If you’re heading to the legendary Country Music Festival in Tamworth this January and need to know where to stay, a few hints about places to rest your weary head when the singing’s done each day.
After all, with 2,500 events on offer, you don't want to worry about your base!
Rated among the world’s top 10 festivals, the Tamworth Country Music Festival is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts people from all over Australia and around the world.
Although most of the hotel accommodation is booked out months in advance, camping, home hosting or staying in a nearby town are still viable options closer to the event.
“The friendly Tamworth community is always ready to welcome more people to join in the Festival fun and what better way than staying in a local’s home, or camping out beneath the starry country sky,” said Tourism Tamworth’s General Manager, Rebel Thomson.
Ms Thomson added that while Tamworth is always fully prepared to handle the influx of visitors each January, Festival-goers are advised to research their accommodation options well in advance.
Over 50,000 festival-goers take in 10 days of fun, music and memories, with many of them returning year after year with the event listed as a “must-do” on their annual calendars.
A comprehensive guide to Festival accommodation is available through Tourism Tamworth phone 02 6767 5300 or on the web at http://www.visittamworth.com/ (follow the links to the accommodation pages). You will need to contact each accommodation service direct to make bookings.
Ranging from two and half to five star, Tamworth boasts over 30 motels and apartments, all within easy distance of the Festival venues which are usually the first to be booked out. You may get in on a cancellation, but don’t rely on this option.
Accessibility to festival venues, restaurants, cafes, clubs and shops are the advantages with this choice but there’s nothing too far from anything in Australia’s Country Music Capital.
Many of the hotels in Tamworth also serve as Festival venues so you’ll be right amongst the live music action should you choose to stay in one of the great pubs. At the end of a night-time show, your bed could be as close as one flight of stairs away!
B & B’S/ FARMSTAYS
Always popular is either a bed and breakfast or farm stay.
There are over a dozen B&B choices in the Tamworth Region, ranging from youth hostel style up to luxurious five-star and unique dwellings. Farm stays are the quintessential Aussie experience and hold great appeal for families.
With several located within easy driving distance of Tamworth, you have every opportunity to ensure the kids are entertained from dawn to dusk. The obvious advantages for both are that breakfast is included in the tariff, the comfort level is on a par with home and your hosts are more than happy to share their local knowledge.
As the popularity of the Festival grew and regular accommodation channels were at full capacity, the local Tamworthians opened their homes to visitors and now the Festival relies greatly on the local hospitality to facilitate the Home Hosting accommodation on offer.
Home hosting means you’ll get breakfast, home comforts, country hospitality and local information. There’s also the option of staying in a vacated home.
There are a few home hosting agencies that can help source a home stay, a farm stay, a vacated home or vacated caravan for you. Contact Tourism Tamworth for contact details.
Real estate agents can source fully furnished homes for rental during the festival. These are usually houses vacated by the owners specifically for the duration of the festival.
Some Tamworth residents choose to leave town for the duration of the Festival. If you want to swap your house with theirs, then it might pay to run an ad in the Tamworth newspaper, the Northern Daily Leader. Phone (02) 6768 1222 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CARAVAN PARKS & CAMPGROUNDS
Camping or caravanning is the best pick if you’re booking late or if you’re on a small budget. The caravan parks in town offer the best facilities and always a friendly welcoming smile. A number of other venues open up specifically as temporary campgrounds for the festival, including the Tamworth Showground, the North Tamworth Rugby League Club, West Tamworth Leagues Club, McCarthy Catholic College and St Nicholas Primary School. If you don’t have your own camping gear, some places provide tents with beds, such as West Tamworth Leagues Club.
Outside town, there are other campgrounds available such as Attunga Sports Ground 20kms away); Lake Keepit (50kms away); and Kootingal Camping or Pony Club (20kms away). There are also temporary council campgrounds in: Attunga (20kms); Dungowan (20kms); Kootingal (20kms); Moonbi (25kms); Werris Creek (48kms) and Woolbrook (75kms).
Each caravan park and campground has different rules about bookings during festival time, so make sure you phone ahead and check before you leave home.
If you still can’t find a bed in Tamworth, then you’ll easily find accommodation in one of the neighbouring towns. Phone any of the following numbers in these towns for information:
Gunnedah: (77km from Tamworth) Visitor Information Centre (02) 6740 2230
Uralla: (91km from Tamworth) Visitor Information Centre (02) 6778 4496
Armidale: (112km from Tamworth) Visitor Information Centre (02) 6772 4655
Walcha: (97km from Tamworth) Council Tourism Officer (02) 6774 2460
Barraba: (141km from Tamworth) Visitor Information Centre (02) 6782 1255
Quirindi: ( 60km from Tamworth) Visitor Information Centre (02) 67461096
The Tamworth Country Music Festival runs from January 18 to January 27, 2008. For all enquiries, phone the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre on 02 67675300 or log onto http://www.visittamworth.com/. You will need to contact the accommodation provider direct to make any booking.