Bushrangers have made way for breweries in Uralla, but the quintessential Aussie charm this town exudes isn’t going anywhere.
Situated directly between Sydney and Brisbane, at the union of the New England Highway and Thunderbolt’s Way, it seems fitting that the name ‘Uralla’ means ‘meeting place’ in the local Anaiwan language. This picturesque and charming town, with an intriguing history and unrivalled reputation as the ‘foodie capital of New England’, is the perfect place to experience the best that the New England High Country has to offer.
A blossoming urban culture, excellent food and wine and lush natural scenery prove Uralla offers everything you could fancy and more.
Considering Uralla’s status as a foodie-lovers paradise, it would be rude not to sample as much of the local fare as possible. Uralla boasts a diverse range of food experiences, including local markets, farm gate sales, cafes and restaurants, boutique wineries, artisan breweries and even a cidery and distillery. Highlights would have to be the Sunhill Dairy Goats farm and the New England Brewing Company, both of which offer experiences (and tastings!) that are totally unique to Uralla.
If you can drag yourself away from all the gourmet delicacies, you’ll discover history and heritage are a big attraction too. You can learn a lot about the old days of pastoralists, bushrangers and the local gold rush and who lived where by taking the self-guided Heritage Walk around the pretty streets of Uralla and past the historical buildings.
If you’ve ever seen any photos of the New England High Country, or done any research on the region, chances are you’ve seen this magnificent chapel before. The ridiculously photogenic building, which is covered in Virginia Creepers that turn a vivid red during the autumn months, is a favourite of photographers who visit the region. Constructed entirely by bricks that were made and fired on Gostwyck Station, the chapel is officially known as All Saints Anglican Church, and was built in 1921 to honour the memory of Major Clive Dangar. Visitors are welcome to explore the chapel grounds, so don’t forget your camera!
Uralla was once at the centre of NSW’s gold country, so why not try your luck at panning for some leftover gold at Wooldridge Recreation and Fossicking Reserve? Get your gold pans and maps are from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre, and cast your mind back to the distant past when around 5000 hopeful gold diggers camped out in the area. The reserve itself is a tranquil place, with sandy-bottomed pools perfect for a quick dip during the summer months, while shady ghost gums provide plenty of relief from the sun.
You don’t really know the story of Uralla, if you don’t know the story of Captain Thunderbolt: the ‘gentleman bushranger’ also known as Frederick Wordsworth Ward. His impressive crime spree saw him jailed for 10 years, but he soon escaped, hiding out at Split Rock, now recognized as Thunderbolt’s Rock. The giant boulder cluster was used by Captain Thunderbolt as a vantage point to scope out the approach of unwary mail coaches. Nowadays, along with a Captain Thunderbolt statue, the time-worn rocks are an impressive reminder of the impact the bushranger had on the town.
Positioned directly at the very middle point between Sydney and Brisbane, Uralla is located in the heart of the NSW Northern Tablelands.
Uralla is a five and a half hours drive from both Sydney and Brisbane.
If you are travelling from Sydney, the M1 followed by Thunderbolts Way will get you to Uralla; otherwise it’s via the National Highway and New England Highway if you’re driving from Brisbane.
Armidale Airport is only 22km from the centre of Uralla, and REX offers at least three daily flights direct to Armidale from Sydney.
Uralla’s high altitude and alpine like weather conditions means the town often experiences cold winters and mild summers. Most visitors to Uralla quickly realise however, that these clear, crisp days are often perfect for sightseeing and exploring. Like many of the New England High Country towns though, the general consensus is that it’s best to visit in autumn, when the trees come alive with rich autumn colours, and the weather hasn’t yet taken on an icy edge.
Home to Foodworks (Uralla’s go-to supermarket) and the usual selection of speciality boutiques, bakeries and general stores that often adorn the sidewalk of any country town – Uralla is also an antique store hotspot.
A love of anything heritage is obvious in Uralla, so take the time to browse through the antique shops - even galleries or museums, and you might pick up a bargain!
The following locations are home to RV dump points in Uralla: