The Kamilaroi Contrasts Drive is an epic road trip from Willow Tree to Bourke through Kamilaroi country and across northern New South Wales. You could do the trip in one day if you had to – but we’re willing to bet you’re up for a little more adventure than simply getting from A to B! If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. There are 15 official stops on the Kamilaroi Contrasts Drive, so buckle up as we take you to each one of them, exploring the best sights and experiences this striking region has to offer.
Your journey begins in Willow Tree, situated on the serene flats of the Liverpool Plains. Start your adventure at the Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre, and stock up on brochures about the route you’re about to take – it’s a great place to learn about the Kamilaroi people and country.
Fuel your day at the award-winning Graze restaurant and bistro. All the beef served here is pasture-fed, raised on the pastures of Colly Creek at Willow Tree, just two kilometres from the restaurant, making steak an excellent choice both for your tastebuds and your carbon footprint! You can even view the inhouse dry-aging room through the viewing window, where large cuts of beef are aged for several weeks before being cut into steaks. This technique guarantees your steak to be tender and full of flavour!
Don’t linger too long, though, as Wallabadah is just 15 minutes north-east on the New England Highway. On the way, you can see for yourself the lush grazing country that supports the cattle in this region. When you arrive, make tracks for the First Fleet Memorial Garden, designed as a tribute to the convicts and sailors of the First and Second fleets. Eleven circular garden beds, representing the ships of the First Fleet, are arranged around a central garden in the shape of Australia. You can wander the winding cobblestone paths and read the names of those who sailed on each ship, as well as interpretative signage drawn from the memoirs of these individuals.
When you’ve absorbed the tales of these early settlers, jump back in the car and head west to Quirindi, where the swaying canola crops paint the fields in fluorescent yellow. Who’d-A-Thought-It Hill, rising behind the town, is a good place to work off that steak from earlier, and you’ll also find a lookout that offers incredible panoramic views of Quirindi. Next, get a glimpse of yesteryear at Bob’s Shed, an old-fashioned general store museum jam-packed with nostalgic bric-a-brac – from 1940’s biscuit tins and food packets, to old whisky bottles, memorabilia, and even vintage cars.
This is a sneak peek! To read about the rest of the journey on the Kamilaroi Contrasts Drive, check out the Spring 2022 edition of Caravanning Australia.