TAMWORTH – on the New England Highway – is also known as the “City of Lights” because it was the first in Australia to be fitted with electric street lighting, in 1888. To most Australians, however, Tamworth means country music – it’s a sort of antipodean Nashville and recently became the Texas town’s sister city. If country music isn’t your thing, there are art galleries and craft studios around, and the city is gradually building its reputation as a food and wine destination. In April it hosts the Taste Tamworth festival, which is ten days of food-related activities. In the second half of January each year, fans from all over Australia and beyond descend on the city for the ten-day Tamworth Country Music Festival. Every pub, club and hall in the city hosts gigs, record launches and bush poetry, culminating in the presentation of “Golden Guitars”, the Australian Country Music Awards – for information and bookings, contact the visitor centre.
Outside of festival time Tamworth is a lot less atmospheric but there is still enough to keep you busy. For panoramic views of the city and the Peel River Valley, head to the Oxley Lookout and Nature Reserve at the end of White Street.