Tamworth. Some people have never heard of it. Country Music fans will definitely know where it is. Tamworth is equi difference between Sydney and Brisbane. It marks the boundary of the New England Region and the Liverpool Plains. Hence the statement somewhere over the Great Dividing Range and before the New England Tablelands. It is rolling hills, steep inclines at times, open plains and fertile river land. Vivid blue skies and dry country weather make for excellent bush-walking conditions.
The city is home to almost 50,000 people and is a major economic centre for the surrounding rural areas. The city is used as a flight training location with the Australian Defence Force, Republic of Singapore, Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College and New England Institute of TAFE basing their aeronautical training schools here. The outskirts of town are home to the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre. All things horses happen here.
To the west there is Gunnedah and the Liverpool Plains. To the north is Armidale and the road through to Brisbane and south you have the Hunter Valley. The outlying hills are home to a little town called Nundle. There’s a great pub for lunch and brilliant views of the surrounding area from the lookout. It’s cold in winter so rug up. Take one of the walks up round the hills and enjoy the uninterrupted panoramic view. You can play ‘find signs of civilisation’ if you wish as from up here you feel like there is nothing as for as far as you can see there are one or two structures but very little signs of development.
The absolute best time to visit Tamworth is Country Music Festival – January. The whole of Australian Country Music congregate in Tamworth for ten days. There are concerts along the streets and its a lot of fun. With kids some activities may not be appropriate but there are still loads of things to interest you with over 100 venues. I would recommend visiting when the Rodeo finals are on. Rodeo’s are great family affairs. The excitement and entertainment has something for everyone.
Taste Tamworth (in April) and the annual Tamworth Long Lunch cater for the foodies and both are fun events. The farmers markets are 2nd Sunday and 4th Saturday of each month. Farmers markets truly highlight an areas produce and foodie treats and it shows that there is more to Tamworth than a Golden Guitar and country twang.
Safari Club Bar and Grill – I have a friend who thinks the steak in South Africa are so good that recently he booked a flight, arrived ate a steak and returned home – strange I know but he swears they know what to do with meat. Safari Club and Bar is not a cheesy steakhouse and in no way part of any chain, it is in the style of a South African char grill. They have a ‘L’il hunters menu’ so the kids are looked after.
The Old Bell Tower – Located in an old church in the heart of town, this is a café and gift and home ware store in one. This is a busy café. In my mind busy is good. Busy represents good enough for people to come back to. You will find a large selection of café style food and good coffee.
Addimi – another café on the main street. If you are looking for breakfast – this place is bustling early. On Friday and Saturday nights they open for dinner. If you are dining with the kids I recommend eating early.
Longyard Hotel – typical pub food with huge amounts of space. There is a kids playground out the back for the very small to let off some steam after lunch. They cater for kids and the service is not too bad.
Pig & Tinder Box – in my mind the place to eat in Tamworth. Surprisingly good for a country town. This place would not be out of place in a Sydney location. Casual dining and craft beers. They don’t have a ‘kid’s menu’ as such but as there is pizza on the menu, I am sure you will find something for them. Located in an old bank building you will love the feel of this place. Its old world meets hipster. There are loads of share dishes so be brave and try something new.
Get out there are experience a piece of country Australia.