Welcome to Tenterfield – an underrated hub of food, drink and culture, nestled within the stunning surrounds of the New England High Country.

About Tenterfield

Sandwiched between national parks and wineries, Tenterfield sits below the Queensland border as a part of the New South Wales Northern Tablelands. The 2021 Census tells us Tenterfield Shire’s population is 6,810 — around 1000 of whom are in their 20s and 30s – while the town itself has a population of 4,100.

How to Get to Tenterfield

Tenterfield is a 3 hour and 15 minute drive from Brisbane. Keep in mind that, unlike New South Wales, Queensland doesn’t have daylight saving. Depending on what time of year you travel, be prepared to lose or gain an hour.

If you’re travelling from Sydney, you’re in for a heftier trip. Taking Thunderbolt’s Way and the New England Highway, you’re looking at a 7-hour and 45-minute drive.

Things To Do in Tenterfield

Explore the National Parks

Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo, and Basket Swamp National Parks are massive calling cards for this region. Interestingly, Bald Rock was a neutral ground for three Aboriginal nations (Ngarabal/Jukembal, Kamilaroi, and Bundjalung) to meet and trade.


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Swim at Boonoo Boonoo falls


Take a Drive

Mt Mackenzie Scenic Drive and Lookout is a Tenterfield staple. Allocate about an hour for the scenic drive. It’s 38km and you’ll get to see Tenterfield from all the best angles and observe its unusual granite outcrops.


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Granite outcrops dot the route


You may meet some sheep along the way so be sure to drive with caution (especially if you’re glancing at the view).

When you reach the lookout, you’ll notice things start to get brisk. You’re about 1300 metres above sea level, so bring a jacket! The lookout is made for a sunrise, but the appeal of sunset is the warm glow that sets over the tablelands.


View from Mount Mackenzie Lookout, Tenterfield, NSW

The view from Mt Mackenzie Lookout


Gravel Biking and Off-Road Cycling

Tenterfield is quickly becoming a hot spot for gravel and off-road cycling

A collection of single day and multi-day routes across Tenterfield Shire has been mapped on ridewithgps.com. The rides traverse the Shire’s quiet gravel roads and remote, high-country wilderness trails, and offer breath-taking cycling experiences from easy-paced rambles to multi-day bike-packing epics.

Unearth Tenterfield’s History

Tenterfield has a rich Aboriginal and colonial past; history buffs this one’s for you.

The Tenterfield Saddler

You’re welcomed into The Tenterfield Saddler by an endearing street sign which reads, ‘No Standing: Horse Drawn Vehicles Excepted’.


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The Saddler


The Saddler is an insight into the working conditions of 100 years ago. You can fiddle with ‘old-timey’ equipment like original telephones, and marvel at collections of postcards, letters, and knick-knacks from times gone by. For many years, it was a meeting place of sorts, with famous faces like poet Banjo Patterson frequenting the Saddler.

Locally-born singer-songwriter Peter Allen made The Saddler internationally famous with his song ‘Tenterfield Saddler’, all about his grandfather George Woolnough who was Tenterfield’s saddler for 52 years.


Tenterfield Railway Museum

Situated on Railway Avenue, the Tenterfield Railway Museum buildings have been around since 1886. Once a station, you can now explore the memorialised trains which are in prime condition – the seats are comfier, and the legroom is far more generous than our present-day trains.


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Tenterfield Railway Museum


School of Arts

You can learn about Tenterfield’s rich ‘Federation Town’ history at the National Trust’s first listed museum, the Tenterfield School of Arts. This was where Sir Henry Parkes gave his famous 1889 speech, The Tenterfield Oration, which urged Australia’s colonies to unite to become a nation.


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School of Arts


Aboriginal History

Many Indigenous histories are still present in Tenterfield. Bora rings and scar trees are present throughout the shire.
Tenterfield Shire’s Indigenous heritage includes the Jukembal, Bundjalung, Kamilaroi, Githabul, and Ngoorabul nations. Speaking poles have been erected in the town’s Millbrook Park celebrating this rich history.

