If you’re looking for a lively, cosmopolitan, cultured town to visit, then Armidale could be right up your alley.
Home to the University of New England, Armidale has a population made up of a multitude of students and academics from all over the world, giving the town a truly multicultural flavour and a colourful cultural life. Alongside the vibrant city life are the diverse and spectacular natural wonders of the area including world-heritage national parks, awe inspiring waterfalls, rainforests and gorges.
Things to do in Armidale for History Lovers
Historians will love the Armidale area and its rich indigenous and European history which dates back to the early 1800’s. Officially named a town in 1846, the discovery of gold and various valuable minerals and metals, including tin, drew hundreds of Chinese to the area which added to the town’s eclectic cultural history.
There is a great array of interesting heritage buildings in Armidale, many open to the public to explore including the stunning Saumarez Homestead, an Edwardian style 30 room mansion set on extensive gardens and still containing much of its original furniture and finishings. An extensive collection of memorabilia from the notorious Captain Thunderbolt, a legendary bushranger who terrorised the area in the 1860’s, is on display at the McCrossin’s Mill Museum in nearby Uralla along with an insight into the still flourishing wool industry and colourful mining history.
Explore Aboriginal Art
The Aboriginal Culture Centre and Keeping Place showcases the diversity of Australian indigenous arts and culture from the area, and has several sections including an art gallery, interactive children’s corner, music section, a movie area, a bush tucker walk and more… it’s easy to spend a day at the centre and the Echidna Cafe provides the opportunity for visitors to sample some real Aussie tucker, featuring dishes with Australian bush tucker spices and native flavours.
Take home some genuine Aboriginal art, a didgeridoo or some native spices from the gift shop or learn to throw a boomerang, cook with bush tucker or paint with ochre at one of the regular workshops.
What to do in Armidale for Nature Lovers
The surrounding New England High Country is home to some spectacular natural features in an extensive area of pristine bushland made up of four unique National Parks. The magnificent Wollombi Falls are the highest waterfalls in New South Wales and are a must see for visitors to the area.
There are also dramatic gorges, stunning swimming holes, lush rainforests and exotic flora and fauna to get amongst, and the range of ways to experience the area is extensive. Walk one of the many tracks, take a helicopter tour, go mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, horse riding, camping or take a drive on one of the many 4WD tracks.
Where to Dine in Armidale
Back in town, you’ll be spoilt for choice with stylish cafes, contemporary restaurants and pubs and clubs all vying for your business with tasty modern menus at great value prices set to tempt the local students. Bistro on Cinders is a favourite with both locals and visitors, and is open for breakfast and lunch, catering well for vegetarians and those with intolerance.
The local Whitebull Hotel is another popular eatery serving pub food with an edge at value for money prices; they also have a great range of kid’s meals sure to please any fussy eaters.
Accommodation in Armidale
Located only two kilometres from the town centre is the Econo Lodge Hideaway Armidale motel which offers a range of accommodation options including twin share, family rooms and interconnecting rooms. The outdoor pool, in-room continental breakfast and wireless internet are just some of the features designed to make your stay in our Armidale motel as comfortable as possible.
The 4.5 star Quality Hotel Powerhouse Armidale is the city’s only true full service Armidale accommodation. The boutique hotel has recently undergone a $4 million refurbishment and has deluxe rooms, deluxe spa rooms, family suites and kitchen suites. The in-house restaurant, wine and tapas bar Azka features an open fire, leather lounges and an extensive wine and tapas menu focussing on seasonal local produce.