For the benefit of those thinking about visiting New England's Big Sky Country - the Tablelands, Western Slopes and Plains - in January, a list of local events follows.
1 January – Wallabadah New Year’s Day Races
A traditional bush racing experience, held every year since 1852. Wallabadah Racecourse Phone Gerard Smith 0428 924 880.
1 January – Inverell Cup Race Meeting.
Inverell Race Course. Phone 02 6722 1139.
6 January – Jellicoe Park Markets, Moree
There’s something for everyone at the markets with indoor & outdoor plants & seedlings, fresh fruit & vegetable produce, home baked goods, clothing, handcrafted furniture, poultry, a selection of food stalls, craft & novelty items, beading supplies, jewellery & crystals and much more. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.
13 January – National Tomato Day Festival, Gunnedah
The Bowling Club, Conadilly Street. This annual celebration of the tomato is an institution for backyard growers, who compete for the glory of such titles as biggest, reddest, tastiest and oddest–shaped tomato. The contest, held annually since 1978, developed from an argument between two locals over who had grown the biggest tomatoes in their backyard. Phone John Campbell on 02 6742 0400.
13 January – Tamworth Rotary Cup Race Meeting
Eight race program at the Tamworth Racecourse, with funds donated to charity. Phone Bruce Kneipp 02 67661666.
13 January – Quota Monthly Markets, Quirindi
Roselea Park. Phone 02 6747 1490.
12 January – Glen Innes Horse Racing
Glen Innes Racecourse. Six program meet, live band, BBQ and bar. Phone Brendan Campbell 02 6732 4503.
18 January – Somerton Cup, Gunnedah
11am at Riverside Racecourse, Oxley Highway. Family friendly with all you could need for a great day at the races. Contact Debbie Watson or Rod Dugan 02 6742 0093.
18 to 29 January – Lamb and Potato Festival, Guyra
This annual festival celebrates the local produce and serves up lamb and potatoes in as many ways as you can imagine. There’s also craft and variety stalls, great food, non–stop entertainment, wine tasting, antique machinery displays, talent search and sheep shearing demos. Phone Guyra Council 02 6779 1577.
17 to 19 January – Walcha Campdraft and Rodeo
Contact Karen O’Brien 0428 840 425.
19 January – Gunnedah Country Markets
From 8.30am at Wolseley Park, Conadilly Street, Gunnedah. Entry is Free. There will be a wonderful choice of goods to be purchased, from delicious cakes/jams, pottery and craft to second hand goods/books/clothes. All are welcome. Stall fee is $15.00. Contact 02 6742 2565.
19 to 28 January – Telstra Country Music Festival, Tamworth
A ten day celebration through one of the broadest and most exciting musical styles around. Visitors can expect to select from around 2,500 events representing Country Music. 70% of events are free, admission prices for other events vary, Check ahead for prices. Phone Tourism Tamworth 02 6767 5300.
19 January – Deepwater Horse Racing
Deepwater Racecourse, New England Highway. Contact Simone Sloman 02 6734 5076.
20 January – Sapphire City Markets
Campbell Park, Inverell Contact: 02 6722 2067.
20 January – Toyota Star Maker Tamworth
Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre. Australia's premier and most prestigious country music talent search. See the nation's top twenty best new talent perform. Phone 02 6762 2399.
22 January – Australian Bush Laureate Awards, Tamworth
These awards recognise excellence in published and recorded Australian bush poetry. Phone 02 6755 4300 or visit www.bushlaureate.com.au
21 to 23 January – ABCRA Junior National Finals Rodeo, Tamworth
Tamworth Showgrounds Indoor Arena. The best junior cowboys and cowgirls take centre stage at the ABCRA's Junior National Finals Rodeo, vying for National Title honours, competing in Campdrafting (Australia's only truly unique horse sport) Bull Riding, Steer Riding Barrel Racing and Breakaway Roping.
24 to 26 January – ABCRA National Finals Rodeo
Tamworth Showground Indoor Arena – Showground Road, Tamworth. Australia's premier rodeo event. Watch the top 15 competitors in each event – Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc, Bareback, Team Roping, Rope and Tie, Steer Wrestling and the three Ladies events, Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping and Steer Undecorating battle it out over three nights of action packed entertainment. Great live country music artists perform each night following the rodeo performance. Phone Diane Hallam 02 6766 5863 or visit www.abcra.com.au
26 to 27 January – New England Sheep Dog Trials, Tenterfield
For more information, contact Patti Ainsworth, Tourism Manager at the Tenterfield Visitors Centre on 02 6736 1082.
26 January – Annual Duck Race, Tamworth
Peel River, Tamworth. See more than 1500 ducks race down the Peel River. Phone Tourism Tamworth 02 6767 5300.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Gunnedah
Events include annual a raft race, pet parade, triathlon event, trivia night and Australia Day Gala. Phone Gunnedah Visitor Information 02 6740 2230.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Tenterfield
Phone Karen Stewart 02 6736 1744.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Gwydir Shire
Phone Gwydir Shire Council 02 6724 2000.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Glen Innes
At the historic Glen Innes Showground. Phone Lisa Reed 02 6732 5967.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Moree
Family fun day held in Kirkby Park, Moree. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Narrabri, Wee Waa and Boggabri
Phone Narrabri Tourism 02 6799 6760.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Armidale
Phone Armidale Tourism 1800 627 736.
26 January – Australia Day Celebrations, Inverell Pioneer Village.
Old Time Sports, Musical Entertainment, Bush Poetry, Citizen of the Year Announcements, Displays, Food and Drink Stalls. Commencing at 4pm. Phone 02 6722 1717.
26 January – Wallabadah Aussie Bush Fair
This festival began in 2006 and due to its success is now an annual event. Browse the stalls, join in the fun and games, stroll the First Fleet Memorial Gardens or simply sit back and relax to the live bands. A great day for the family! Contact Tania Hartigan 02 6746 5606.
27 January – 35th Toyota Golden Guitar Awards
Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre – Greg Norman Drive. The Australian Country Music Industry's night of nights, with the annual presentation of Golden Guitars recognising recording excellence. A gala concert featuring the cream of country music artists. Tickets from Tourism Tamworth 02 6767 5300.
28 January – World Youth Day, Bingara
World Youth Day is a world–wide gathering of Catholic youth from all over the globe. Although it is a gathering of Catholic youth, all youth are most welcome. Up to 2,000 people are expected in Bingara to attend the celebrations. Phone Bingara Visitor Information 02 6724 0066.