"New England" New England Range by iandsmith

New England Range Travel Guide: 97 reviews and 171 photos

Granite country

Doesn't matter where you go in the New England area, sooner or later you're going to see granite. It is unquestionably the dominant rock formation in the area. Whether it's a stand-alone monolith or a gorge that's been slowly worn away it's always around you, not always visible.
This is taken on the old Gwydir Highway and was selected once as a magazine cover.
The New England has a wide variety of scenery, from rain forest to high plains. It has some of Australia's busiest inland communiites, like Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell.
It has some of Australia's most spectacular gorges, though ask anyone from outside the area and it's a fair assumption that they aren't aware they exist.
Because there are gorges there are naturally waterfalls, some of which are barely a trickle in drought times but can be stunningly spectacular when the rivers are running a bunker.
I have spent years travelling in the area and never tire of driving through the countryside. Autumn is my favourite time followed by winter and spring. Frankly, mid summer can be a bit too hot for my liking but, some people like the heat.

Not so sheepish anymore

There was a popular saying years ago that "Australia rides on the sheep's back". Though that no longer literally applies, you wouldn't want to shout that too loudly in the New England area.
One of Australia's prime woolly strongholds there is a proud tradition here of things fleecy.
If you want to buy woollen clothing or get something made up there is a wool shop in Armidale I can recommend where I bought a jumper. Oddly enough, it's called the wool shop.

Afternoon specials

This shot shows two features of the New England area: sunsets and dieback.
Whilst the former can be spectacularly pretty, the latter can be downright sad. Due to the way the clouds form on the edge of the plateau, it's not uncommon for a good sunset to form on the ranges. Once you're a dedicated sunset watcher you'll start to see the signs a couple of hours before which is why I kept an eye on this particular one just east of Glen Innes.
To get some sort of foreground is often the tricky bit so it's ideal if you get in position early so you can line something up. I just happened to spot some dead trees, which is where the dieback comes in. Though the jury is still out on what caused this phenomena, during the late 80s and early 90s the New England area was devastated in places with hundreds of trees dying for no apparent reason.
Many theories have been advanced but what one can say for certain is that there was an ecological imbalance somewhere.
A couple of the more prominent theories are that bird numbers were down due to the drought and the small Christmas Beetles had a picnic in their absence and another is that the sugar gliders were suffering during the drought and weren't making the trip from the coastal side as much and so the insects had a feast. Another theory was some sort of fungus called phytophthora that happens to be related to the one that caused the Irish potato famine - current thinking is that this is the most likely culprit.
These days they make for a wonderful foreground for sunsets I think you'd agree.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pretty, rolling plains, colourful in spring and autumn and fabulous gorge country
  • Cons:Can get really dry in a drought and cold in winter
  • In a nutshell:A very rural experience with some of Australia's most spectacular scenery
  • Last visit to New England Range: Dec 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (97)

Comments (29)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    I came back to see more of those wonderful pictures and the unbelievable landscape. It really holds of lot of wonderful nature out there. Great presentation.

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    Aussie country is really beautiful, and your pictures show it Ian; I didn?t see all (will have to come back), but I know now that New England Range is a place where I seriously consider to walk one day! Merci!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2008 at 2:57 PM

    Love that photo of the sunset!

  • margaretvn's Profile Photo
    May 25, 2008 at 4:36 AM

    fantasic page and great photos. Thanks for your emails with details of your trips.... we are green with envy!lol

  • Darby2's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2007 at 4:43 PM

    Granite? I always thought of Oz as red sandstone!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    Marvelous! I learned 2 things. One...I never knew there was another New England!! Two...I didn't realize your autumn was as colorful and gorgeous as ours is. You've taught me ...beautifully. :-)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2006 at 8:33 AM

    Beautiful! Sunsets, Wild Rivers, this is a gorgeous page about one of my favourite parts of the wide brown land. I'll be back! leyle

  • penumbra's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2006 at 10:19 PM

    The Manns River was amazing cooperative for you. Most rivers aren't nearly as friendly to me.

  • AyurinHiro's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2006 at 7:32 AM

    Hi! Beautiful yellow and red leaves! I love autumn colors and your photos are beautiful! :-)

  • unravelau's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2006 at 7:13 PM

    Magnificent updates Ian........truly a lovely part of the world not seen enough........thank you. I have a lunch date so I will continue this later. Great so far. Carole.

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