Armidale is a city in New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, in the Northern Tablelands region of the state. The city is known for its historical buildings, including the Armidale School and the Armidale Cathedral, as well as its natural beauty and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. It is also a center of education and culture, with a number of schools, museums, and art galleries.
While in Armidale, you should not miss a visit to the town’s historic railway station, which was built in 1882 and is now a Railway Museum. This building honors the men who built the Great Northern Railway and includes ornamental chimneys and moldings. The stationmaster’s residence was also preserved and now features an Aboriginal Cultural Centre. You can also visit the New England Regional Art Museum, a public regional gallery.
If you’re planning a road trip in the New England region, you’ll want to explore Waterfall Way in Armidale. This 191 km route winds from Armidale to Coffs Harbour. It’s known as the Waterfall Way for a reason, as the route winds past waterfalls and national parks. Upon your arrival in Armidale, you’ll be able to visit Ebor Falls and Wollomombi Gorge, as well as enjoy picnics and hiking trails in the cool climate.
Ebor is the heart of the Waterfall Way. The village was first settled in the late 1800s and opened a post office in 1868. The village now has a petrol station, motel, and cafe, as well as abundant supplies of freshwater trout. The town is rich in black truffles, Wagyu beef, and freshwater trout, and it’s the perfect place to stop for a meal while you explore Waterfall Way.
You can drive the entire Waterfall Way, although you’ll have limited options for accommodation between Armidale and Bellingen. However, Coffs Harbour is only 35 km away from Bellingen, the start of the Waterfall Way. A trip to Armidale won’t be complete without a visit to the Coffs Harbour aquarium. If you plan to stop in Armidale, make sure you take your first-aid kit and hat. You’ll need both to enjoy the waterfalls and enjoy the town’s heritage.
In the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, 40km east of Armidale, you can visit the dramatic Wollomombi Falls. The main viewing platform is approximately 200m from the carpark and offers the best view of the falls. You can also hike the Wollomombi Walking Track, a 4.2km return trek across the gorge. The walk will provide you with a glimpse of the ecology of the region, as well as colonidale’s history.
To get to the top of the falls, follow the Wollomombi Walking Track. This moderately-inclined track leads you along the gorge rim, taking in different lookout points, including Eagle Lookout and Chandler Waterfall. You can complete the walk in about two hours, or even longer, depending on the views. It is possible to see the entire waterfall from a higher viewpoint, but there is no direct access.
The waterfalls are located on the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, which is a World Heritage site. The park contains spectacular gorges and waterfalls that are sure to make anyone’s jaws drop. You’ll be amazed at the sheer height of Wollomombi Falls, which plunges more than 220m in a single fall. And the stunning gorge system makes it an ideal place for a picnic or family trip.
Located in the picturesque Armidale region, the Saumarez Homestead was built in the 1830s. Its two-storey mansion has 30 rooms and 15 outbuildings. The homestead is a time capsule of early farming life, with heritage roses and historic farm equipment. During the spring and summer, it comes alive with spring flowers, such as wisteria and cottage flowers. In early summer, the Heritage Rose Garden is blooming with masses of roses that contrast with the big New England skies. In autumn, heritage and exotic trees provide rich and vibrant colour to the gardens, buildings, and outbuildings.
Although naturally shy, Mary Philp took on civic duties, including founding the Tablelands branch of the Country Women’s Association. She later served on the council of New England University College. Her daughters, Doris and Maggie, also grew up to become nurses. By 1914, the halcyon Edwardian chapter of life on Saumarez Homestead in Armidale had come to an end. After the death of his Uncle Frederick White, Francis and Mary decided to build an extra storey on their homestead. The additions feature many Art Nouveau-style features.
When you want to visit a picturesque waterfall, consider going to Dangars Falls in Armidale, which is a short drive from the town of Dorrigo. You’ll find ample parking and paved walking tracks to this site. It’s also close to Apsley Falls and Chandler Falls. Both are beautiful waterfalls, and the area is popular for camping and photography. You can drive to the falls or park at the car park.
