Tamworth’s annual Country Music Festival is renowned as a family-friendly event, and there’s plenty on offer throughout the festival to keep all ages entertained. But anytime is a good time to plan a family getaway to this relaxed regional city in northeast New South Wales. State-of-the-art play zones, adventure activities, miniature trains and more await! Here are seven great ways to spend a day with the family in Tamworth. Book your stay at ChoiceHotels.com.
1. Have a top time at Tamworth Regional Playground (Bicentennial Park)
The name ‘Tamworth Regional Playground’ doesn’t really do this awesome recreational precinct justice. This themed play space is completely amazing and totally free, and we bet your bottom holiday dollar that you’ll end up spending the best part of a day here. Kids will never get tired of what’s on offer.
Constructed as part of the 2015 Bicentennial Park $2-million-dollar upgrade, the park features a skywalk (the largest in the southern hemisphere), three giant slides, four towers, a flying fox, climbing nets, rope bridges, swings and the list goes on. The Splash Pad has sadly fallen victim to the crippling drought faced by regional New South Wales. Hopefully for all concerned (not least of all the region’s struggling farmers) it will be back in action in the not-too-distant future. Parents – a warning – this is going to be one of those times when you’ll actually be just a little bit jealous of the fun your ankle-biters are having. However, you can console yourself with an excellent coffee at the onsite Hopscotch Restaurant and Bar. Take a look at this list for more amazing places to dine in Tamworth.
2. Meet the locals at Marsupial Park
There’s a whole lot of furry and feathered family fun going on in those foothills east of the Tamworth CBD. That’s where you’ll find Marsupial Park – a whimsical wildlife park beautifully integrated into the natural bushland surroundings and run entirely by volunteers. Don’t go expecting something on the scale of Taronga Zoo. This is low key, but there are enough native animals to keep the kids engaged for a couple of hours at least.
Meet the resident kangaroos and emus, and stroll through the free-flight aviary. You’ll also encounter two feisty peacocks (a third escapee now resides up at Oxley Scenic Lookout). Entry is by donation and all proceeds go towards the park’s maintenance. Pack a picnic; there are plenty of shaded seating areas and BBQ facilities.
3. Take on the Tamworth Adventure Playground
Seriously, who wouldn’t love to be a kid again and live in Tamworth! There’s another playground that will blow your kids’ socks off at Marsupial Park. Fully fenced, wildly colourful, and finished with ‘Softfall’ surfacing to minimise scrapes and scratches, the Tamworth Adventure Playground was funded largely by donations (check out the sponsored tiles in the path leading into the playground) and built almost completely by volunteers in just six days.
It features a native animal theme and two age-appropriate play areas for 1 to 5 years and 5 to 12 years. Pre-construction excavation was temporarily halted when Indigenous artefacts were discovered on the site. These were subsequently catalogued and removed for future study. We won’t give the game away with a list of the features of the playground. After all, a visit here is meant to be an adventure!
4. Ride the Tamworth Miniature Railway
Back down the hill in Victoria Park is the Tamworth Miniature Railway – a labour of love of the Tamworth and District Model Engineers Club, which has around 40 members. The Miniature Railway encompasses a four-platform station, ticket office, a kilometre of tracks, two tunnels, and of course, trains (steam engines and carriages). The planets will have to be aligned for you to experience the wonder of this facility at full steam. Public running days occur only on the third Sunday of the month between 10am and 3pm. If you have a budding trainspotter in your brood, you may want to time your Tamworth visit accordingly.
5. Bushwalk from Oxley Scenic Lookout
Just a short drive from Victoria Park is Oxley Scenic Lookout, which provides an incredible outlook across the entire city of Tamworth and the surrounding region. There are no specific facilities for kids up here, but the views are spectacular, and you may spot that renegade peacock living large. There are picnic shelters and toilet facilities. If the family is into bushwalking, the lookout is the base for the Kamilaroi Walking Track – which links up with Marsupial Park and Flagstaff Mountain. The walk to the park is moderate, while the Flagstaff Mountain route (a distance of around seven kilometres) is more challenging.
6. Get gnarly at Viaduct Park
Viaduct Park at the northern end of the CBD is home to another state-of-the-art recreational space for kids to learn their limits and push their boundaries. The Viaduct Park Youth Recreation Hub skate park was only completed in May 2019 and consists of two separate skateboarding areas – one for experienced skaters, and a smaller, less formidable learn-to-skate space. The facility is expected to draw skate competitions to Tamworth and will also serve as an outdoor events venue.
7. Light up the imagination at Tamworth Powerstation Museum
Tamworth was the first urban centre in Australia to implement municipal electric street lighting and Tamworth Powerstation Museum is a temple to the concept of electricity generation. Budding Einsteins will love their visit here. The volunteers that staff the museum are highly knowledgeable and adept at capturing young (and old) imaginations with all manner of wizardry. Build circuits, flick switches and puzzle over the role of magnetism in the process of generating a current. The museum also displays a vast array of appliances from the past century. For adults at least, browsing the various incarnations of kettles, vacuum cleaners, fridges and washing machines offers a surprisingly engaging walk down memory lane.
Need a place to stay?
The centrally located Quality Hotel Powerhouse is Tamworth’s only 4.5-star hotel and a great option for families. The hotel offers eight family suites, which feature two queen beds in separate rooms and a pull-out sofa bed. Amenities include a recently refurbished pool, spa and BBQ area.
The Econo Lodge Tamworth is located on the A15 southern approach to town and offers clean and comfortable accommodation options. Choose from standard or large two-bedroom family rooms, which sleep five and six guests respectively.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.