13 Exciting Things to do in Armidale NSW

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I really enjoyed Armidale in northern NSW.

In a way, I kind of knew I would, considering it’s a university town located in the picturesque New England region of NSW. It has a laid-back vibe, lots of quirky attractions, and charming coffee shops – it’s just my kind of town if I’m not on the coast.

There are plenty of things to do in Armidale NSW and the surrounding region that show the best of local history, with heritage buildings and museums, as well as natural sites such as tree-lined streets, nearby waterfalls and gorges.

yellow arched exterior of Armidale Post Office
Armidale Post Office

It also has a reputation for good food and wine.

But if you’re not sure what to do in Armidale NSW, then don’t worry, because I have listed all the best attractions in the town so you can plan your itinerary with ease.

Is Armidale Worth Visiting?

exterior of Armidale Court House framed by trees
The Court House

I wanted to stay in Armidale longer and two days felt a little rushed, because there are plenty of things to do in Armindale which makes it definitely worth a visit.

However, our two days exploring the Armidale region kept us fulfilled, and what’s so appealing about Armidale is that it’s not just an urban centre, but within reach are several national parks, wineries, and tourist drives that loop you back into town.

It’s a place that’s easy to like for its historical rural charm.

tree lined Tourist Drive 19
Nearby drive along Tourist Drive 19

Fun Things to Do in Armidale, NSW

Below are the highlights of our 2-day visit to Armidale, NSW and some unmissable attractions you need to add to your list.

1. Take an Armidale HeritageTour

exterior of booloominbah mansion with yellow leafed tree out front
Booloominbah Mansion, Armidale attraction

For a great introduction to Armidale, jump on the free guided Heritage Bus Tour which runs for 2.5 hours.

You’ll learn about the history of Armidale and the people from an informative guide. This guided tour operates on donations and departs from the visitor’s information centre at 10.am 7 days a week.

Some of the sights you’ll see include Booloominbah, a Victorian mansion situated at the University of New England which was the summer house for the White family.

You also pass by monuments, heritage homes, churches, and cathedrals, gardens, and parks.

If you don’t like buses, you can also do a heritage walk.

girl climbing tree wtih yellow leaves
red roofed Heritage Home behind white picket fence
Heritage homes, Armidale NSW
Church in Armidale surrounded by trees
Saints Mary & Joseph Catholic Cathedral
steeple of Church in Armidale
Armidale church
garden with hedges and trees
Gardens in Armidale

2. Visit Petersons Winery, Armidale NSW

One of the top recommendations from our Facebook community, when we asked for things to do in Armidale, was to visit Pertersons Winery, just 5 minutes out of town.

The picturesque driveway leads you through the vineyards to the cellar door for tasting, which is a refurbished stable and overlooks the beautiful garden area with impressive trees to sit amongst, and importantly for our kids to run around.

We bought ourselves a bottle of vintage Shiraz.

tables under tree in Petersons Winery garden
Best winery Armidale
woman tasting wine at Petersons Winery, Armidale
wine tasting in Armidale – fun thing to do
person holding a bottle of shiraz from Petersons Winery
Petersons Winery Armidale, NSW

3. Drive the Tourist Drive 19, an Unmissable Armidale Attraction

Tourist Drive 19 is a lovely 86 km half-day loop starting and ending in Armidale.

We drove anti-clockwise and our first stop was the town of Uralla, best known for the exploits of NSW’s last bushranger Captain Thunderbolt.

Visit the New England Brewery or stop for a coffee.

trinas cafe on street corner
Trina’s Cafe, Uralla – regional NSW

From Uralla, we followed the winding road through the scenic countryside before arriving at the settlement of Gostwyck, with the highlight being the Gostwyck Chapel and the avenue of 200 elm trees.

Gostwyck Chapel covered in red flowers
Gostwyck Chapel – things to see in Armidale, Australia
Elm Trees lined street
Elm Trees – Armidale, Australia

Continuing on we drove through typical New England farming country on our way toward Dangars Gorge.

