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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is an atypical park of rural Australia, it's also an award winner. What the parks usually are is some landscaped recreational space, usually taking up a whole block or more. Some have children's play areas, some have barbecues, all have lovely gardens or trees.
I usually make a point when passing through rural towns of finding out where the local one is and checking it out. I have yet to be disappointed.
This one is located at Uralla, just 22 kilometres south of Armidale, and is best viewed in autumn, but pleasant anytime.
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.
If you're on the New England Highway between Glen Innes and Tenterfield, then you may consider taking a diversion out to Old Mystery Face or the waterfalls (often water trickles).
It's a little bit out of Torrington, a town you'd never hear of and probably never want to visit unless you had relatives there.
In fact, it's one of those towns that is struggling just to be there and the little bit of tourism that the nearby rock formations have brought is a blessing.
When you get to the Torrington State Recreation Area there is a carpark from where you take a fairly easy walking trail to the formations.
The reserve covers 29,350 hectares with the highest elevation being 1,300 metres and is ideal for scrub bashing as we call it in Australia.
Torrington has a caravan park and a Bar & Grill with beds and nearby Emmaville (my recommendation) has a caravan park and two hotels though those seeking 4 and 5 star accommodation need not apply.
See my entry under "Off the beaten track" for more details on Mystery Face.
This is some of a series of shots I took adjacent to the New England Highway just south of Tamworth. I remember ringing my mate Col, another keen amateur photographer, and tipping him off it might be going to happen that night.
With the luck of the draw I was driving and found a lovely foreground that the whole spectacle worked around while Col, some 15 kilometres away, didn't even bother taking a picture as his viewpoint was so different and it didn't really happen where he was.
If you go to the extra pictures you will clearly see the various phases that it went through. I took about 10 to get these. Hope you enjoy.
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.
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.
For me, just about the best time to visit anywhere in Australia is autumn or spring.
Down here though, we don't have the awesome displays of colour that the Northern Hemisphere gets, mainly because we don't have native deciduous trees. Some towns though have planted a lot of imports so they are like a box of jewels when you are driving along rolling countryside then suddenly, the lid is opened when you see the town.
Generally, the further south you go, the more you see but Armidale, in the north half of the state, has one of the better displays, usually around May.
For more see my travelogue.