Heading inland is not what you generally do when you’re after an aquatic holiday, but the NSW regional town of Moree has long had tourists doing exactly that!
Sitting right above Australia’s Great Artesian Basin, the town’s hot springs have been drawing visitors since 1895 with their promise of rejuvenation. However, there’s so much more to discover in this historic destination. Here’s a checklist of some of the great things to do in and around Moree.
1. Enjoy a soak at the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre
Not many visitors come to Moree without practising a bit of balneological therapy (put simply – bathing in a mineral spring for therapeutic effect). Some schools of thought suggest that the body soaks up the sulphur and magnesium usually found in artesian water, which helps heal ailments and fight illness. Many bathers swear by a mineral spring’s ability to ease arthritis and muscular pain. You be the judge. As well as the thermal pools, the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre has a 10-metre high waterslide and waterpark for the kids. You can soak up the mineral goodness peacefully while the kids have a hoot at the same time.
2. Step back in time to the 1920s and 30s
Take a stroll back in time along Balo Street in Moree’s town centre and admire the wonderful collection of Art Deco buildings. Built between 1920 and 1939, each of the restored historic buildings is unique in its design. Pick up a copy of the Moree Heritage Trail map from the Visitor Information Centre. It includes 14 places of historic interest to see within the town centre.
3. Enjoy Moree’s bank of fabulous art
Housed in the beautiful 1910 federation-style building (once the home of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney), the Bank Art Museum Moree (BAMM) is home to both the work of contemporary Australian artists and one of regional Australia’s most significant collections of Aboriginal art. Pop in for one of their art workshops or simply to browse the collection. If you’re in Moree at the end of June through to late July, don’t miss the BAMM Art Fair which includes several special events and off-site exhibitions.
4. Take a tour of Australia’s biggest pecan farm
Along with its abundance of artesian water, Moree boasts some of Australia’s most fertile soil – which is ideal for growing pecan nuts. That’s why Trawalla Farm – located 35 kilometres from Moree – produces 95 percent of Australia’s pecan crop. The farm can be visited on a pre-booked guided tour (contact Moree Tourism for details). Morning tea with a decadent piece of pecan slice is served under the shade of the pecan trees.
5. Discover local agriculture
Cotton is another local agricultural success story, and seasonal tours to a working cotton farm are also available to visitors. See first-hand how cotton is grown, harvested and sent off for ‘ginning’ (the term given to the cleaning and separation of cotton seeds from the cotton lint). Contact Moree Tourism for tour bookings.
6. Go birdwatching in one of the largest wetlands in New South Wales
Moree is a twitcher’s delight. The stunning Gwydir Wetlands, located roughly 60 kilometres northwest of the town, are home to over 75 species of waterbird – including some endangered and migratory species. Egrets, ibises and herons abound. There’s a bird hide to watch from. Otherwise, a lightweight canoe is a great way for the more serious bird watcher to navigate their way around the lagoon.
7. Cook up a storm at the Moree on a Plate Festival
There’s not much point in being one of Australia’s most successful agricultural districts if you can’t show it off every now and then. Moree on a Plate is a food, wine and arts festival that showcases the best of the region’s produce. Held in May each year, the festival includes cooking demonstrations, classes and competitions. If you’re handy with a pair of tongs, you can take part in a BBQ cook- off for the honour of being crowned the Moree BBQ King.
8. Land a great meal at The Big Plane
Regional Australia is renowned for its ‘big’ tourist attractions, and Moree’s claim to oversized fame is The Big Plane. However, this is no fibreglass model. It’s real! Converted from an A65-67 to a Civilian DC3 in 1975, the aircraft was given to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force by the Australian Government. After developing an oil leak mid-air 17 years later, the time was right for retirement. The Big Plane now occupies pride of place at the Amaroo Tavern, where visitors can walk through it and even take a seat in the cockpit. Follow your ‘flight’ with a delicious chicken parma and a cold beer in the tavern’s beer garden.
The perfect accommodation for you in Moree
Located in the heart of Moree, the Econo Lodge Moree Spa Motor Inn offers a complimentary roundtrip airport shuttle. Perfect for all travellers, the property includes an outdoor pool and barbecue area. Book direct and get the best value for your stay.
About the writer
Marianne Diaz is a research scientist by day and a freelance travel writer by night! She’s travelled to Sri Lanka to explore her children’s part-heritage, and enjoyed research trips to Japan, and Bloomington, Chicago and Boston in the USA. She also loves exploring history-laden Australian towns.