Tourst Drive 19 running through grassy field
Armidale road trip on Tourist Drive 19

This spectacular gorge has been formed over millions of years. There are three walks on offer, but a sneak peek from the Lookout is only 100m from the car park.

Dangars Gorge - Armidale, Australia
Dangers Gorge – a top place to see in Armidale
girls holding hands in air with view of Dangars Gorge
Great family activity on Dangars Gorge, Armidale NSW

The last stop on our drive was the before mentioned Petersons Winery.

4. Enjoy the Foodie Scene in Armidale

Feeling hungry? Armidale is well known for its foodie scene and you will find several family-owned restaurants and bistros. It’s not hard to find places serving locally grown produce that are fresh from the farm.

Below are some of our personal recommendations for places to eat in Armidale.

plates of food, ookeis and coffee Goldfish Bowl Cafe - Armidale, Australia
Goldfish Bowl Cafe – Armidale, Australia
  • Goldfish Bowl make their own wood-fired sourdough bread, pizzas, and pies, the coffee is roasted in-house, and it’s great for kids with the outdoor seating area.
  • Fresh@110 on Dangar street – yummy food and great hospitality.
  • The Brasserie and Courtyard Cafe at Booloominbah – lunch or a coffee whilst taking in the historical ambiance.

We didn’t get to a pub, unfortunately, but the very friendly ladies at the Armidale visitor information centre recommend:

5. Drive the Waterfall Way in Armidale, NSW

road going up hill in Waterfall Way -
Waterfall Way – Armidale to Coffs Harbour, Australia

Out of the East of Armidale is the Waterfall Way, a 191km touring route that winds its way from Armidale down to Coffs Harbour on the coast.

It’s a picturesque drive, and it’s called Waterfall Way for a reason. It passes incredible nature sites, including Round Mountain – the highest mountain in the region. It also connects the Great Dividing Range and the Pacific Highway along the coast.

It passes through seven national parks, three UNESCO World Heritage sites, and through rainforests and, of course, waterfalls.

It will take 2.5 hours to drive the whole drive but you will need to factor in time to stop at lookouts, so plan for a full day.

If you’re not heading to the coast after Armidale, two spots within reach and worth a round-trip along Waterfall Way include Wollomombi Gorge and Ebor Falls.

6. Visit Wollomombi Gorge and Falls, Armidale NSW

Wollomombi Gorge - NSW, Australia
Credit: A Schaffer

A 35 minute drive east from Armidale brings you to the Wollomombi Falls and Wollomombi Gorge.

Wollomombi Falls are the highest waterfalls in NSW and they plunge 220m over the cliffs into the valley.

You just have to hope there’s been decent rain, unfortunately for us, they were dry when we visited, but the Gorge is spectacular and worth a stop on its own.

There’s a range of walks on offer to go deeper into this area or you can view the falls form the lookout platforms.

7. Check Out Ebor Falls, Armidale NSW

Ebor Falls cascading down mountain levels
Upper Ebor Falls, Waterfall Way – top Armidale attraciton

Driving one hour east from Armidale gets you to the impressive Ebor Falls.

The Guy Fawkes River plunges 100m over the upper and lower falls and there’s a kid-friendly walking track linking both falls which each have viewing decks offering top views of the falls and surrounding bush.

It makes for a great stop off heading towards Coffs Harbour, with picnic tables and wooded BBQ’s.

lower falls spilling over cliff
Lower Falls Armidale, NSW

So if you’re heading in-land from Coffs or north through the NSW country region, stop in at Armidale and put our tips to good use. Yet again, it’s another town we’ll be going back for more!

8. Visit the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM)

person looking at art on gallery walls
Photograph Dallas Kilponen | Destination NSW

If you’re an art lover, don’t miss a chance to check out pieces by local artists at NERAM, which features pieces by regional artists such as Arthur Streeton, Brett Whiteley and a whole collection by Howard Hinton.

