Your Ultimate Guide to Tenterfield NSW

Street view of the Tenterfield Post Office in Tenterfield.

Tenterfield in a nutshell

Located in northeastern New South Wales, Tenterfield is a historic town known for its access to amazing wilderness regions and local wineries. Named by German immigrant Sir Tye Cohn, who built Tenterfield Station in the area, the region was initially inhabited by the Jukembal people who travelled the area from Queensland.

Some say that Tenterfield is the ‘birthplace of Australia’ due to the fact that in 1889, Sir Henry Parkes made a famous 1889 speech calling for Australia’s federation in this very location!

Visitors to Tenterfield today will find a number of heritage-listed buildings as they wander the town’s streets as well as museums and other historic sites of interest. Wine-lovers will delight in the abundance of incredible local wineries in the region where countless cellar doors entice passerby.

And it’s not just history and wine here in this part of New South Wales. Moments from Tenterfield, magnificent national parks – some of which will completely wow you with their striking beauty – are packed with opportunity for outdoor adventures as well as hiking, four-wheel driving and biking opportunities.

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Sun setting over Bald Rock in Bald Rock National Park, Carrolls Creek.

So pack up the car and drive over to Tenterfield this year for a relaxing getaway in the country. Below, we share a list of things to see, do, discover and taste in Tenterfield and its surrounds to help you plan the perfect NSW Weekend Escape.

Things to do in Tenterfield

Explore Bald Rock National Park

Only a short 20-minute drive from Tenterfield, guests will find themselves at Bald Rock National Park. Scattered with granite gardens, picturesque walks and incredible lookouts, Bald Rock is an absolute haven for the outdoor adventurer. Named after its most prominent feature, the park is home to a huge granite outcrop which rises about 200 metres above the surrounding landscape. It’s around 750 metres long and 500 metres wide and is the largest of its kind of Australia! Climb the side of the monolith either using a steep track or one with an easier gradient to reach the top. Panoramic views of the surrounding bushland await you at the top!

Explore Boonoo Boonoo National Park

Looking for even more outdoor adventure? Boonoo Boonoo National Park – found around 30 minutes from Tenterfield itself – is another great place to spend a day in the great outdoors. Blessed with lots of secluded swimming holes, stunning waterfalls, hiking tracks and picnic spots, a day at Boonoo Boonoo is ideal for a refreshing dip under the New South Wales sun. Particularly after rainfall, this gorgeous national park flows with cascades which pour over granite cliff edges. You may even find a secluded rock pool to relax next to, all for yourselves!

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Four-wheel drive and trailer entering Mount Mackenzie Nature Reserve.

Visit Mount Mackenzie Scenic Lookout

Everybody loves a great view. Those looking for some photo opportunities or just some space to think, will find that Mount MacKenzie Scenic Lookout is just the ticket. Over 1,300 metres above sea level, this beautiful spot offers some of the best views of the nearby Northern Tablelands. The Mount Mackenzie Scenic Lookout is only 13km from Tenterfield, otherwise, you could enjoy the Mount MacKenzie Scenic Drive which showcases the town’s lovely surrounds from different angles. Once you’re at the lookout, enjoy a picnic, BBQ and all the facilities you’ll need for a nice day in nature.

Find Tenterfield Cork Tree

Would you believe that this Tenterfield tree was brought out from England in a jam jar in 1861? For hundreds of years, it was believed that cork trees had magical powers and would bring good luck to those who visited them. In fact, dating back to 1665, people would travel from across England to visit a cork tree and make wishes. Today, this famous local tree located on Wood Street is one of the largest in the country and it flourishes in the local climate. It might be located on private property, but you can easily view it from the street!

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Steam locomotive on display at Tenterfield Railway Museum, Tenterfield.

Discover the Tenterfield Railway Museum

Opened in 1886, Tenterfield Railway Station was the last station built on the Sydney to Brisbane railway line. For 103 years it was fully functional until it later transformed into a railway museum with a collection of well-preserved railway artefacts. Drop in during your stay in Tenterfield and embark on a guided tour where you’ll discover a number of exhibitions in all rooms of the building. Passionate local volunteers will talk you through the eras of Australian railway. When it comes to things to do in Tenterfield, this is a great option.

Visit Aloomba Lavender

Situated on a 4000-acre cattle property north of Tenterfield, Aloomba Lavender is a half-day activity for couples and families alike. As well as providing its guests with a fabulous lavender garden for photos and walks, the location is home to a gift shop as well as a camping ground. A real bonus of visiting Aloomba is the Devonshire tea. Sit back with either a tea or coffee on the deck and absorb the tranquility. Don’t forget to pick up some lavender oil from the shop on the way out.

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Couple enjoying a visit to the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, Tenterfield.

Visit Sir Henry Parks School of Arts Museum

As we have already mentioned, Tenterfield is known for Sir Henry Parkes delivery of his Federation Speech. Therefore, one of the best things to do in Tenterfield has to be visiting the The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts. Offering a very fresh and novel approach to Australian history and culture, this place teaches adults and kids alike lots of things they may not already know about New South Wales history. Of course, the focus here is on federation. Stories are told through exciting displays and exhibitions, whilst you can also look through the Banquet Hall itself, where Sir Henry Parkes delivered his speech in 1889. Don’t forget to schedule this great little museum into your Tenterfield getaway schedule!

