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Gunnedah

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Gunnedah is a large service town in Central West of New South Wales. It has everything for the traveller passing through, with a couple of supermarkets, a choice of pubs and bistros, an upmarket restaurant or two, and few great parks to stretch your legs. There is plenty of accommodation, and a few additional attractions in case you want to stretch your break for a day or two. It's a six block town, with one (somewhat unnecessary) single traffic light.

Get in

Gunnedah has a stopping train station on the line between Moree and Sydney - that sees a daily daytime train in each direction. Unlike so many country train services, this one arrives and departs at sociable hours, and makes reasonable time.

Gunnedah has an airport, that's around 3km from town - but there is no regular passenger service. The closest airport with scheduled commercial flights is Tamworth, and you can hire a car easily from there.

But most people arriving in Gunnedah do so by car - it's on the Oxley Highway - one of the inland routes connecting Port Macquarie to the inland. The closest city is Tamworth, and it's an about an hour's drive. It's a possible weekend away from Sydney.

Get around

Gunnedah has a taxi service. The town itself (from the museum, to the airport, to the river, to the shops) is probably less than an hours walk if you arrive by train (although it can get hot in summer). Most people in Gunnedah would have a car.

  • Gunnedah Taxis.

See

  • 1 Gunnedah Rural Museum. If you're looking for an authentic history of Gunnedah, neatly laid out with information boards and item descriptions then you'll need to go somewhere else.

    If you are looking for large sheds just full of every bit of discarded equipment over the past 150 years of Gunnedah's history, then you could wander around this place for hours. It's large, it's disorganised, and in places looks more like a junkyard than a museum. There are collections of Coke cans and ANZAC cookies. Old cars, harvesters, tractors, diesel engines. Model railways, old switchboards, Teacups, furniture, photographs. $8.
  • Pensioners Lookout. free.
  • Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Statue. Dorothea Mackellar was born in Point Piper in Sydney, and is buried in Waverley Cemetery overlooking the ocean. But the sunburnt country she wrote about so passionately is out here. And a memorial statue with her on a horse is next to the watertower museum. Well worth a visit - even if just to reread the poem.
  • Koalas. The town markets itself as the Koala capital of Australia. But that doesn't mean the critters are going to be easy to find. Ask at the tourist information if there have been any recent sightings. Otherwise Pensioners Hill is a favourite spot to look for them.
  • Watertower Museum. Decorated with paintings of ANZAC - adjacent to the ANZAC memorial.

Do

  • Walk along the Namoi. The Namoi is the river immediately to the north of the town. The town turns it's back on the river, because of its temperamental flows, but it's certainly worth a short visit. Wildlife and birds are attracted the river. And when not in flood it's possible to walk across. But you'll have to pick your photos carefully to avoid a few discarded car tyres and empty shopping trolleys that ruin the aspect. You can camp by the river too.
  • Civic Cinema. You can go to the movies in Gunnedah. Films screen daily, with the latest pictures.

Buy

A true country service town, Gunnedah has a large Woolworths, a Target Country, bakery, camping supplies, bike shop, multiple service stations, banks and ATMs. You can also buy a combine harvester from one of the the two farm supplies if you're in the market for some serious machinery.

There are a few gift and speciality shops in town that make a shopping stroll down the main street worthwhile.

Bear in mind that like many similar towns, most of the town will be closed Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays. Woolworths keeps city hours (only closed on major public holidays), but expect the town to be otherwise quiet on weekends.

Eat

  • 2 Bitter Suite Cafe + Wine Bar. Good coffee and fresh food in a garden setting. Best place for a weekend brunch on a warm day.
  • Verdict Coffee (Right opposite the park in the centre of town.). Modern, faux-hipster coffee shop.

Drink

You have a choice of pubs and clubs in Gunnedah.

The pastel pink Bowling and Services Club is the most eclectic. With a bar and bistro next to the bowling greens, and another upstairs in the main building. On a summer's weekend afternoon, the beers flow directly from the bowling club bar out on to the green. A country institution a little frozen in time. Your house wine will be a choice of red or white. Your beer will be Tooheys or Carlton.

The Gunnedah Hotel is the rebranded "Royal". You'll get a craft beer on tap here, a few nicer wines, and the mains now come with the option of a Quinoa salad. Hipster culture is making its small inroad into Gunnedah.

Other options include the Courthouse (named for the Courthouse opposite) with its Olive Restaurant bistro, and the Parkview - closer to the centre of town.

Sleep

  • Maynestay. A little smaller motel on the motel strip - a few metres further from town than the Mackellar. Clean rooms on two floors. Friendly staff. Comfy fittings, with TV with a few cable sports channels in addition to the free-to-air. Nice for an overnight stop. No extras like pools, or food.
  • Billabong Motel. With the faded pastel colours, and the pink neon flashing motel sign - this motel looks like something off the set of a B grade movie at Universal studios. But this is the real-deal drive-up motel.
  • Mackellar Motel. Probably the fanciest and largest of the motels in Gunnedah. Modern in appearance. Restaurant attached.

Connect

Good coverage of the town with all the mobile networks. WiFi is available in most motels, but no shops or cafes. Telstra Air (Fon) hotspots are available around the public telephones for members and at a fee. There is also free WiFi at the library, if you're in need of a more serious Internet fix.

Public phones are scattered around. There is a public phone at the station - but not at the airport.

Go next

  • Tamworth
  • Armidale
  • Oxley Highway
  • Barraba, in the heart of the Fossickers Way, is northeast of Gunnedah: 92 km via Kelvin Road and Longarm Road (1 hr 18 min); 117 km via Rushes Creek Road and B95 (1 hr 25 min)

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