Where to Eat in Tenterfield

The Potting Shed

Itching for a coffee and a cheeky pastry, we stumbled across The Potting Shed, aka Little Nook and Co. It’s a multi-purpose store serving eats, treats, and banging good coffee.

Plus, it’s a boutique nursery so there’s that wholesome plant-energy thing going on. We set up on a table out the back surrounded by climbing vines and thriving pot plants, planning our next move. What did this town have to offer?


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A quiet table at the Potting Shed


Barista Connor approached us holding freshly baked scones adorned with jam and cream – big yes! – and we got to chatting. He told us of places to hit (love us some local insight) and how he moved to Tenterfield with his wife, Chelsea.

At this stage, this was the only place we’d been in Tenterfield other than driving through the main street. To be honest we were surprised to hear that people in their early thirties would pick up their lives from the larger city, Toowoomba, in preference for Tenterfield, which seemed quiet and unassuming. Connor and Chelsea aren’t the only ones seeking out what Tenterfield has on offer.

Scones consumed and coffee cups warming our hands, we chatted to owner Kendyl. In September 2022, she and her husband, Mitch, heard whispers that The Potting Shed’s lease was up. So, they came to Tenterfield for a day to investigate.

By the end of that day, they’d arranged to take on the Potting Shed lease, had viewed an apartment, and secured said apartment, which candidly, is an absurd amount of productivity for one day.

Kendyl and Mitch ‘fell in love with the feel’: the community was instantly welcoming; people were friendly, open, and like-minded.

They told us of the vibrancy of Tenterfield and how more and more young people are making the move.

We’d judged a book by its cover. We were expecting a town of exclusively senior citizens (no hate, bless all the oldies) but our preconceived notions were shot to hell.


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Your caffeine hit is sorted at the Potting Shed


An hour into our Tenterfield trip, we’d met like-minded individuals who shared our understanding of travel, adventure and what we were after in a ‘pit-stop’. Moral of the story … always chat up the locals.

Kendyl is The Potting Shed’s in-house baker so everything’s homemade. Plus, they use the reliable and loveable Allpress coffee, so when in Tenterfield there’s no need to stress about where to get your morning caffeine hit. Better yet, no need to brave a petrol station coffee.

We decided to let Connor and Kendyl get back to work. The scones had settled, but the excitement had not. Recommendations in hand, we popped on up to the road to curb our curiosity.


204 Rouse St, Tenterfield is a special place. It’s the home of Stonefruit, a wine bar bursting at the seams (like you’ll be after a feed here) with flavour and passion.

The bar’s title is an ode, a nod if you will, to the Granite Belt region’s famed farming. The acknowledgements of location don’t stop at the name. Stonefruit’s entire ethos is centred around the region’s produce.


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Stonefruit wine bar


Owners and husband and wife duo, Alistair and Karlee, recognised the produce and wine offerings of the region and opened Stonefruit in September 2022. Originally from Darlinghurst, Alistair and Karlee share a love of eating and drinking and seek to offer a playful take on dining.

The Stonefruit experience is transformative – big call, I know. But the nature of the food, the staggering of the dishes, the lightness of the climate-style wine, are reminiscent of European dining. It’s intimate, a slow way of eating.

As Alistair manages front of house, Karlee prepares food, carefully, thoughtfully. Stonefruit’s menu alters weekly to reflect what’s in season.

With an orange-y Sav Blanc from the Central Ranges of New South Wales (Banana Girl by Jilly, for you sommeliers out there), we shared Nduja on charred sourdough paired with stracciatella and white anchovy. Our previous days in the region were spent camping, so this was certainly a severe upgrade from canned spaghetti and smooshed balls.