Take a trip to Cherrydale Orchard

Cherrydale Orchard is a family-run orchard where cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums are grown and then during harvest season, sold to hungry visitors. The cherry harvest commences early November, whilst December is the peak time for cherries and other stone fruits which are harvested into late February. Located only 10km south of Tenterfield, Cherrydale Orchard is perfect for a quick trip. Locally owned by Paul and his family, Cherrydale is also open as a cafe, serving a great selection of teas on the daily.

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Scenic country views overlooking Kurrajong Downs Wines Vineyard, Tenterfield.

Drop into some local wineries

Wine-lovers will be delighted to hear that their trip to Tenterfield doesn’t only have to include hiking and history. There are a great deal of wineries in Tenterfield and its surrounds and on your self-guided wine tour, you’ll pass through rainforest as you cross the hills of the Great Diving Range. What could be dreamier? Here are some excellent local cellar doors to visit:

Currajong Downs 

A medium size boutique winery, Currajong Downs is an award-winning winery known for its Semillion. Its cellar door is more like a shop and cafe, but the tasting is friendly and informative and the wine ie exquisite!

The Doctor’s Nose

At The Doctor’s Nose enjoy a quiet, picturesque setting in the New England countryside of New South Wales. Each wine here is named after a different ancestor of the family which runs the place!

Ballandean Estates 

To the north of Tenterfield, Ballandean Estates is a larger winery which not only offers tastings but also informational tours. The cellar door is popular with tourists and is highly welcoming to those looking to taste some local wines.

Girraween Estate 

Girraween Estate is known for its quality wines in one of the country’s most unique wine growing regions. The vineyard is located on the Great Dividing Range at an altitude of 810 metres, which makes for a great tasting setting.

Balancing Heart 

This winery in a stunning location in the hills specialises in balancing the unique soils and cool climate to create amazing wines. A Modern Luxe cellar door experience has an easy going vibe. Regular live music is a bonus to incredible tastings!

Wander through Glenrock Gardens

Located in Tenterfield itself on a 200-acre farm, Glenrock Gardens is an award-winning attractions boasting a fabulous verdant setting. It’s a photographer’s paradise! Set in the high country of New England, the gardens host workshops, weddings and (relevant for visitors) garden tours. The 10-acre gardens are divided up into varying rooms which each possess their own charm and ambience. Gorgeous walkways, arbours and woodland walks are here to keep you exploring.

Pic credit: Destination NSW / Exterior view of the Tenterfield Saddler, Tenterfield.

Visit Tenterfield Saddler

Made famous by Peter Allen’s song tribute to his past and grandfather George Woolnough, Tenterfield Saddler is a quaint blue-granite saddlery on High Street. A meeting place in the town, the Saddler is a real centre point of historic Tenterfield. Since 1860, the building has been used as a bank, private residence, and saddlery. Today, the building is classified by the National Trust. The old ceilings are stained with 130 years of tobacco and the floors reveal scraps of leather. Check out Tenterfield Saddler to learn about working conditions from 100 years ago.

Cafes and restaurants in Tenterfield

During a weekend getaway in Tenterfield, there will always be a need for a quick coffee, a long lunch or an evening meal. Check out the below cafes and restaurants in Tenterfield and enjoy some quality local food and drink during your trip!

The Courtyard Cafe

Located inside the historic Sir Henry Parkes School Of Arts Building in Tenterfield, The Courtyard Cafe is the place to go for all three meals of the day. Open for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea seven days a week, rag your bacon rolls, quiches, salads and seafood here.

The Bohemian Tearoom

Drop into The Bohemian Tearoom during your Tenterfield getaway to satisfy your craving of scones and great coffee. As a casual country cafe, this spot is relaxed and friendly. Fresh cakes, hot scones served with homemade jam as well as tasty lunches are The Bohemian Tearoom’s strong points.

Bad Manners Donuts & Coffee

The name says it all – head over to Bad Manners Donuts & Coffee for coffee, hot shops, ice cream, milkshakes and of course hot donuts. You won’t regret it!

Rosenhof German Heritage Cafe & Restaurant

‘Rosenhof’ translates from the German into Roseyard or Rosegarden. Situated in a rejuvenated 164 year old heritage listed building, Rosenhof boasts a Garden Cafe and Restaurant that serves European food. Minutes from the town, Rosenhof is peaceful and will serve you some excellent beer, wine, cake and coffee, ice cream and tasty hot food.

Tenterfield Gourmet Pizza

Gourmet pizzas, pastas and tasty desserts are the name of the game at Tenterfield Gourmet Pizza. With generous toppings on our 32 different pizzas, you certainly won’t leave hungry.

SA Weekend Escapes’ Top Hotel Pick

Royal Tenterfield is a 12-room hotel located 10-minutes from Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts Museum. Guests here enjoy comfortable rooms as well as different dining options available at the lounge bar. Climate control, flat-screen televisions and coffee machines are found in all rooms. The centre of the town can be reached within a 5-minute walk, making this cosy spot perfect for a weekend getaway in Tenterfield!

To find out more, click here.