Tenterfield Traveller

Tenterfield Traveller

We first ducked down to Tenterfield one cold June weekend, it was one of those weekends where you just had to get out of the house and away from it all. I think it was 2021, so we were probably just so excited that we could cross the border that week! 

It was a time we were in need of simple a family getaway.  A trip that cost very little, that we could book on a whim, something that would just give us all a change of scenery. The mini version of the road trip holiday’s of my youth, including the Creedence Clearwater Revival on the car stereo…minus the fighting about reading the map!

 On the very odd occasion, when the weather is particularly perfect, if you’re very lucky you can catch a dusting of snow atop Mt McKenzie. 

We’ve never been lucky enough to catch it, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying. 

It’s a really cute little town, with plenty to entertain the kids and you can easily pop to Glen Innes for the day, and stop in at Stanthorpe on your way home. 


There’s the obvious places to stop, Tenterfield Saddler, The Railway Museum and the School of Arts where Sir Henry Parkes gave his federation speech in 1889. 

But are my top tips for Tenterfield with the kids (I mean without them too, but you’ll probably find much cooler things to check out without them quite easily you don’t need me for that! Like Elizabeth’s Bank a treasure trove of second hand trinkets!) 


1 Stay at the Pub

Honestly it’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s right in town. You could stay at many gorgeous places on Air B&B,  but I love the Tenterfield Tavern and Motor Inn’s simplicity. You can pop into the pub for dinner, have a few drinks and cross the car park for bed. 

Bad Manners (on Manners Street) has great coffee, really cute and kind friendly.  Stonefruit Wine Bar is magic, although probably not for the kids it has cafe vibes during the day and opens early, a cheeky breakfast maybe? The Commercial Hotel is beautiful, if I was heading down childfree this is where I would stay. Do book a spot for dinner one night, even with the kids and you’ll all be well fed and mesmerised by the giant fireplaces. 

2 Captain Thunderbolts Hideout 

No matter how much time we set aside for this, it’s never enough. Pack a lunch, and make at least a half day of it. The kids just love exploring the whole area, so do I to be honest. Remember though there are no toilets, so if you’re comfortable with an emergency bush wee, great…if not well, be sure to leave some time to get to one! 


3 Glen Innes Standing Stones

These are awesome, the kids had an absolute ball, we played Bran Dubh and chess in the Crofters Cottage, tried to pull the sword from the stone and the kids ran around playing Vikings vs Celts and who knows what other loosely historically inspired games. 

Take it as you will for chats with the kids, theres the King Arthur aspect, Stonehenge, Druids and pre-Christianity Britain, Summer and Winter Solstice or, of course, huh cool stone circle hey!

The Crofter’s Cottage isn’t always open, so double check before you head off, but you can definitely get an Irn-Bru when they are. 


4 Glen Innes Fossicking 

There are plenty of places you can do this on your own along the Mann River, however if you want to guarantee a find you can do like we did and head to the Fossicker Caravan Park.  This was one of those things that I found a bit, eh, but the kids absolutely loved! 

For about $5-$10 you can grab all you need to find some gems, gems included! You get a sieve, tweezers and a bag of rocks and grit to sift through with little gems hidden throughout. After a quick instructional video you head round the back to get started. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, although it was June so it was very cold. I highly recommend taking a change of clothes and a thermos of hot chocolate to warm the hands and the tummy when they’re having a break. 

We did not, and I really regretted it!


5 Mt Mackenzie Tenterfield 

I think the best time to head up is early in the morning, pulling out the back of the motel and watching the bunnies scatter is just not something we get to see here. Driving up though the scrub and farmland early is really nice, we like to do it with the windows down (rugged up of course) and with the music off, listening to the world wake up. 

You're bound to come across wallabies, more rabbits and maybe an early rising cow or two. 

On a misty morning it’s lovely to watch the town slowly appear below as the mist rises.  If you’re lucky enough to see snow up there I would love to hear all about it. I’m beginning to think the locals may actually be pulling my leg! 


For on the way there or the way back.

Sutton’s at Stanthorpe 

You have to stop in at Sutton’s for the Apple Pie, a friend told me about it years ago and now we have some while we’re there and get some to take home as well, it’s that good. In winter they offer hot (non-alcoholic) cider and the kids tell me they are the best cheese toasties they’ve ever had! 

The Christmas Farm at Stanthorpe 

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you can always feel Christmas cheer! Cute farm animals, a wander through the rows of growing Christmas trees and a peek at the most incredible Christmas decorations I’ve ever seen in my life!  


This is not a long stop, but it’s pretty cool, Wallangarra is the town right on the border and here you can see the old train station.  If ever you’ve wondered how far back the NWS/QLD rivalry goes and if it’s bigger than the State of Origin, this is your answer.  

Each side of the station looks different, the NSW side is completely different to the QLD side! The track sizes are different! They literally had to change trains at the border because you couldn’t drive NSW trains on QLD tracks and visa-versa! Now I’m not going to say which state is “best” but I think we can all agree that someone, somewhere along the line probably should have thought, “Guys what the hell are we doing?”


So there you have it, there’s plenty more to do but these are my few tips that you might otherwise miss. Holidays don’t have to be hugely expensive, highly orchestrated, “instagram worthy” craziness. We really have such great fun when we jump in the car and head to a tiny town, if you have a spare weekend give it a

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