Cradled in the rich blacksoil flats of the Peel River Valley at the southern foot of the New England
Tableland, Tamworth is a prosperous rural city and the heartland of Australian country music. The city, 400km north-west of Sydney, has been hosting the Australian Country Music Festival in January since 1973. The city’s population doubles to more than 60,000 when aficionados from across the land gather for a 10-day hoe-down which culminates with the Golden Guitar Awards.
It's perhaps inevitable that many of the city's attractions are steeped in its country music roots. The Country Music Hands Of Fame Cornerstone is a tribute to outstanding performers in Australian country music and more hand prints are added as part of the annual festival.
Australian Country Music Foundation Museum has displays relating to the history of Tamworth and Australian country music.
On the New England Highway on the southern approach to Tamworth stands the Big Golden Guitar, a replica of the rather smaller ones awarded each year. The complex houses the Country Music "The Gallery of Stars" Wax Museum, together with a cafe and shop.
But while the twang of guitars is never stilled on the city’s airwaves, there is much more to Tamworth.
Tamworth City Gallery is one of the largest and oldest art galleries in NSW. Its collection includes works by Turner, Heysen and Ashton. Bicentennial Park has walks, lakes and fountains. Calala Cottage, the home built for the first mayor, Philip Gidley King, is the centrepiece of Tamworth's Historic Village.
The Powerstation Museum commemorates the centenary of Tamworth's place in history as the first town in the southern hemisphere to be lit by electricity. It has an extensive collection of early electrical appliances.
Tamworth Regional Botanic Gardens occupy some 28 hectares of Victoria Park and Oxley Park. It has fine displays of local flora as well as plants from other parts of Australia and the rest of the world that are suited to Tamworth's climate. Next door, Endeavour Drive Marsupial Park is a sanctuary for kangaroos and other native wildlife.
Drive up White Street to Oxley Scenic Lookout for great views of the city and the river. There are picnic tables and barbeques.
Australian Country Music Festival (January)
Things to do:
- Tamworth Information Centre - Corner Peel & Murray Streets. Includes Walk a Country Mile Interpretive Centre
- Australian Country Music Foundation Museum
- Big Golden Guitar - including the Country Music "The Gallery of Stars" Wax Museum
- Tamworth City Gallery
- Bicentennial Park for walks, lakes and fountains
- Tamworth's Historic Village - includes Calala Cottage
- Powerstation Museum - collection of early electrical appliances
- Tamworth Regional Botanic Gardens
- Endeavour Drive Marsupial Park - sanctuary for kangaroos and other native wildlife
- Oxley Scenic Lookout - great views of the city and river
Find out more about the New England