The towns of Bingara and Upper Bingara are home to natural wonders and exciting events. Situated in the picturesque Gwydir Shire, Bingara is one of the larger towns in the region. The Gwydir River runs through Bingara and is an ideal place for exploration via horseback or canoe.
While the river itself was used for transportation in the mid-1800s, the discovery of gold in 1852 was the main catalyst for settlement. Following the discovery of diamonds in the region in 1890, Bingara grew to become a municipality. Interestingly, it was at this point that the official spelling of the town changed from ‘Bingera’ to ‘Bingara.’ The number of pastoral properties grew and businesses on the main street — including five general stores and six hotels — were numerous and thriving. When the global recession struck, the town’s growth stalled, but many historic buildings still remain.
Today, the natural beauty of the Gwydir River continues to be an attraction for visitors. Stretching into the Copeton Dam — which is three times the size of Sydney Harbour — the river is a must-see. For those wishing to make the river part of their holiday, the Copeton Waters Reflections Holiday Park is a good option. Located 50 minutes east of Bingara, the park is set on 900ha of land and grants fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to cast their lines in and enjoy the peaceful setting. For self-contained campers, there are plenty of opportunities for free camping on the journey from Bingara to the holiday park.
On the drive from Bingara to the holiday park, visitors can drop by Keera Station, which was the residence of Mrs Grace Munro, the founding president of the Country Women’s Association (CWA). After losing her son in 1911, Mrs Munro became inspired by the idea that country women could make a real difference in the quality of lives of others.
THINGS TO DO
If soaking up the serenity of Bingara and its surrounding areas has you ready for action, there is a great deal to do and see in the region. The river itself offers boundless opportunities for fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and general exploration.
The town, also known as a fishing paradise, hosts the annual Easter Fish competition, giving visitors and residents the opportunity to catch Murray cod, yellow belly and silver perch. Wade’s Horses in the main street hires out canoes and offers a unique trail riding experience along the Gwydir River and up into the ranges.
Cunningham Park, accessed through Campbell’s road bridge, offers visitors brilliant photo opportunities. The well-known ‘Hobbit Tree’ (a tangle of large eroded roots) is a popular destination for visitors and a go-to wedding and family photography spot.
Also at Cunningham Park are the two historic bridges that offer access to the location. The Campbell’s road bridge was built in 1886 and was once one of the largest steel-truss bridges in Australia. While at Cunningham Park, why not make use of the site’s many facilities? The park features barbecues, amenities, shady picnic places and, for self-contained campers, a dump point.
Junction Park is another beautiful jewel in the Bingara crown, with the park offering picnic tables and a display of boulders collected from individual geological zones within the Gwydir region.
Plenty of horse riding trails
The Bingara region offers visitors the ideal blend of relaxation and events. Every January, the town hosts an annual race meeting, featuring fashions on the field and plenty of picnicking opportunities. In May, visitors and residents flock to the town for the Bingara Agricultural Show. The Show includes many of the events that make rural agriculture shows such a unique cultural offering, such as live entertainment, cattle showing and equestrian events.
Winter blues? No such thing in Bingara. Every June and July, the town hosts the Orange Festival. The festival includes a parade, street markets and cultural events. In December, the town celebrates the festive season with the Christmas Carnival. Shop at market stalls or have your photograph taken with Santa!
There are many nature hikes
Bingara is a town bursting at the seams with history
THE MYALL CREEK MEMORIAL
Visitors fascinated by the history of the region will undoubtedly be interested in the Myall Creek Memorial. In 1838, 28 unarmed Indigenous men, women and children were murdered by a group of convicts and stockmen. Seven of the men were hanged for their crime, which marked a milestone in Australia. A memorial has been established for this site, 28km from Bingara. Visitors can walk the trail and read about the dark history of the region. The trail is also well-loved by birdwatchers.
THE ROXY THEATRE
The Roxy Theatre was built in 1936 by three Greek immigrants. Beautifully restored, the site previously remained unused for 40 years and is Heritage-listed. When in Bingara, why not check out what is playing at the theatre? It remains a cinema and performing arts centre and can also be booked for functions.
It wouldn’t be a visit to Bingara without checking out the sites and attractions of Upper Bingara. As well as its beautiful scenery, Upper Bingara has considerable historical significance and is the perfect day trip location for visitors keen to learn more about the region’s gold-fossicking past. There is even an opportunity for visitors to fossick for gold themselves!
Another historic site for avid history buffs, the town’s Chinese cemetery is a Heritage-listed site dedicated to the approximately 500 Chinese who came to Upper Bingara to prospect for gold at the height of the rush.
Year-round, there is always something to do or see in Bingara or its surrounding areas. No matter the season, the beautiful scenery and regular events ensure that visitors to Bingara leave satisfied with their adventures!