Flourishing markets, stylish distilleries and delicious restaurants that rate among NSW’s finest. Famed for its country music festival and lush countryside, Tamworth is also home to an abundance of innovative chefs, brewers and flavours. In fact, it’s hard to know which direction to turn. Luckily, we’re here to help you taste your way forward with ease. Base yourself in Tamworth for a culinary journey that inspires the palate and takes you on a memorable tour of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Here are 8 unmissable stops on the Tamworth food trail.
Tamworth Growers Market
Start at the locally grown source. The Tamworth Growers Market is a great place to browse the homegrown seasonal produce of the region, from farm fresh fruit and vegetables to gourmet jams, condiments and crusty artisan bread. Held every Saturday morning, you can meet friendly local growers, makers and producers, sample delicious handcrafted foods, with live music and scenic surrounds.
DECO Wine Bar & Restaurant
While you’re in town be sure to settle into this timber-panelled bar, where you’ll find the flavours of the region instantly at your fingertips. The CH Boutique Hotel’s beautiful inhouse restaurant, tucked in a gorgeous Art Deco heritage building in Peel Street, the DECO Wine Bar & Restaurant is a shining light in modern Australian cuisine – perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail or a cosy dinner.
The Pig & Tinder Box
Setting up shop in 1848, The Pig and Tinder Box was one of the first pubs in the New England Region. Fast-forward to present time, ‘The Pig’ is reinvented as a casual dining and urban bar oasis. Occupying the iconic heritage-listed old bank building in the heart of town, The Pig bustles with life, character and atmosphere which solidifies the venue as unparalleled for dining, drinking and entertainment among locals and travellers.
An hour’s drive north, in the village of Kentucky you’ll find the unique Dobson’s Distillery on the Eastview Estate. This grain to glass distillery crafts some of the finest artisan spirits in the world, with tours available upon request. Start with a gin or whiskey tasting in The Speakeasy, their stylish jazz and blues bar, or sample one of their craft brewed beers on tap. Lunch is available on the weekends, showcasing the amazing produce of the region.
If a premium wine tasting is what you’re after, Merilba Estate is one of the New England region’s top wineries, and produces superb cool-climate wines and delicious dry ciders. Located just outside Uralla, a gorgeous hour’s drive north of Tamworth, their superbly restored 150-year old rustic cellar door is open for wine tastings and lunch on the weekends, with stunning views over the valley and the Honeysuckle Range.
Heading south from Tamworth on the Liverpool Plains, is the charming hamlet of Willow Tree, where you’ll find the historic Willow Tree Inn and its award-winning restaurant Graze, with Michelin Star awarded chef Ben Davies at the helm. Settle in by the crackling fire, beneath 100-year old ironbark beams, and feast on succulent pasture-fed Colly Creek steaks, alongside a seasonal menu featuring the freshest, locally-grown produce.
Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm
Just past the historic gold rush village of Nundle, the Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm with its renowned Drunken Trout Cafe & Nundle Smokehouse provides a great day out. Take a farm tour of the trout-growing ponds or try your luck fishing for salmon or rainbow trout. There are BBQ facilities so you can grill your catch or you can sample delicious gourmet smoked trout products from the farm-gate shop. The cafe is open for lunch on Sundays.
Taste Tamworth Festival
Not exactly an venue, but a culinary celebration of local food, wine and produce that shouldn’t be missed – the Taste Tamworth Festival, brings the best of the region together in a much-loved annual foodie extravaganza. With pop-up bars and festival favourites such as High Tea in the Gardens and The Long Lunch, the 10-day epicurean event is held each year in April and attracts food-lovers from far and wide.
How do I get to Tamworth?
Tamworth is a five hour drive from Sydney and a three hour drive from Newcastle. You can also get here via a scenic seven hour drive from Brisbane. NSW TrainLink runs train and bus services from both interstate locations and across the region to Tamworth Railway Station. There are also flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Tamworth Regional Airport.
Where to stay in Tamworth
A top place to stay in Tamworth, the CH Boutique Hotel – home to the renowned DECO Wine Bar – offers exceptional accommodation experiences, with a range of options that include spas, kitchenettes and lounge suites. Set in a colonial style building, the Quality Inn Ashby House is 1km from the station, and has great facilities that include a gym. Econolodge Savannah Park is a great place to stop and rest, nestled in 15 acres of lawns and gardens.