Autumn Getaways in NSW

Relax and unwind on an autumn getaway in regional NSW. From the rolling hills of the New England region in the northwest to the vast, open spaces of the Great Western Plains and south to the sundrenched Riverina region, you’ll be spoilt for choice for an unforgettable autumn adventure. 

Time out in Tamworth

Views over Tamworth. Image via Destination NSW
Views over Tamworth. Image via Destination NSW

The main hub of the beautiful New England region, Tamworth bursts into vibrant seasonal colour each autumn, with dramatic claret ash, golden poplars and chestnut and maple trees on show in the tree-lined streets and gardens. Five hours’ northwest of Sydney, Tamworth is famous for its cultural festivals, scenic drives and delicious food and wine.

The home of Australian country music, each year in April thousands of music lovers flock to Tamworth for the world-famous Tamworth Country Music Festival. With local and international musicians, the 10-day festival features a packed calendar of shows and performances. Stop for a selfie at the famous Big Golden Guitar at the Visitor information Centre on your way into town. 

With its fertile farmland and cool climate, the Tamworth region produces some fine drops and outstanding local produce. For a taste of superb cool-climate wines and delicious dry ciders, visit the 150-year old cellar door of Merilba Estate, one of the region’s top wineries. Sample fresh seasonal produce and artisanal goods at the Tamworth Community Saturday Market, held every Saturday in the Village Green.

For spectacular views across Tamworth and the Peel River valley, head to the Oxley Scenic Lookout. Keep an eye out for the painted water tank at the top, part of the Australian Silo Art Trail. Enjoy more scenic views on the Fossickers Way touring route, exploring the historic and picturesque villages of Nundle, Gunnedah and Uralla. Stop by the quaint Gostwyck Chapel in Uralla, covered in Virginia creeper that turns a brilliant crimson in autumn. 

How to get there and where to stay

Tamworth is 5 hours north of Sydney, 3.5 hours west of Port Macquarie and 1hr and 20 mins southwest of Armidale. You can catch a train or bus from Sydney, and Tamworth regional airport also has flights connecting to Sydney and Brisbane, with hire car services available. There are plenty of comfortable accommodation options to choose from, including the charming and historic Quality Inn Ashby House, the CH Boutique Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection in the heart of Tamworth CBD and Econo Lodge Savannah Park.

Welcome to Wagga Wagga

Canola fields in Wagga Wagga. Image via Destination NSW
Canola fields in Wagga Wagga. Image via Destination NSW

The heart of the Riverina farming region and NSW’s largest inland city, Wagga Wagga (or just Wagga, as it’s affectionately known) is a bustling regional city on the beautiful Murrumbidgee River, known for its four distinct seasons and abundant natural beauty.

Get out amongst it on the Wiradjuri Trail that winds its way for 42kms along the river and waterways and around town, including lovely Wagga Beach, a popular local gathering place. Take a dip in the warmer months or enjoy a riverside picnic, complete with a sandy beach, grassy areas and BBQ facilities. If you’re an early riser, enjoy the early morning stillness of the Murrumbidgee River on a tranquil riverbank walk.

For vivid autumn colours, head to the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens in the Willans Hill Reserve. Set over 22 acres, there are nine garden areas and spaces to explore such as the Shakespearean Garden and the Tree Chapel. There’s also a free zoo and aviary, a children’s adventure playground and even a miniature railway. Visit the nearby Museum of the Riverina for a fascinating deep dive into the history and stories of the inland farming region.

Wagga is jam-packed with events, festivals and fun things to do in autumn. The Fusion22 Multicultural Street Festival is back in the Victory Memorial Gardens, with a diverse array of entertainment, music and feasting options. Treat your mum to a fun family day out at The Mothers Day Family Frolic with a delicious feast included or join a hands-on cooking class and learn how to make authentic Yum Cha, prepare and cook seafood or make a traditional Mexican banquet. 

How to get there and where to stay

Wagga is located midway between Melbourne and Sydney and is two and a half hours from Canberra. Daily flights operate from both Sydney and Melbourne and NSW TrainLink runs a twice-daily rail service, connecting both Sydney and Melbourne with Wagga Wagga. Find comfortable accommodation in the heart of town at Comfort Inn Heritage Wagga. Quality Inn Carriage House offers a peaceful stay on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, while Quality Hotel Rules Club Wagga is a great destination for families, couples or groups.

Discover open plains Dubbo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Image via Destination NSW
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Image via Destination NSW

Northwest of Sydney, on the banks of the Macquarie River, Dubbo is known as the capital of the vast Western Plains. A charming and vibrant regional centre in the heart of the Macquarie Valley, Dubbo is also renowned for its grand colonial heritage and legendary zoo, making it an ideal destination for an autumn getaway. 

Indeed, the award-winning Taronga Western Plains Zoo, where animals roam free in large, open spaces, is a Dubbo must-do. Walk, drive or ride around the Zoo’s five km circuit on hired bikes or carts, and see hundreds of rare and endangered animals including giraffes, rhinos, elephants and big cats in their natural habitat.

The historic Old Dubbo Gaol once housed some of Australia’s most notorious criminals and now offers a glimpse of 19th-century prison life within its restored sandstone walls. Take an atmospheric After Dark tour or book a Beyond the Grave tour for even more spine-tingling tales. You can also explore the town’s impressive heritage sites on the Dubbo Heritage Walk. Stop by the Visitor Information Centre for details.

On a clear night, go stargazing at Dubbo Observatory and join a guided night sky tour of the universe. View extraordinary planets, stars and galaxies up close through powerful telescopes and learn about astronomy in a fascinating 75-minute presentation. You can even bring your own Canon or Nikon SLR camera for an astrophotography session.

How to get there and where to stay

Dubbo is five hours’ west of Sydney and 4 hrs and 40 mins northwest of Canberra. You can fly into Dubbo airport from most Australian capital cities and regional centres, and NSW TrainLink runs a daily rail service between Sydney Central and Dubbo. Places to stay include the Comfort Inn Dubbo City, only five minutes from Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and the award-winning Quality Inn Dubbo International with an on-site bar and restaurant.

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