New England Range Things to Do

  • Cathedral framed by autumn leaves
    Cathedral framed by autumn leaves
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  • The park beside
    The park beside
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    Late blooms
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Most Recent Things to Do in New England Range

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    Apsley Falls

    by iandsmith Updated Mar 4, 2005

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    Tranquility before chaos

    The lower Apsley Falls are reached via the Owens Trail that crosses the river before the main falls and skirts the clifftops on the northern side with some lookouts at key points. This is taken from just before the bridge that crosses the river, easily fordable most times without a bridge.
    It was about 2 minutes after taking this shot that I nearly stood a red-bellied black snake. Just as well he was more scared than me!

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    The Kindee Bridge

    by iandsmith Written Mar 4, 2005

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    Not to be missed

    There are certain roads in Australia. They are on the east coast and they travel from the coast to the top of the Great Dividing Range. En route they pass through, in my opinion, some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery Australia has to offer.
    Sadly, few international tourists gravitate onto these roads. Instead, lured by beaches they've only ever seen on brochures, they hug the coast. While I'm not knocking that activity, I am suggesting that you tarry awhile inland where you will come across scenes such as this on the Wauchope - Walcha Road. This route also passes by Tia and Apsley Falls, also included in these pages.
    If this has appeal then don't miss it. There's about a dozen such roads and all of them have something to offer.

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    Dangar Falls

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 1, 2005

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    Not quite vertical, just very very steep

    This is one of the many falls around Armidale that cascade from rolling farmland into the gorge that eventually becomes the Macleay River and the Oxley WIld Rivers National Park.
    Easily accessed and with a good range of walking trails (a good place to see echidnas), you will need your own transport to get there but it's only about 20kms from the town and, if you like that sort of thing, well worth a look.
    It's officially listed as a 394 foot drop.

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    Apsley Falls

    by iandsmith Updated Jan 30, 2005

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    Jagged steps

    This is on a road appropriately titled, these days, Waterfall Way. It was in a blatant attempt to promote the area and make people aware of what they were driving past, that the authorities renamed the roads.
    It's worked a treat. Slowly but surely people are starting to become aware of the fabulous gorges and falls that abound in the New England area.
    This is one of the better know ones, called Apsley. It's sharp drop over jagged steps into a precipitous gorge is spectacular, as is the canyon itself as it gravitates seaward.
    When this shot was taken, years ago, there were no facilities. Nowadays you can camp there, buy a hot dog (what are you thinking of, obviously not your weight!) at the kiosk and dine on the park tables.
    At 374 feet, it's not the longest drop but, believe me, it's still a looooong way to the bottom!
    It's situated east of Walcha, heading towards Port Macquarie.

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    Kootingal

    by iandsmith Written Jan 28, 2005

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    Pretty sign but not much else.

    This is not so much a "must-see" activity as a "hard-to-avoid" activity. Its proximity, adjacent to the New England Highway, means that you will notice but, apart from buying fuel at the local service station, I haven't found any reason to tarry there. The village has a nice setting, situated as it is at the base of the Moonbi Range, but there's nothing there to make you stop except this rather attractive sign that the local council has erected.

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    Storm chasing

    by iandsmith Written Jan 28, 2005

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    Threatening skies

    If storm chasing is your thing, the New England/North West region of N.S.W. is a good place be when they hit.
    Vast plains surrounded by hills and occasional mountains give uninterrupted views as the fronts move in, accompanied by the dramatic lightning and thunder that excites us but terrifies animals.
    This particular weather pattern had been around for a couple of days when I drove up there and, at one stage, there were storms to the left and right but not a drop was falling on the road. On another stretch, about an hour later, I was in the thick of it for about four minutes as it bucketed down, shortening visibility to around 100 metres.

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    Spring is sprung

    by iandsmith Written Aug 14, 2004

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    Delightful display

    Despite my constant harping about autumn, there are other seasons. Spring, for instance, is another season of optical delights. Apple and cherry blossoms vying for your visual attention.
    There's no specific place to see a whole bunch of blossoms, they are scattered here and there around the area.
    These particular ones were taken at Uralla, just 20kms south of Armidale.

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    Recycled

    by iandsmith Written Aug 13, 2004

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    A genuine photo opportunity

    If you're heading south of Armidale on the New England Highway and are keeping alert, somewhere south of Uralla you will see this building off to your left.
    It's an old railway building. Hard to imagine the time when someone would be employed full time to open and close railway gates when these days if three trains went through on the same day it would be rush hour.
    Still, that leaves a few sturdy little cottages available for someone to take over and this one has been featured in calendars and on posters.

