Located on the banks of the Manning River close to Taree, Wingham is the oldest town in the Manning Valley, its town square surrounded by National Trust-listed Federation buildings. First settled by timber cutters and dairy farmers in the mid-1800s, the town takes great pride in its history and heritage, celebrated in green spaces and museums.
History comes alive
Explore Wingham’s eventful and sometimes dark history at Manning Valley Historical Society and Wingham Museum overlooking the central park, with a wide range of artefacts from its past. Most notably, the museum houses the original cell where indigenous bushranger, Jimmy Blacksmith, was housed following his capture by local settlers – an event made famous by author Thomas Keneally in his book (and subsequent film) ‘The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith’.
For further immersion into the town’s history, follow the self-guided Heritage Walk, a 5km stroll around the historic town centre and beyond to the river.
Walk from town to the Wingham Brush Nature Reserve, a rich and rare rainforest that is home to a colony of grey-headed flying foxes and fig trees. A wheelchair-accessible boardwalk links to several walking tracks through the nature reserve.
Wingham is a great base for visiting the natural attractions, from enormous Moreton Bay figs to the beaches. Take a scenic 50min drive north to the spectacular Ellenborough Falls, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s longest single-drop waterfalls. In the Tapin Tops National Park, the Rowleys Peak Lookout provides panoramic views after a heart-pumping 45min trek to the top.
The town celebrates its Scottish heritage at the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival, (to be held in June during 2021), featuring pipe bands, Highland games, re-enactments and market stalls.
In October you can mix surrounding heritage with a different experience at the three-day Akoostic Festival, a celebration of music with local artists. You’ll also find food and market stalls.
The countryside around Wingham has rich farmland amid rolling hills. For tasty local produce, try Bent on Food, a cafe, restaurant and shop. The Wingham Farmers Marketis on the first Saturday of the month, and the Wingham Annual Show is a traditional agricultural show held in March.
Getting there & where to stay
Just under four hours’ drive north of Sydney, Wingham is at the heart of the beautiful Manning Valley on the North Coast of NSW. Coach services run from Sydney and Newcastle, as well as train services that run from Sydney via Newcastle. You can also fly into Taree Airport, just 20min away.
Accommodation options include motels, guesthouses and farm stays. Surrounded by ancient rainforests and eucalypt forests, Dingo Tops campground makes for a beautiful and secluded site to base yourself for explorations in Tapin Tops National Park.