|Maitland - Tamworth|
|The Upper Hunter & Beyond|
From the wineries of the Hunter Valley, this journey takes you to historic townships, rugged national parks and farming plains, then up onto the Great Dividing Range to Tamworth - the famous home of country music.
Starting from the provincial city of Maitland in the Lower Hunter, take the New England Highway to Singleton. If you have time, firstly travel north from Maitland to Dungog, the gateway to the high Barrington Tops - although there are later opportunities to explore this spectacular national park.
The highway first passes the winery region around Branxton, and then leads you to Singleton, one of Australia’s oldest towns. Founded in the 1820s, this attractive settlement features historic buildings and several museums - it is also the access point for the pristine wilderness of Wollemi and Yengo National Parks.
Muswellbrook, the next major highway centre, is another historic town with an art gallery and several interesting urban walks. You can also tour the Bayswater Power Station and drive to nearby Denman to sample fine wines at one of the Upper Hunter’s wineries - Rosemount Estate Wines is particularly recommended.
To the north, Scone is at the heart of a famous horse breeding area and the western gateway to Barrington Tops National Park. There are some delightful old buildings here, and plenty of opportunities for horse riding. Nearby Quirindi, another renowned horse region is known as the ‘home of Australian polo’.
Up on the Great Dividing Range, the large rural centre of Tamworth is the undisputed ‘Country Music Capital of Australia’, with a famous annual festival that celebrates this style of music. There are galleries and museums here, but country fans should head for the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown. For outdoor pursuits, nearby Lake Keepit, Tamworth’s favourite recreation area, offers boating, swimming and gliding.
Where to Stay
Time required: 2 days are recommended