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Armidale

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New England : Armidale
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Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls

Armidale is a small city (population 21,300) in the New England region of the Australian state of New South Wales. The picturesque city is noted for its colonial-era architecture, centres of education and culture and the nearby wilderness and gorge country.

Understand

Armidale is a place of four seasons. The winters are very cold, with snow sometimes falling in the winter months and extremely low overnight temperatures. The old English-style gardens in the area blossom in Spring, as the firs, willows and oaks in town and in the University of New England [1] grounds sprout new leaves. In Autumn, the town celebrates the changing colours of the trees with an Autumn Festival, which includes a street parade down the main boulevards. But it is summer that is arguably the best time to visit Armidale. Due to its altitude, the town is rarely humid, and even days where the temperature reaches 35°C are tolerable.

Tourist Information

  • Armidale Visitor Information Centre, 82 Marsh Street Armidale (next to Hungry Jacks Restaurant), 1800 627 736 (02 6772 4655) (, fax: 02 6771 4486). 7 days from 9-00AM to 5-00PM.

Get in

By car

Armidale is one of the main centres located on the New England Highway, an inland route that links the Hunter Valley and Sydney to Brisbane.

Driving distances/times
Destination Distance (km) Time (h:m)
Tamworth 109 1:15
Newcastle 396 5:30
Sydney 530 7:15
Brisbane 465 6:00

Armidale is 485 km from Sydney via the scenic Thunderbolts Way through Gloucester and Walcha.

Armidale is also located at the start of the Waterfall Way to Raleigh, near Coffs Harbour on the coast. This scenic route passes through the gorge country as the tablelands drop to the coastal region. Located along the way are three national parks, which are listed as World Heritage Areas by UNESCO and form part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia. Dorrigo National Park encompasses the waterfalls that give the route its name. Driving time to the coast is 2½ hours.

By plane

Armidale has regular scheduled air services to Sydney Qantaslink [2] 1 hour, from $100.

By train

Daily Countrylink Xplorer [3] services connect Armidale with Tamworth, the Hunter Valley and Sydney (9 hours, $85).

There are discounts when tickets are booked early. When booked 14 days before departure almost 50% discount can be obtained. ISIC card holders are given 50% discount on all Countrylink trains.

Get around

The historic centre of Armidale is small enough to be easily covered on foot. However, some attractions (the University and the New England Regional Art Museum) are on the outskirts of town, making access difficult for the less-mobile traveller.

A bus service (Edwards) does run frequently between the town centre and the University, but the best way to explore the town and surrounding countryside is by car. Car hire is available on arrival at the airport. Taxi services are also widely available.

Getting between the town and the university is an easy cycle, with bicycle lanes on the roads, and quiet traffic.

See

  • Stroll in Armidale's many parks and gardens.
  • Visit the area's historic churches.
  • Visit the New England Regional Art Museum [4], home to the Howard Hinton [5] collection.
  • Catch a movie at the Belgrave twin cinemas [6].
  • Feed the deer and kangaroos at the enclosure at the University.

Do

  • Swim at the heated outdoor pool on Dumaresq Street from October to March.
  • Work out at the excellent sporting facilities at the University of New England [7].
  • Blow the froth off a couple of coldies at the New England Hotel

Learn

The New England Institute of TAFE [8], Beardy St., Armidale. Phone:(02) 6773 7700. A major campus specialising in agriculture, childcare, information technology and tertiary preparation for university entry. Also offers courses in music, biological science, multimedia, massage therapy, ecotourism, film industry (screen), tourism and hospitality, automotive, carpentry and joinery, and engineering.

The University of New England [9] (UNE) is Australia's oldest regional university. The university has four faculties: Arts; Economics, Business and Law; Education, Health and Professional Studies; and The Sciences. UNE is also well known for its external teaching programmes.

Eat

The Armidale Ex-Services, 137 Dumaresq Street ARMIDALE NSW 235; Phone: 02 6772 1366. [10] Trading Hours: Monday to Thursday 10.00AM - 11.00PM; Friday & Saturday 10.00AM - 12 midnight; Sunday 10.00AM - 10.00PM. This club has a reasonably-priced range of meals and drinks.

There are also many nice cafes in the Mall.

Drink

Armidale perhaps enjoys a livelier nightlife than many towns of its size, due to the university student population. It has a selection of nearly 10 pubs to choose from. Each one has a nickname with the locals and students, and knowing the name on the door of the pub won't help you in conversation. Moving between two or three pubs in a night is not uncommon, and running into the same people at another pub later on happens.

Try the New England Hotel in the centre of town, right on the main mall.

Sleep

The price of accommodation in Armidale can just about double during the university graduation periods. If you are not attending a graduation, then try and avoid these periods, for availability and cost reasons.

  • Acacia Motor Inn, 192 Miller Street, [11].
  • Armidale YHA Hostel, 39 Waterfall Way, Armidale, 02 6772 6470. armidale@yhansw.org.au Beds from $25.

Contact

  • Free computer and internet usage is available at the Armidale Library, Faulkner St, during opening hours. phone: (02) 6770 3636.
  • There are places in the surrounding district where mobile (cell) phones (including Next G country models) will not operate.

Get out

  • Take a spectacular Fleet Helicopters [12] flight over the wild rivers of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and the New England National Park with their rugged surrounds.
  • Take a drive east along the top NSW tourist drive: Waterfall Way to the old gold mining towns of Hillgrove and Metz.
  • See Wollomombi Falls (the highest in NSW) in the World Heritage-listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and the also World Heritage-listed New England National Park, both along Waterfall Way.
  • West Kunderang Recreational Retreat, Biston Park, Jeogla, NSW, (02) 6778 1264. A private working cattle property on the banks of the Macleay River that is completely surrounded by the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Offers bushwalking, canoeing, fishing, horse riding and four wheel driving within the property.



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