There are two great lookout points to view the waterfall. Falls Lookout is a paved path that stretches for 100 metres. This vantage point gives you a clear view of the falls and the rainbow that forms in the spray. If you’d like to get even closer to the waterfall, head to Falls View, a platform that sits directly over the falls. Be prepared to get wet from the spray, though.
After the falls, you can continue on to the beautiful Dangars Chapel. This historic site was constructed in 1921 to commemorate Major Dangar. The road leading to the chapel is lined with 200 elm trees. Another impressive gorge to see is Apsley Gorge. This is not part of the Waterfall Way but is more peaceful and unspoiled than other waterfalls in the area. Regardless, a visit to the gorge will be unforgettable.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
The lush, green forests of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in New South Wales bear some striking resemblance to those found in the nearby Blue Mountains, but you won’t find the tour buses or the crowds. You can still experience the same dramatic vistas and breathtakingly beautiful rock formations, but there’s nothing that compares to the sheer beauty and tranquility of the national park.
The gorges in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park are stunning and include one of the highest waterfalls in Australia, Wollomombi Falls. The rim-top tracks allow you to enjoy the stunning view in all directions. You can also go for a picnic lunch at the park’s popular café. And don’t forget to check out the Wollomombi Falls, which are about 21 km from Armidale.
The Oxley Wild Rivers National Park has an abundance of fauna, including over 350 species of birds and 55 different types of mammals. The park is a major refuge for the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby, with the largest confirmed population in the Green Gully area of Yarrowitch. You’ll also find numerous small ground mammals, including quolls, common brushtail possums, sugar gliders, and wedge-tailed possums.
New England Regional Art Museum
The New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale is a leading tourist attraction and cultural facility in the region of New South Wales, Australia. The museum also houses a unique museum dedicated to printing, with finely crafted machinery and equipment, as well as type from the F.T. Wimble and Co. Collections. The museum also features high-quality ceramics and innovative toys, as well as a bookshop selling specialised publications.
The museum is located in a thriving residential suburb of Armidale and is a short walk or five-minute drive from the hotel. The museum is home to the Howard Hinton Collection, which contains more than 1,300 works of Australian art. Many of these works are from leading Australian artists from the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries, such as Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Margaret Coen, Hans and Nora Heysen, Esther Patterson, Norman Lindsay, Lionel Lindsay, Adrian Feint, Herbert Badham, and more.
Saints Mary and Joseph Catholic Cathedral
The St Mary and Joseph Catholic Cathedral in Armidale, New South Wales, is a landmark building and one of the finest examples of Federation Gothic Revival architecture in Australia. It was built in 1912, and is listed on the State Heritage Register. The cathedral was completed debt-free and is supported by the Heritage Council of NSW. The cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting Armidale.
Founded in 1869, Saints Mary and Joseph is the largest Catholic church in the region. It is part of the diocese of Sydney. Renovations of the cathedral began in 2012 and the church celebrated the sesquicentenary of Bishop Timothy O’Mahony in 2021. Archbishop John Bede Polding laid a memorial stone for the bishop in 2021.
Booloominbah Historic House
If you’re planning a holiday in Armidale, New South Wales, you can visit the historic Booloominbah, a 19th-century mansion designed by renowned architect John Horbury Hunt. This former summer home of the White family is now a National Trust property. Booloominbah was built in 1882 and features a Gothic Revival oak mantelpiece, stained glass, and handmade fittings. The Booloominbah is located next to the Aboriginal arts and culture centre and regional art gallery.
A visit to the house itself is a great way to get a taste of the town’s history. It’s located in the northwestern part of town and is easily accessible via Madgwick Drive. The house, known as the “Boooominbah,” is a 45-room country mansion that was designed by the architect J. Horbury Hunt in the early nineteenth century. This Victorian mansion is beautifully decorated with hand-made fittings, shady balconies, and massive chimneys.
There are plenty of attractions to keep the history buffs happy. The New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale Railway Museum, and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre are all worth a visit. You can also visit the University of New England’s historic Booloominbah Homestead. While visiting the city, don’t forget to take time to take the Guided Heritage Tour. During the tour, you’ll be treated to a personal commentary about the town’s history and architecture.