The area around the Glen Innes district is renowned for it’s strange and unique rock formations. The 'Balancing Rock' is a large pear-shaped granite boulder that is four metres high and 2.5 metres in diameter. It balances precariously on a 30 centimetre point amidst a rock forest of other unusual formations. It is on private property but it can be viewed in the paddock back from the highway. To view the rock simply pull over at the 'Balancing Rock' sign.
Located on the New England Highway, 13 kilometres south of the Glen Innes Information Centre (2.5 kilometres south of Rileys Road) and 48 kilometres north of LLangothin (1.5 kilometres north of Grahams Valley Road, on the eastern side of the highway. If you are travelling from the south you will have to park on the eastern side of the highway.
Beardy Waters is a river, which flows east past the township of Glen Innes. The name of the river is derived from two bearded stockmen who were among the first European settlers of the district. A weir was constructed across Beardy Waters to form a dam. This weir was commenced in October 1930 and completed in July 1932. The dam has a capacity of 100 million imperial gallons when the flood gates are closed. There are good views of the dam on both sides of the Shannonvale Road Bridge.There is plenty of bird life and it is a popular fishing spot for trout and redfin.
Turn east off the New England Highway at Glen Innes, 200 metres south of the turnoff to Inverell and Emmaville (Gwydir Hwy) and 80 metres north of the Information Centre, at the roundabout onto the Gwydir Highway towards Grafton. Travel 1.5 kilometres then turn right at the top of the hill onto Shannon Vale Road. Travel for 2 kilometres and you will see the dam. Parking is available on the eastern side of the bridge. You can walk upstream to the weir from the car park.
While Glen Innes is renowned for its high quality blue sapphire, there is a wealth of other gems and minerals found in the area such as topaz, quartz, zircon, garnet and beryl, in numerous fossicking areas.
Equipment and advice is available from local outlets such as Gem Hunter's Haven on the Highway, Crystal Cottage at 155 Church Street, and Reddestone Sapphires on the highway. They are open seven days from 8.00am-5.00pm or call into the Information Centre in Church Street (New England Highway) for more details.
The Heritage Walk explores Grey Street, between Ferguson and Wentworth Streets, and on to Meade and Bourke Streets, which are all on the western side of the New England Highway. The walk begins at the corner of Grey Street and Ferguson Street. A brochure, available from the Information Centre, covers the buildings erected between 1860 and 1930. Where possible the buildings have been repainted in their original 19th-century colours with complementary lamp-style street lighting. Call into the Information Centre in Church Street (New England Highway) and pick up your Heritage Walk brochure.
Unique to Glen Innes is the colourfully named Land of the Beardies History House and Research Centre which traces the first settlers who began arriving in the 1838. It is a quality folk museum which was originally the towns first hospital (1875) and one of the largest in New South Wales. It is set in extensive grounds which include a reconstructed slab hut. The museum has a fine collection of 19th-century relics. The whole is set out to demonstrate the material culture of the colonial era.
Turn west off the New England Highway, 300 metres north of the Information Centre, onto the Gwydir Highway (signposted to Inverell and Emmaville). Travel 550 metres and the 'Land of the Beardies History House' is on the right on the corner of the Gwydir Highway and West Avenue.
The Standing Stones, which are situated in Centennial Parklands, were erected as a tribute to the Celtic peoples who contributed to the development of Australia and who were important in the early European history of the district. The site comprises 40 giant granite rocks, some of which weigh over 30 tonnes. A circle of 24, representing the 24 hours of the day are positioned in a circle, making it functional as a seasonal clock, calendar and compass. It has been given a distinctively Australian flavour, with the Southern Cross superimposed on the design.
Turn east off the New England Highway at Glen Innes, 200 metres south of the turnoff to Inverell and Emmaville (Gwydir Hwy) and 80 metres north of the Information Centre, at the roundabout onto the Gwydir Highway towards Grafton. Travel 1.3 kilometres then turn right onto Watsons Drive. The Standing Stones are 350 metres on the right. If you continue along Watsons Drive, passed the Standing Stones, you will come to Martins Lookout where there are great views across the countryside and overlooking the township of Glen Innes. Do not take a caravan past the Standing Stones because there is nowhere to turn around.