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The Good Life in Gwydir Shire
If you are looking for a true country experience while still being close enough to the bigger centres, then flag the New South Wales Gwydir Shire region as your next stop
Words and Images by: Gwen Luscombe

There’s no such thing as traffic or crowded and noisy campsites. There’s plenty of parking, and it’s a great little corner of the world to make your home base should you choose to venture out and explore the surrounding areas. This family friendly destination provides visitors of all ages with a huge range of activities, no matter what they’re after.

Welcome to Bingara

Gwydir Shire is regionally central to the New South Wales towns of Inverell, Moree, Tamworth, Armidale, Narrabri, and Gunnedah, making it an ideal spot to settle in for some serious explorations. It’s also a great place if you are looking for the perfect mix of country charm and hospitality, while still having plenty of activities and events on hand.

“Visitors to the region are often surprised at how much there is to do and see and the cultural activities on offer, particularly at the 1936 restored Roxy Theatre,” says Gwydir Shire Council’s marketing and promotions team leader, Georgia Standerwick.

“With a history as colourful as its painted exterior, the Roxy hosts a number of events and shows  throughout the year from ballet and opera to films and guest speakers.

“The theatre is also one of many beautiful examples of art deco architecture within Bingara. The region is also steeped in history with Warialda being the first gazetted town within the North West and a number of its historic buildings still remain and can be viewed by taking a self-guided town tour,” she adds.

STEEPED IN HISTORY

History buffs might also find the site of the Myall Creek Massacre worth visiting. While there were a number of massacres of Aboriginal people throughout Australia, this was the first time white men were prosecuted for the murder of Indigenous Australians and a turning point in Australia’s judicial system. The Bingara area has a rich mining history and following the discovery of gold in 1852, settlements developed in both Bingara and Upper Bingara. Prospectors flocked to the area when tin, then diamonds were discovered in the 1880s, and rapid development followed.

Myall Creek memorial event

Bingara was also home to Mrs. Grace Munro, founding president of  the Country Women’s Association in 1922. Mrs Munro, motivated by the death of one of her sons in 1911, was determined to improve medical services and life in general for women living in country areas of Australia.

History aside, what makes the destination so attractive to the RV and caravanning market is how well the Gwydir Shire Council embraces the market and understands how important it is to the shire’s visitor economy.

“Council has opened up a number of free camping areas along the Gwydir River and has ensured us that all the necessary services are available to make their stay comfortable, such as easily accessible dump points and water facilities,” says Standerwick.

“Council is also working on improvements to these areas with additional public toilets in convenient locations and better signposting which will be rolled out in the next year. Throughout the shire there are a number of free camping areas including Warialda, North Star, Croppa Creek, Gravesend, and Coolatai. In addition to free camps, the Gwydir Shire has a number of well-maintained and picturesque caravan parks and camping reserves, including the Bingara Riverside Caravan Park, the Warialda Caravan Park, and  Cranky Rock Nature Reserve. The biggest drawcard to most RV and caravanning visitors is the picturesque surrounds and the friendly residents. The Gwydir River is also a big attraction particularly for those who love to fish or just enjoy the relaxed setting.”

Attending the Croppa Creek Classic

OUTDOOR OASIS

Active visitors to the area are often found trail biking, hiking, white water rafting, and horse riding, but  you’ll also find plenty of visitors lazing on a river bank with or without a fishing pole.

“Warialda and Bingara are friendly country towns providing services for visitors including comfortable accommodation, caravan parks, groceries, medical services, museums, and fun shops selling homewares, fashion, crafts, and collectables,” says Standerwick, who adds that there’s also plenty of golf courses and attractions such  as Cranky Rock, the Roxy Theatre, and Bingara’s Living Classroom, all of which contribute to the visitor experience.

The art deco Roxy Theatre

“Bingara in particular boasts a very vibrant community and achieves a lot for a small town, and many people visiting the town are surprised by the many and varied council and community run events which happen throughout the year, including agricultural shows, race meetings, rodeos, tractor pulls, bike rallies, and much more,” she says.

