On the banks of the Namoi River, Gunnedah is the epitome of a NSW country town. There’s plenty of swagger, along with stellar museums, memorials and cultural activities. Explore the area, visit its historical monuments and discover why this particular spot in northeast NSW had such a profound impact on local poets.
Gunnedah is full of country charm and interesting history. And despite its petite size, it packs a punch when it comes to celebrating this heritage. Head to the Gunnedah Rural Museum and Gunnedah Water Tower Museum to take a deep dive into yesteryear. It’s easy to stroll over to the cultural precinct, which includes an art gallery hosting monthly exhibitions.
This beautiful pocket of the state inspires creatives aplenty, not in the least Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar, who based her evocative poem My Country on the region. Her family owned property in the district, and when you visit you can see the surrounding sunburnt country, sweeping plains and wide brown land she immortalised in verse. Pay tribute to the writer at the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Statue, in Gunnedah’s Anzac Park. The Breaker Morant Drive (a 500m drive or walk around an oval) tells the story of another famous poet, horseman and soldier who worked in Gunnedah in the 1890s.
While you’re ticking off memorials, learn of the district’s deep indigenous heritage at the Red Chief Memorial, which honours the great Aboriginal warrior Cumbo Gunnerah.
Things to do
Gunnedah’s koala population is thriving, in no small thanks to the local council, which helped the colony grow by planting tree corridors around the region. Pop in to the Gunnedah Visitor Information Centre for tips on where to spot wild koalas.
More nature awaits at Lake Keepit, just a 30-minute drive away. Fishing, boating and gliding are all on the menu here, making it a great day out for all the family. Younger travellers will also love the Lake Keepit Water Park, complete with water slides. Those looking for more of a thrill can hop into a sailplane with Lake Keepit Soaring Club for an aerial adventure with fantastic views.
Festivals & events
If you love a good country show and events with swagger, you’ve come to the right place. Gunnedah is part of the fertile Liverpool Plains, one of Australia’s richest agricultural areas, so it makes sense the town hosts fetes like AgQuip, one of Australia’s biggest agricultural trade shows. You can also get a taste for the town at the annual (and very family-friendly) Gunnedah Show.
Eat & drink
The fertile landscapes that surround Gunnedah mean that you can look forward to some outstanding local produce. Head to the Country Markets on the third Saturday of the month to pick up everything from fresh fruit and veggies to honey, homemade bread and excellent coffee. If you miss the market, the Plains of Plenty Co-Operative also sells tasty goodies. Start your day at Jack & Jill’s Café, Bitter Suite Café and Wine Bar or The Verdict Coffee. Discover why Chinese restaurants in country towns are beloved at Gunnedah Chinese Restaurant.
Where to stay
You’ll find plenty of places to stay, from camping and caravanning to motels and heritage hotels.
Gunnedah is a five-hour drive from Sydney and just one-hour from Tamworth. You can catch the train from Sydney, which takes around six hours, or fly into Tamworth Airport and rent a car to explore the region.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.