Forget the Scottish Highlands, get your very own taste of Celtic traditions in Glen Innes.
With lush countryside, rolling hills, and - on occasion - the odd snowfall, visitors to Glen Innes are forgiven if they think they’ve accidently been transported to the Scottish Highlands! The similarities don’t end there either, with the Glen Innes region renowned across the country as being the Celtic heart of Australia.
Settled by Scottish barrister Archibald Boyd in 1838, Glen Innes is now a charming mix of beautiful scenery, ornate architecture and tangible history. More than 50 heritage-listed buildings line the busy main street, while the natural paradise of the New England High Country sits on the doorstep of this charming country community. Glen Innes truly is a town that has it all.
There is no shortage of wonders in this rich, rural town, with Glen Innes overflowing with impressive attractions and things to do. Those who love the great outdoors will be thrilled by the nearby world heritage national parks that offer the opportunity to bushwalk, bike ride, horse ride, camp, picnic, canoe and rock climb. Glen Innes is also an exciting playground for food and wine aficionados, with the diverse cuisine options guaranteed to appease any palate. So make sure to pack your appetite!
There are also numerous festivals held throughout the year – none more popular than the Australian Celtic Festival – which keep locals and visitors alike busy and entertained all year long!
Spectacular granite outcrops and breathtaking views await you around every corner when you visit the World Heritage-listed Gibraltar National Park. Just 79km out of Glen Innes, Gibraltar National Park is the perfect park to explore if you’re looking for an easy day trip. As part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, much of the plant and animal species have survived from the dinosaur age, making it a particularly remarkable park.
The giant rock formations that loom out from the dense rainforest are known as Tors, and were formed during volcanic activity millions of years ago. Don’t miss the highlights of the park – The Pinnacles, Anvil Rock and The Needles - all rock formations that offer stunning views across the park, and accessible via walking or mountain bike tracks.
The Australian Standing Stones - inspired by the Ring of Brodgar, on Scotland’s Orkney Islands – are a tribute to Glen Innes’ strong Celtic heritage. Not only do the stones honour the Celtic people who helped pioneer Australia, but they have now become a national gathering point for all Celtic descendants and clans.
Comprising 40 granite monoliths, the Standing Stones have a centre circle of 24 stones, all standing 3 metres high, representing 24 hours of the day. When viewed from above, the arrangement incorporates both a Celtic and Southern Cross design. With the increasing popularity of the Australian Celtic Festival, which Glen Innes hosts annually, the significance of the Australian Standing Stones only continues to grow.
The Land of the Beardies History House Museum is a Folk Museum that occupies the building formerly known as the Glen Innes District Hospital. The uniquely titled museum gets its name from two infamous stockmen – John Duval and Chandler – who guided settlers to the Glen Innes district, and (not surprisingly) had rather impressive beards.
The 25 rooms of the old hospital are filled with artefacts, photographs, outfits and plenty of hospital gear. Outside, the spacious grounds house early agricultural equipment and farming machinery. The History House Museum is open all year round.
Tucked away in the New England High Country region of NSW, Glen Innes is easily accessible from both Sydney and Brisbane.
The New England Highway is the most direct route when travelling to Glen Innes from both Sydney and Brisbane. The journey takes approximately 5 hours from Brisbane, and 8 hours from Sydney.
NSW Trainlink runs daily services to Glen Innes (via Armidale and Tenterfield) from Sydney; while trains run every second day to Glen Innes from Brisbane (via Grafton and Casino), also with NSW Trainlink.
A number of bus companies, including Greyhound and New England Coaches, run daily services to Glen Innes from Brisbane, Sydney, Armidale and Tamworth.
To determine the best time to visit Glen Innes, consult the events calendar! Trust us, for a relatively small country town, Glen Innes certainly packs a punch when it comes to hosting festivals and commemorations! There’s the Australian Celtic Festival held over the first weekend in May, or the Minerama Fossicking, Gem and Jewellery show on the second weekend in March. Or you might want to stop by during the Pastoral and Agricultural Show in February – in Glen Innes, there’s something on to keep you busy all year round!
Ask any local for advice on when to visit though, and they’ll tell you it’s at the turn of the season. For them, nothing beats the heat of summer giving way to the crispness of autumn, or the frosty mornings that signify winter is approaching.
With two pharmacies, a hardware store, bakery and a camping and fishing store just some of the shopping facilities located in Glen Innes, you don’t need to worry about going without when in town.
Glen Innes is also home to Coles and Woolworths - for all your grocery needs, and the main streets of town are filled with speciality stores, cafes and boutiques, should you need anything a little special.
Glen Innes is home to the following RV dump points: