Having lost none of its Federation-era charm, it won’t take much for the vibrant town of Tenterfield to completely win you over.
With a colourful and important history that includes bushrangers, key political figures, Australian troops and world-famous performers, it comes as no surprise to learn that Tenterfield is also known as the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’. Sir Henry Parkes famously delivered his Federation Speech in Tenterfield in 1889, which would ultimately result in the federation of all Australian states, and since then Tenterfield has continued to flourish.
While the 100+ heritage-listed buildings found in Tenterfield still give off that distinct Federation feel, today Tenterfield is a hub for those wishing to experience the regions spectacular natural scenery and growing reputation as a gourmet food and wine destination.
Set against a backdrop of rugged mountains, undulating valleys and dense bushland, visit Tenterfield and you’ll constantly be reminded of the numerous national parks and state forests that border the town. So whether it’s bushwalking, camping, swimming or bird watching you’re after – you’ll find it in one of the many national parks and state forests surrounding Tenterfield.
Keen to get a taste of Tenterfield, perhaps? From orchards, vineyards, breweries - even a lavender farm - there’s something to eat and drink in Tenterfield that even the most discerning palate will enjoy. There is no limit to what you can experience in this exciting and energetic New England town.
Opened in 1886, this magnificent building – a stunning example of Gothic Victorian architecture – was once a busy railway stop on the well-frequented route between Sydney and Brisbane. These days, the station hosts an impressive array of railway relics, from passenger and freight trains to luggage carts and other equipment including suitcases, curios and railway advertisements from throughout the 20th century. Nine rooms house the artefacts, while the platform has been transformed into a peaceful garden, complete with old passenger trains sitting at the platform.
For incredible rock formations and the largest exposed granite rock in the Southern Hemisphere, head to Bald Rock National Park. Only half an hour out of town, Bald Rock NP is perfect for an easy day trip out of Tenterfield. A gentle 2.5km climb will get you to the summit of Bald Rock, which rises 260m above the bushland, and you’ll be greeted with panoramic views over the boulder-studded landscape. Shady picnic spots and BBQ facilities all add to the appeal of this popular national park.
More than just a Peter Allen song – the Tenterfield Saddler on High St is now listed by the National Trust and is well worth a visit when you’re in town. The site itself was first bought in 1858, but it wasn’t until 1897 that it became Tenterfield’s first saddler. Peter Allen isn’t the only celebrity to have ties to the saddler, either: the poet Banjo Paterson was a famous customer. The building still remains mostly in its original condition, with patched wooden floors and tobacco stains on the ceiling, and you can now browse through this living museum for leather goods and historic tools that are for sale.
Located on the Northern Tablelands district of NSW, Tenterfield is situated close to the NSW and Queensland border.
Only three hours from Brisbane, Tenterfield is a cruisy 270km away, via the National Highway and New England Highway – perfect for a weekend getway!
Reaching Tenterfield from Sydney is a bit longer, with the 660km journey taking seven and a half hours, also via the New England Highway.
A number of bus companies, including Greyhound, New England Coaches and Northern Rivers Buslines, run daily services to Tenterfield from Brisbane, Sydney, Armidale, Tamworth, Casino and Lismore.
The mild alpine climate of Tenterfield sees the region enjoy warm, pleasant temperatures in summer, and crisp, bright days in winter. An average (and very pleasant) temperature of 22°C greets visitors in Spring, when the dazzling wildflowers come into bloom, but our tip on when to visit is definitely autumn. Tree-lined streets in dazzling colours of scarlet, gold and bronze set the town alight, and the clear skies make it the perfect time to explore the national parks, or wander through town.
High-quality boutiques, giftware stores and a variety of unique shops are dotted right throughout Tenterfield, allowing ample opportunity to pick up something special during a visit.
Tenterfield is also home to a Target, and has three supermarkets to choose from: Coles, FoodWorks and Festival Supermarket.
Tenterfield has a public RV dump point at the back gate entrance of the showgrounds, on Miles Street.