For a slower, more scenic route from Sydney to Brisbane, or for a standalone picturesque loop, consider taking your caravan along New South Wales’s Fossickers Way. We take you through the touring route’s member towns, and show you the best way to explore a region known for hiding precious gems.
NUNDLE TO TAMWORTH
Start your journey in the New England town of Nundle. Famous for its gold and sapphire fossicking, the town was central to the gold rush of the 1850s, with Chinese migrants adding to the rich history of this beautiful town. For some more information on its past and to grab a bite to eat, peruse the Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum and its onsite café, and get a glimpse into these difficult, yet often rewarding colonial times.
From here, it’s just 50 minutes’ drive to Tamworth, the home of classic Australian country music – there’s even a giant golden guitar to prove it! For a fascinating insight into the region’s penchant for quality tunes, visit the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre, where music fans will enjoy ogling the collection of more than 20 guitars that have been autographed by both local and international country music stars.
TAMWORTH TO MANILLA
Because it’s only 40 minutes to reach your next destination, Manilla (and no, we’re not talking about the Philippine capital!), there’s plenty of time to take a detour into Gunnedah, just an hour west of Tamworth. An inspiration to prolific Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar, Gunnedah has the natural beauty of a classic Australian town, and a fascinating Gunnedah Rural Museum to boot.
Pop back onto the Fossickers Way and you’ll get to Manilla. An unassuming town that was once a pit stop for those transporting goods to the state’s northern goldfields settlements, Manilla’s now more of a destination for serious adrenaline junkies, and flying sports such as gliding and paragliding are extremely popular among visitors in the area and the nearby Mount Borah.
MANILLA TO BARRABA
From Manilla, it’s only a 30-minute drive north to Barraba. On the way, stop in at the Split Rock Dam for some decent shing or even boating, if that’s more your thing. Located in the Bundarra– Barraba Important Bird Area, the town and its surrounds are ideal for birdwatching, with close to 200 species at your binoculars’ tips, including the endangered, bright yellow–tailed regent honeyeater, which will delight even the most amateur enthusiasts. Barraba is also only a 40-minute drive to the pretty Horton Falls, which will wow visitors during wetter times (make sure you keep an eye on the recent rainfall, or ask a local whether or not the falls will be cascading – spring weather can be unpredictable!).