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Armidale is a great place to base yourself for exploring the many national parks in the region. New England National Park is probably the jewel in the crown. There are also many waterfalls/gorges in the area - Apsley Falls, Tia Falls, Wollomombi Falls (one of the highest in Australia), Ebor Falls, Dangars Falls (or Dangars Gorge) to name a few.
Armidale itself is a pretty small city, much quieter now that it has been bypassed. It is especially stunning in the autumn when the deciduous trees present a rainbow of colours. It is somewhat more cosmopolitan and worldy than could be expected from a rural city, due to the diverse population, especially students from the university.
Said university (UNE - Armidale) is well worth a drive around.