shells, and you can also pick up a fossicking map here to try your luck panning at designated sites around the countryside. 

Warialda’s gemstone heyday saw much of the riches spent on creating grand buildings, many of which remain today – in fact, the town is one of the oldest in NSW, gazetted in 1849. You can visit the heritage sights that remain on a self-guided Historic Tour Walk (grab maps at the Tourist Centre), which will take you past buildings such as the Pioneer Cemetery and 1880s-built Carinda House, today full of local art and exhibits.  

Woman fossicks for gemstones in Reddestone Creek, Glen Innes

Fossicking, Glen Innes

Outdoor adventures 

When it’s time to stretch your legs, Cranky Rock Nature Reserve offers a number of walking trails webbing an impressive jumble of granite boulders, balancing on the edge of pretty Reedy Creek. If you need to cool off, there’s a natural waterhole at the base of the boulders – bring your swimsuit and a picnic. If you want to linger, the reserve also has powered and unpowered campsites.    

Boulders balancing by a creek, Cranky Rock Nature Reserve, Warialda

Cranky Rock, Warialda

More water awaits at Copeton Dam, just a short drive southeast of Warialda. This is a popular fishing spot, and offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, water skiing, kayaking and more – there are also great trails to hike around the shore.  

For impressive wildflowers and birdlife, head to Koorilgur Nature Reserve. Here you’ll be able to explore the Koorilgur Nature Walk, which you can tackle in its entirety or as smaller, more manageable sections. The walk begins from either Apex Park or Rotary Park and is 3.65km one-way, winding past smooth-barked apple gums. 

A short drive away is the Ceramic Break Sculpture Park, which features a collection of alfresco bronze sculptures by local artist Kerry Cannon – the site also hosts exhibitions in a series of galleries.  

Getting there & where to stay

Warialda is just over seven hours’ drive from Sydney, five hours from Brisbane and 90 minutes from Glen Innes. The closest airport is in Moree and you can rent a car for the one-hour drive east. Places to stay in Warialda include caravan parks, motels, cottages and the luxurious glamping tents at Faraway Domes.

Offering guests a unique experience of privacy and solitude at Faraway Domes, Warialda

Faraway Domes Country Retreat, Warialda - Credit: Faraway Domes



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