As well as being a place to see art, it’s also a community center and often has yoga classes and other workshops you can take part in.

Check out the website to see what’s on during the time of your visit.

9. Check Out the Railway Museum

The Railway Museum in Armidale showcases a collection of vintage trains, carriages, and locomotives that capture the evolution of Australia’s rail industry.

It’s a unique way to witness the nostalgia and elegance of railway travel from the past, and learn about the impact of rail transportation on the development of the nation.

The Railway Museum in Armidale is a must-visit for any railway enthusiast.

10. Walk through the Bicentennial Arboretum

If you’re looking for free things to do in Armidale, then a walk through the arboretum is a must. There is a short 1.1km loop trail around the park which takes you past a man-made waterfall into a pond.

Pack a picnic and find a spot on the lawn, it’s the perfect picnic area to sit and relax on a hot summer’s day.

11. Pay a Visit to The Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place

Learn about the traditional owners of the area and see aboriginal art from the native locals.

Armidale is home to around 8,000 aboriginal residents, which are made up of the Anaiwan, Banbai, Bigambul, Dainggatti, Gumbainggier, Kamilaroi, and Ngarabal tribes.

The Aboriginal Cultural center is a place where Aboriginal culture is preserved, celebrating Aboriginal arts, culture and heritage through events and art galleries.

Don’t miss this fascinating attraction in Armidale.

12. Visit The Nearby National Parks

Man watching the sun set over Wollomombi Falls, Walcha.
Wollomombi Falls, Walcha Credit: Destination NSW

Armidale is surrounded by natural beauty and national parks, so if you have time to spend, be sure to visit them.

The parks include Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, the New England National Park, and the Cathedral Rock National Park, among others.

Each park offers varied and diverse natural landscapes, including breathtaking waterfalls, rivers and gorges, and rugged rock formations.

If you love hiking, this is the perfect way to hit the hiking trails and see stunning views of the surrounding Tablelands landscape.

13. Check Out The Saumarez Homestead

Exterior view of the heritage-listed Saumarez Homestead building in Armidale.
Credit: Destination NSW

Saumarez Homestead is a beautiful Edwardian mansion that was in the late 19th century. It belonged to Henry Dumaresq, the brother-in-law of Governor Darling, and one of the Duke of Wellington’s staff members in the Battle of Waterloo.

After he died, his property was sold to the White family, and is now a heritage museum where visitors can explore more than 30 rooms and 15 farm buildings.

The Edwardian home is fully furnished with period furniture and holds a collection of early 20th-century farming equipment.

Stroll through Mary White’s Garden, admire the architecture, and see the work of the Australian Garden History Society in the rose garden.

This building is only open on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

Where to stay in Armidale

Exterior view of the Moore Park Inn in Armidale.
Moore Park Inn |Credit: Destination NSW
  • A favorite for visitors to Armidale is the heritage-listed Moore Park Inn, a four-star boutique property situated in the heart of sweeping rural acres and landscaped gardens. See rates and availability here.
  • The Tattersalls Hotel is a beautifully restored art deco style hotel. It has a great location and on-site restaurant. See rates and availability.
  • The Belmont Guest House is located on 3 acres and overlooks the town. It offers accommodations with private terraces, barbecue facilities and a garden. See rates and availability here.

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Armidale

Autumn colours in the city of Armidale.
Credit: Destination NSW

Armidale is a charming and historic town that boasts a rich history and unique cultural heritage, showcased by its stunning architecture, museums, and art galleries.

Whether you want to explore the rustic buildings, sample the mouth-watering local cuisine, or take a trip to the nearby national parks to witness the breathtaking beauty of the region – there is so much to see and do in Armidale!

I hope this guide helped you decide on a few attractions for your itinerary and inspired your trip!

Disclaimer: We visited Armidale as part of our partnership with Destination NSW, but all thoughts, ideas and opinions in this guide are our own.

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