NSW Northern Tablelands – Tamworth, Bendemeer and Oxley Wild Rivers NP

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

Part of the excitement of life is to experience big events and regional Australia offers plenty of them.

And one of the biggest is the Tamworth Country Music Festival, held each year in January. The organiser’s claim it as the largest music festival in the southern hemisphere and one of the top 10 in the world, generally attracting over 55,000 visitors.

Crowd in Peel St after the festival cavalcade

Crowd in Peel St after the festival cavalcade

The festival goes for a period of 10 days, with around 2,500 shows staged in 120 venues and over 800 artists performing. And there is always free entertainment from the many street buskers who are looking to be discovered!

Young buskers

Young buskers

All ages are ready to be discovered

All ages are ready to be discovered

Road trip planner Australia - The real estate truism "position, position, position" applies here too

The real estate truism “position, position, position” applies here too – or it could be the singing?

The night of nights for the festival is the CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia, in 2014 being on Saturday, 25th Jan.

We caught the festival cavalcade, one of the many free events, which is generally held on Australia Day, 26th Jan.

Peel St cavalcade

Peel St cavalcade

As you can image, accommodation can be at a premium, so we decided to stay outside of Tamworth and combine it with a tour of the region. We ended up camping at Bendemeer, a half hours drive up the Oxley Highway from Tamworth.

Wandering around early morning turned out to be something special. I even got to see a platypus in the river.

Mist in the morning on the Macdonald river

Mist in the morning on the Macdonald river

Bendemeer is a quiet little town, with a beautiful pub, the Bendemeer Hotel, established in 1864. It comes alive every few years with the staging of the Grey Fergie Tractor Muster – last held in 2012, where 153 Fergies were paraded!

Bendemeer Hotel - est. 1864

Bendemeer Hotel – est. 1864

A great day trip is to head down the Oxley Highway to take in some of the spectacular Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, and go across country, starting on Thunderbolts Way at Walcha, through historic Uralla and up to Armidale.

Part of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Part of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Quaint ivy covered chapel at Gostwyck

Quaint ivy covered chapel at Gostwyck

One final piece of information – it can get pretty hot in Tamworth around the time of the Country Music festival. Like always, its best to do a bit planning and the best site for the festival programme is http://www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au. As for touring the region to take in the attractions that appeal to you, use www.TripPlan.com.au!