By Nicole West
September 11, 2020 | 4 minute read
No doubt you're itching to get out and about again? Even if you can't just yet, this is the perfect time to plan ahead for an exciting getaway exploring country NSW. Less than a four-hour drive from Sydney, the Mudgee region is a wine lover’s dream on the banks of the Cudgegong River. Let your taste buds run wild as you check out the food and wine treats that await. Add to this rolling hills, historical towns, wilderness trails and adventures to dive into, and you might just realise that a weekend is not enough.
* At the time of writing, the activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Step back in time
Meandering around the township of Mudgee cocoons you in old world charm. Established in 1838, it grew around historic gold rushes and grapevines planted as early as 1858. In fact, the Roths from Germany were among the first producers and you can still visit Roth’s Wine Bar, which is the oldest one operating in NSW today.
Leafy streets host photogenic colonial buildings, so go on your own heritage trail to check out the Mudgee Post Office, St Mary’s Catholic Church and the railway station. This is the birthplace of Aussie poet, Henry Lawson, and the region has always attracted resident artists to add to the charming vibe. As you explore, look out for quirky boutiques with unique gifts.
A short drive away are more heritage-listed buildings, gold rush history and charming towns. Gulgong offers no less than 130 National Trust-listed buildings, including the country’s oldest operating opera house. Rylstone’s main street looks like a colonial movie set, with its own heritage walk and quirky pubs for a beer. Take a drive along the stunning Bylong Valley Way to stop in at the artistic village of Kandos.
More than 40 cellar doors decorate the stunning countryside in Mudgee, so get ready to swirl and sip to your heart’s content. The best thing is, many of the vineyards are within cycling distance of each other. Here’s a little taste of the star-studded lineup.
It’s all about ‘enjoying great wines with friends’ at Burnbrae Wines. Husband and wife duo, Andy and Trine, have transformed the family vineyard with an enchanting cellar door and award-winning drops. Pop in to taste your way through the delicious range, paired with homemade antipasto platters. If you’re visiting on the weekend, take advantage of Lazy Pizza Sunday and chill out on the sunny lawns.
Innovative techniques and small-batch winemaking characterise Lowe Wines. Enjoy certified organic Shiraz or Chardonnay on the Tinja property, with sweeping views across the vineyards. If you want to stock up for countryside picnics, you’ll find delicious dips, cheeses, olives and fresh produce at the onsite Food Store.
Lovely Brambletye Vineyard is home to Slowfox Wines, where the team handpick the fruit for a variety of award-winning labels. The cellar door is open each weekend, with a children’s play area and a big welcome for your furry friend too. Don’t miss out on tasting the Malbec and the bold Tempranillo.
Get into nature
Pack your binoculars to get an up-close look at gorgeous waterbirds at Putta Bucca Wetlands
. It’s located just north of Mudgee, with an easy car park and a two-kilometre walk to the recreation area. Ferntree Gully boasts fairytale rainforest scenes, with orchids, rock formations and valley views across a range of walks. Just make sure you wear good walking shoes for some rocky ups and downs!
A night out
Along with elegant vineyard restaurants, Mudgee offers feasts in the form of cosy cafes, scrumptious pub grub and international goodies. To splash out on fine dining, head to Pipeclay Pumphouse
at Robert Stein Vineyard. Eltons brings the wine, beer on tap and share plates with a trendy vibe. For that friendly, unpretentious country feel with bistro food and a beer garden, spend an afternoon and evening at the Court House Hotel
Top off your night with a stargazing adventure at Mudgee Observatory, which is just a 15-minute drive outside of the town centre. With telescopes, binoculars and a theatre, the night sky opens up for you to explore after a day of wine-tasting, nature walks and history-hopping in this fabulous foodie region.
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