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Stonefruit uses local, in-season ingredients


We ate and chatted with Alistair. Like our friends from The Potting Shed, Alistair vocalised the community pull of Tenterfield, the shared values, the liveliness. Karlee served us charred cauliflower swimming in a secret green sauce that we consumed with spoons when no one was looking.

She told us that Tenterfield is happy to grow, they’re happy to welcome young couples like she and Alistair and back their ventures whole-heartedly, but this growth has to not come at the expense of Tenterfield’s small town vibes; you’ll never see a chain restaurant or mass gentrification. So, save your Maccas hashbrown cravings for when you’re on the road!

To finish, we ate zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, lemon, and drizzled with local Tenterfield wild honey. Enough said. Stonefruit was a beautiful way to explore the region.

Bad Manners

Cinnamon doughnuts are always a good idea. Doughnuts are even better when accompanied by milkshakes. If that’s all sounding a bit too decadent for you, rest assured you can skip the milkshake in favour of a Blackboard coffee.

Oh, and the doughnuts are gluten-free so you’re effectively the pinnacle of health. Keep in mind, Bad Manners is open from Thursday to Monday.


The Commercial Boutique Hotel

The Commercial Boutique Hotel is accessible to all types of foodies. With family favourites like pizzas and chips, and moreish nibbles like pork belly and meatballs, it’s a hard place not to love.


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Delicious eats at the Commercial Boutique Hotel


Pair these eats with a view of Mt Mackenzie from the Hotel’s deck, and you’re sure to be one happy camper!


Tenterfield Bowling and Golf Clubs

If you’re looking for more standard fare head to either the town’s Bowling Club or Golf Club, and for hearty pub grub and cold schooners try The Telegraph or the Tenterfield Tavern and Motor Inn.

Places To Stay in Tenterfield

For families and friends

Tenterfield has a plethora of spots perfect for your family holidays or your long weekends with friends. Roseneath Station Farm Stay has over 2km of river frontage and is a great excuse for the whole gang to bring their togs for picnic days by the river.

Meanwhile, Tenterfield Lodge and Caravan Park has all the facilities required to recharge, as well as divine cabins so you can properly catch up on those Zzzs.


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The Lodge


And of course, don’t forget Tenterfield’s outskirts are littered with national parks many of which have campsites and cabins. Only 17 minutes from Tenterfield, Boonoo Boonoo National Park offers options like Robinsons Cabin – comfortable and rustic accommodation right in the bush.


For couples

If you’re looking to cosy into your Tenterfield time, places like The Bungalow & Ivy Leaf Chapel, and Red & White Rose Cottages offer the quaint vibe you’re probably after. Both are built with the sole intention of helping you and your significant other unwind while embracing Tenterfield’s historic architecture.

Tips for Visiting Tenterfield

Tenterfield is high on the tablelands, so the weather is unpredictable to say the least. Days can be warm and balmy, but as the sun pops down, a chill is immediately present.

The key here is to always have a jacket handy or better yet, become a pro at layering.

Read more: How to Layer Your Clothing

Aside from this, the ultimate tip is to give this town the time of day it deserves – it’s endearing, delightful, and if it’s next on your holiday list, lucky you.


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Nearby Bald Rock is definitely worth a visit!


How isolated is Tenterfield?

While it doesn’t initially appear to be bustling, Tenterfield has a lot going on. You can roll into Tenterfield with just yourself and your wallet and you’ll be more than okay.

Does Tenterfield have reception?

Yes, it does! No more offline Google Maps for you. Physical maps are available at the Visitors’ Information Centre, where you can get expert advice on what’s happening around town and local road conditions. Local events are regularly posted on their Facebook page

If I’m travelling from Brisbane, where can I stop on the way?

There are plenty of places to stop along the way like Stanthorpe and Wyberba, home to Balancing Hearts Vineyard. Plus, Aratula has an A-grade fruit shop if you want to grab some snacks for the road.


Photos thanks to @life.of.iso