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    A dolls house??? Indeed

    by iandsmith Written Aug 13, 2004

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    If you drive around to Armidale Railway Station, the first thing you will notice is that is has been painted in refreshingly bright colours. This happened to a lot of stations after steam departed. What also happened was that country stations fell into decline and some fetching old building were no longer needed, the station master's house being a classic example.
    So it was that these buildings were put to other uses; in the case of this one a dolls' museum! It actually only occupies the left hand side and to the right and beyond is still part of the railway station.

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    Guyra

    by iandsmith Written Aug 13, 2004

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    Colourful autumn

    In autumn in the New England some places look a lot better than they normally do. Right on the tree-lined New England Highway you will find the old Mechanics Institute building that scrubs up quite well with a bit of colourful foliage surrounding it.

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    Guyra sunset

    by iandsmith Written Aug 12, 2004

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    Classic Aussie sunset

    See, every place has something going for it, sometimes you just have to look harder that's all.
    Just as I was coming into Guyra, about 5kms south in fact, I could see something was about to happen in the sky and so pulled up to get one of those frequent and frequently wonderful outback Aussie sunsets.
    If you can't sit back and spend a few minutes watching one of these I do feel sorry for you. My world would be poorer without the experience. Enjoy!

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    Guyra

    by iandsmith Updated Aug 12, 2004

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    More than one attraction

    Guyra, it must be said, doesn't enjoy a wonderful reputation. The fact about it that is commonly bandied around is that is a renowned "cold hole".
    A friend of mine used to work as a schoolteacher up there for a few years and was fond of telling me the story of how, when he played golf in winter, the ball would get extra distance on the fairways as it skipped across the ice laden "grass".
    It also boasts the highest caravan park in Australia that also adds weight to why it's so cold. It sits exposed bisected by the New England Highway and these days tries hard to attract the tourist dollar but unfortunately its attractions are limited.
    This picture indicates two of them - (a) sheep and (b) the lamb and wool festival. Not really a lot to get over excited about!
    It has one recreation area I love the name of - the "Mother of Ducks Lagoon". I wonder what the locals have twisted that into.

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    Wollomombi Falls

    by iandsmith Updated Jun 10, 2004

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    Wollomombi (left) and Chandler Falls

    It's one of Australia's highest waterfalls and it's readily accessible off the aptly named Waterfall Way about 30 kilometres east of Armidale.
    There are picnic facilities and water here and there is a small village nearby (but not on site) should you need anything else.
    It is controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife so you can get your detailed information by contacting them in Armidale.
    What you see here are the Wollomombi Falls (left) and the Chandler Falls (right). The gorge is named after the latter but the whole thing is more commonly known as Wollomombi Falls.
    The official drop is 220 metres which makes it second only to Wallaman Falls in Queensland though the overall drop is more than 220 it's just that they don't count the more gently sloping cascades that lead into the main falls.

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    Gara Gorge

    by iandsmith Written Feb 4, 2004

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    Water crashing over the granite boulders

    Just 18kms out of Armidale you can do a 5.5km trek along the Threlfall Hydro-electric Loop Walk. This, in part, follows Australia's first practical commercial hydro electric scheme which saw water diverted along a wooden flume before plunging down to the turbine that supplied power to nearby Hillgrove, at the time a booming mining town. It operated from 1894 to 1920 and its history is outlined on plaques along the route.
    The start of the track is over an attractive timber truss bridge and the apex of the loop has a fine lookout over the lower gorge. During the early sections you can divert to views of the stream (caution advised, it may be steep and slippery). It was on one such side trip that I took this picture.
    The Blue Hole mentioned in the Directions is an excellent swimming hole. I last swam there on a warm summer's day and the temperature was a glorious 26 degrees. (That's celcius for you Americans). It's located about 500 metres from the start of the walk.

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    Railway Museum

    by iandsmith Written Jul 27, 2003

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    A happening museum

    The independent member for the New England area was keen to achieve something and one of his pushes was for a railway museum to give the rail junction at Werris Creek a much-needed shot in the arm. The fact that he was successful is already showing up in the town where the street signs are shaped like railway signals and the historic station is getting a wonderful facelift to show off its exhibits, the number of which are increasing almost daily.
    The picture is taken at the opposite end of the station to the museum but, if you're a train buff, any picture of a train is a good one!
    The train shown is the daily one from Sydney to Tamworth.

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