After christmas we set off for a 12 day road trip holiday, mostly in the high country of northern NSW. We spent our time camping in Armidale, Tamworth and the Upper Hunter. We were in awe of all the natural wonders of these places with gorges, wild rivers, museums and historical towns to explore during the day while we casually relaxed in the evenings with a barbie and a beer, well that would be wine for me. Camping is great when you don't want your holiday to break the bank, and you need not miss out on the luxuries of holiday life.

Camper trailer Armidale Tourist Park Armidale Tourist Park

We parked our camper trailer in well equipped holiday parks which saved us a fortune in accommodation costs. Camping in our luxury tent gave us somewhere cool and comfortable to sleep while enjoying access to great facilities such as swimming pools, bbq’s, tennis courts, kitchens, wifi and recreation rooms.

Armidale Tourist Park Armidale tourist park  friends

Camping in this kind of style it cost 35 dollars a night at Armidale Tourist Park and not much more in Tamworth. Mr nine had a wow of a time making new friends and tearing around on his bike when he wasn't at the playground or pool.

Armidale Tourist Park Camping fridge organised Camping fridge and arc pac

To save money I bypassed expensive supermarket trips by preparing a lot of our meal ingredients the day before we left home. These were washed, portioned and ready for use. This saved time and minimised trash. Vacuum sealed meats stayed fresh for over a week. I didn't need to top up my fresh produce for 6 days. When I topped up I went to the Armidale farmers market for beautiful cheap fresh local produce just prior to heading to Tamworth.

Armidale Gorge 4A lookout

After driving to Armidale via picturesque Thunderbolts Way we were soon enthralled with all the natural and historical wonders of the area. Giant gorges, wild rivers, museums, trout farms and historical towns gave us plenty to see and do, ninety seven percent of our activities were free.

Armidale troutfarm Armidalle trout farm Hillgrove Museum 

The towns in the district were a showcase of historical styles of architecture. Care had been taken to preserve the vintage detailing around the shops.

 Glen Innes Glen Innes Uralla Museum

Mr Nine became captivated by the history of Captain Thunderbolt, notorious bushranger of the region, he got a valuble history lesson visiting the places that told the Thunderbolt story.

Thunderbolt Uralla  Thunderbolts cave   Thunderbolts cave

Self catering is the way to go if you want to keep your holiday costs down but we did indulge in a couple of good country pub counter lunches and a top notch wagu steak dinner at the famous Wickham Hotel. And of course, I supported the local wine industry by indulging in the locally produced drop. My favourite was Peterson’s Sparkling White.

  Petersons Sparking White Wickham Hotel Armidale

Armidale  APPLE PIE stand Armidale Apple pie 

We were surprised and delighted to come across a roadside apple pie stand however I am still kicking myself for not visiting the strawberry farm at Glen Inness. Shame on me! As you can see, the beauty of this area is captivating.

Armidale Wildflower Ebor Falls  butterfly

Frys Creek Armidale frys creek tadpole catching Frys Creek Armidale

 Frys Creek Armidale Deeargee Shearing Woolshed Uralla Gostwyck Chaple Uralla

Wild Rivers Armidale Wildrivers Armidale Ebor Falls

After 6 days in Armidale we packed up the camper and headed down to Tamworth. This is where I was born, I was curious to visit here as I had heard so much about it over the years. Tamworth was bustling in warm up mode for Australia’s famous country music festival.

 T GT Tamworth country music festival

The Paradise Tourist Park had a luxurious camp kitchen and lounge for campers. As an extra bonus we were treated to quality live entertainment from country music performers on two nights we were there. The first night we were really impressed by Amanda Gibson, so much so that we bought her CD. 

T amandagibson Paradise Tourist Park Tamworth Paradise Tourist Park Tamworth 

Playing her CD in the car the next day set the mood on our country drive to some nearby villages. Our first stop was the quaint town of Nundle where antique machines are still used to delicately manufacture wool.

Nundle wildflower Nundle  gumblossom

Nundle wool nundle wool mill NundleTown

We moved along for a picnic at hanging rock before a swim and chit chat with some other tourists at nearby Sheba dam.

Picnic at hanging rock T HR Sheba Dam  

The next day we ventured to Werris Creek. We must have looked like tourists as a friendly local man randomly came up to us in the street and told us all about the town’s rail history.

T WC Map Werris Creek NSW Werris creek shops

Later at the rail museum we discovered a whole display dedicated to him and his rail work. I found the Railway museum an intriguing place to visit as my late father worked all along the northern railway lines during the late 1960s. It was nostalgic to get an insight into where he had been all those years ago.

      werris creek railway museum werris creek platform Werris Creek Railway museum

My birth home still sits on the main highway just on the outskirts of Tamworth at Nemingah. Mr Nine was fascinated to see the home I  lived in as a baby almost 50 years ago.

Nemingah Nemingah cabanosi

I discovered the Nemingah Butcher make their own cabanossi. Mr Nine encouraged me buy some, it was so good only half a piece made it back to camp. At dinner that night we barbecued their scotch fillet and lamb cutlets. Both were tender and tasty, country butchers really do have the best meat.

Nemingah scotch fillet Nemingah cutlet A dinner 

To break the journey home to we took a two night pit stop in the Upper Hunter. With a busy week ahead of us we decided to keep the camper packed for home and enjoyed a few nights rest in a cabin.

Sandy Hollow cabin Sandy Hollow sheep Sandy Hollow cabin

The Sandy Hollow tourist park is in a lovely natural setting with lots of birds and a great pool to relax by.

SH Me Sandy Hollow King Parrots SandyHollow Pool

Mr Nine asked us to teach him to cook on the barbeque, under close supervision we gave him control of the tongs and he did a great job. 

SH BBQ SH sausage salad    

As a final holiday treat we lunched out while sightseeing.

Sandy Hollow cliff walk Sandy hollow Drive Tourist Hotel Sandy Hollow

Over a catch up with my brother at Denmans Royal Hotel we tucked into a moroccan chicken burgers while my brother chose heath in a warm prawn salad.

SH Morrocan  Denman Royal Hotel Prawn Salad

Caroline's Cafe in Merriwa was another great find. Not only was this place great value but at $11.00 I enjoyed the best steak sandwich I had had in years while my husband opted for their generous hamburger .

Carolines Cafe Merriwa steak sandwich SH flower Carolines cafe merriwa hamburger

I didn't get to see as much of Denman as I would have liked but was excited to find out they have a food and wine festival scheduled for the 1st of May. What a great excuse to go back!

B boiling the billy at Bundeena B kids B pancakes

We made it back to home to  Sydney in time to celebrate my older sons 21st with a day out fishing. I packed the butane stove and frypan to cook breakfast and lunch for family and friends on Bundeena Beach. This was a lovely way to finish our holiday before heading back to work.