Standerwick says that while autumn is the most popular time to visit the Gwydir Shire, winter also offers much to explore. Nights and mornings are cool and the days are mostly clear and sunny reaching around the 20 degrees mark, so it’s perfect weather for bush walking and other outdoor activities.

Breakfast tastes better by the Gwydir River

A FRUITY FESTIVAL

In late June/early July, visitors can enjoy the annual Bingara Orange Festival held along Finch Street where an avenue of orange trees, planted in the 1950s to commemorate Bingara’s fallen in both world wars, set the scene for festivities. The oranges traditionally remain untouched until a nominated day in June or July when, following a ceremony outside  the RSL Club, the town’s children rush to harvest them. The Orange Festival celebrates the history of the trees as well as the nostalgia of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, with rock’n’roll music, dancing, car displays, classic movies screening in the restored Roxy Theatre, streets stalls, and entertainment.

Exploring Cranky Rock Nature Reserve

“Most of the attractions in the town are easily accessible for RV and caravanners,” says Stadnerwick.

The Upper Horton Chase

“The only exception to this rule is the lookout in Bingara which is extremely steep but can still be accessed on foot by the young or young at heart. The view is spectacular and well worth the sore muscles in the morning,” she adds.

Free camping on the Gwydir River at Bingara

But the true beauty of the Gwydir, she says, is that there are plenty of places to park your van in the CBD or at any of the campsites and parks in each town, and there are easily accessible shops and services just waiting to be explored.

Tags: Bingara Gwydir NSW New South Wales Myall Creek Inverell Moree Tamworth Armidale Narrabr Gunnedah Warialda trail biking rafting horse riding river fishing country camping caravan motorhome RV campervan park creek Roxy Theatre North Star Coolatai Cobbadah Upper Horton
Category: Features
Written: Sat 01 Sep 2018
Printed: September, 2018
Published By:

Article Photos
RV Friendly Towns Nearby
Moree - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6757 3350
info@moreetourism.com.au
New South Wales, 2400
83.74 kms (approx).

Warialda - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6729 0046
warialdatourism@gwydir.nsw.gov.au
New South Wales, 2402
36.82 kms (approx).

Ashford - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6728 8288
council@inverell.nsw.gov.au
New South Wales, 2361
79.73 kms (approx).

Inverell - NSW RVFT
Address
1800 067 626 or 02 6728 8161
tourism@inverell.nsw.gov.au
New South Wales, 2360
54.18 kms (approx).

Narrabri - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6799 6760
Newell Hwy
New South Wales, 2390
89.61 kms (approx).

Barraba - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6782 1255
Barraba
tourism@visitbarraba.com.au
New South Wales, 2347
57.44 kms (approx).

Bingara - NSW RVFT
Address
02 6724 0066
74 Maitland St
bingaratourism@gwydir.nsw.gov.au
New South Wales, 2404
0.18 kms (approx).


Journey Details

Bingara, NSW
-29.871989, 150.567553

Summary

GETTING THERE

Located approximately 560km north of Sydney, the Gwydir Shire encompasses the towns of Bingara and Warialda, and the villages of Myall Creek, North Star, Coolatai, Cobbadah, and Upper Horton.

The Gwydir Shire is at the very centre of ‘Fossickers Way’, a leisurely touring route that winds through picturesque scenery and some of Australia’s most prolific gem areas. If you’re looking to find your fortune, this is a region rich in gold, minerals, and semi-precious stones.

A diverse, fertile landscape means the Gwydir Shire is also a big producer of high quality beef and merino wool, along with crops such as wheat, barley, oats, maize, canola, and cotton.

A variety of caravan and camping sites are available throughout the region, and both Bingara and Warialda have hospitals, shopping facilities, tourist information centres, and post offices.

MORE INFO

For more information on the Gwydir Shire, visit: http://gwydirshire.com/ 

Copyright


Gwen Luscombe