Sparkling sapphires aren't the only things that will catch your eye in Inverell, a town full of history and natural beauty.
With treasures and great fortune just waiting to be found, Inverell is an adventure waiting to happen.
As the thriving centre of New England’s gemstone country, it comes as no surprise to hear that Inverell is known as the ‘Sapphire City’. This picturesque town, located on the banks of the Macintyre River, operates a booming fossicking industry, with quartz crystals and sapphires the main gemstones to be found.
Inverell is also a region rich in wildlife and natural splendour, and with the name ‘Inverell’ meaning ‘the meeting place of swans’ in Gaelic, visitors will have no trouble spotting a wide range of birdlife in the nearby reserves, dams and wilderness areas. Lively and intriguing, this New England treasure trove is a gem in New South Wales’ north-east.
Things to do in Inverell
Bird watchers and animal lovers will delight in the abundance of wildlife (fish and bird species in particular) that reside in the Inverell area. Goonoowigall State Conservation Area, and Copeton and Pindari Dams are ideal locations to scout for native flora and fauna, otherwise bush walking, kayaking, and fishing are just a few of the activities visitors can also undertake.
You also can’t visit Inverell - the heart of the world's sapphire production – and not try your luck at finding your very own fortune at one of the many bush fossicking sites. These fossicking areas are the perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved in this historic process, and if worse comes to worse, we’re sure one of the many Inverell jewellers will be happy to sell you a gem of your own.
And don't miss the most delicious attraction in the Inverell region - the family-owned estate Olives of Beaulieu. Selling olive products, spice blends and gourmet foods, it is a wonderful spot to learn about the manufacturing of olive products, take a casual stroll along the olive grove or sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious lunch.
Goonoowigall State Conservation Area
Covering over 1,000 hectares Goonoowigall (pronounced gunny-wiggle) is a scenic reserve easily identified by its low-lying hills, large granite rocks and dense scrubland. There are 10km of marked bushwalking tracks that take walkers into the heart of the reserve, past sandy waterholes and trickling waterfalls. Over 100 species of birds, wallabies and reptiles call the reserve home, so keep your eyes peeled for the native wildlife – rock wallabies and echidnas are often spotted along the trails. Attractive picnic spots litter the tracks, and plaques recording Aboriginal history can also be found throughout the reserve. Goonoowigall also houses the remains of an early Chinese settlement.
7 Oaks Fossicking Area
The Inverell region is famous for supplying around 80 per cent of the world’s sapphires, and hence offers the perfect opportunity to try your luck at fossicking. 7 Oaks Fossicking is a small, private mining area that is perfect for those just starting out on their fossicking journey. With the picturesque Frazer Creek as the peaceful backdrop visitors can spend the whole day under the large shady trees, fossicking along the creeks and gullies, in search of an elusive sapphire. All equipment is supplied, there are ample picnic spots, and if you don’t want to give up the hunt after an afternoon’s work, you can even camp at 7 Oaks.
Inverell Heritage Walk
Starting at the Inverell Information Centre, the Heritage Walk is a great way to familiarise yourself with the rich and palpable history of Inverell. Your brochure and map (which you pick up for free at the Info Centre) provide vital details on the architecture and history behind of each of the buildings. Particular highlights include the old Power Station, newly refurbished Town Hall and Art Gallery, Post Office, Court House and local church. Taking just over one and a half hours, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Inverell.
Getting to Inverell
Inverell is positioned on the western slopes of the Northern Tablelands region of NSW, and the town sits on the banks of the Macintyre River.
The most direct route from Sydney is via Thunderbolts Way. The 580km journey takes just over 7 hours. If you are travelling from Brisbane, the 430km, 5 hour trip is best taken along the National Highway.
NSW Trainlink runs multiple daily services from Sydney’s Central Station to Inverell, via Armidale.
When to visit Inverell
The weather conditions in Inverell are fairly agreeable across all the seasons, and visitors will find that many of the attractions are also open year round.
Deciding on when to visit is completely up to the individual, but a particularly stunning time to visit is during early spring. All the wildflowers are just starting to bloom, creating waves of colour and vibrancy across the Inverell landscape. Make sure to pack your camera, you won’t want to miss the sea of flowers sparkling in every colour.
You’ll be sure to pick up something special in Inverell, with a diverse range of shops and boutiques that include jewellers, gift stores, men’s and women’s fashion, antiques and a plethora of sapphire and gemstone shops.
Home to Coles, Woolworths and Ritchies, visitors to Inverell are spoilt for choice when it comes to supermarkets. There is also a Bunnings, Post Office, multiple banks, Target and Harvey Norman in town.
RV Dump Points
Visitors to Inverell can find RV dump points at the following locations:
- Inverell Showgrounds, Tingha Road.
- Inverell Caravan Park, corner Tingha and Glen Innes Road.
- Fossikers Rest Tourist Park, Lake Inverell Drive.