Not far from the inland border of Queensland and New South Wales is the charming town of Tenterfield. Although only a three-and-a-half-hour drive from sub-tropical Brisbane, once you’re there, you’ll encounter a vastly different climate and landscape, with plenty to see and do for the whole family. This article is about visiting Tenterfield with kids.
Family Friendly Activities in Tenterfield
The township of Tenterfield is steeped in history, and it’s well worth a visit to the beautifully preserved Railway Station Museum, the Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts (where the idea for Australia becoming a federation was first tabled) and the Tenterfield Saddlery on High Street.
At the Tenterfield Saddlery, local saddler George Woolnough made and repaired saddles in this location for more than 50 years. Bush poet, Banjo Patterson is said to have been a regular at the saddlery, which became a meeting place of sorts. George Woolnough’s grandson, Peter Allen, who also lived in the area, became an Aussie entertainment icon. A pair of Peter Allen’s dazzling dance shoes are on display at the saddlery, among other historical items. Inside, you’re also guaranteed to meet a couple of locals who love to spin a yarn about yesteryear.
Keeping with the history theme, Tenterfield also provided cover for a number of infamous bushrangers, with them regularly living and hiding among the granite rocky outcrops that punctuate the area. Thunderbolt’s Hideout, located along Mount Lindesay Road, features a short walk to a giant group of rocks where Captain Thunderbolt (Frederick Ward) camped and stabled his horses.
Little imaginations can run wild here, and the rocks are perfect for exploring. The top of the rock was Captain Thunderbolt’s lookout, where he could watch the main road to Warwick during the gold-mining days. The tales of Thunderbolt’s exploits are enthralling, and we encourage you to check out the Tenterfield Information Centre for more details.
But perhaps the most impressive tourist attraction is the region’s majestic national parks that beg to be visited, including, Bald Rock National Park, Boonoo Boonoo National Park, Basket Swamp National Park, Tooloom National Park, Torrington State Recreation Area, Koreelah National Park and Giraween National Park.
Read our coverage of Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo and Giraween National Park to plan your trip. For all of the attractions we’ve mentioned, we recommend you download the Soundtrails App and listen to stories of a bygone era, including Indigenous history, while exploring the heritage of this federation town and its natural surroundings.
Places to Eat with Kids in Tenterfield
Tenterfield is known for its food and wine. There are lots of lovely cafes dotted along the main street that are welcoming to children. When driving around the wider region, there are inviting wineries where you can sample a drop or two, as well as farm gates selling a variety of local produce.
In town, the Bad Manners Cafe has an excellent children’s play area (pictured) as well as a kids’ menu. Alternatively, you can pack a picnic or barbecue provisions and enjoy eating in the great outdoors at places such as Mt Mackenzie Lookout.
For something a bit different, Wallangarra Railway Cafe straddles the border and you can dine right on the historic platform. If all else fails, some hearty pub fare (there are at least four pubs in town) will keep the kids happy!
Where to Stay with Kids in Tenterfield
There are many options for families from motor inns and farm stays to national park camping or even something a bit different – camping on a private property in a luxurious bubbletent or suspended tree tent!
The property is named Mirumiru and features two bubbletents which each sleep two adults – aptly named Thunderbolt and Moonlite after the bushrangers that used to roam the area.
The Thunderbolt campsite also features a mini-bubble tent suspended in the trees and can sleep up to three children in “glam-swags” (a mattress and cosy sleeping bag). The main tent is set on a deck, with chairs and a table, an outdoor shower/bath, and a camp kitchen with all crockery, cutlery, utensils and a camp stove.
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and marshmallows are all provided, and a designated campfire area with a grill plate provides your cooking space. Inside the tent is a cooler/esky for perishables. Inside, a separate room in the bubbletent is a Swedish-designed composting toilet, which is quite a marvel in itself, and a sink for hand-washing.
Alternatively, the Mirumiru property also offers the option of staying in a beautiful old Queenslander home named “Sunday”. Fully renovated in 2020, Sunday has 3 bedrooms and a traditional sleep-out area, dining room, lounge room, kitchen, bathroom and separate toilet. There is a fully enclosed front and back deck with sliding windows to keep you warmer in winter and cooler in the warmer months with plenty of natural ventilation.
What’s The Weather Like in Tenterfield?
Nature lovers will delight in every season at Tenterfield with the wide-open spaces just perfect for families.
In winter, there’s a good chance you’ll see snow, especially in the surrounding mountains. In spring, its wildflower season, and the pretty blooms are dotted throughout the expansive national parks which are all within easy driving distance from the town.
In autumn, the region’s deciduous trees drop their colourful leaves and create a riot of crunchy leaf matter, perfect for stomping in with a pair of gumboots. Finally, the alpine summer offers a mild and welcome respite from the hotter climes of the East Coast.