September 3, 2018 / By Shelley Ann Morgan
Historical Wollombi village is just under two hours drive from Sydney, or a little longer if you take the scenic route on Tourist Drive 33. This postcard-perfect village with its 19th-century sandstone buildings, timber slab and corrugated iron roof cottages is not one to be missed. What better way to experience this village than when it comes alive for the busy and exciting Wollombi Markets.
Wollombi Markets attract thousands to this usually quiet and peaceful town every long weekend Monday holiday. The town also has a not-for-profit village market, held on the second Sunday of each month, with boutique style stalls and an intimate atmosphere. The Wollombi Markets are located adjacent to the Wollombi Tavern and are held in the cattle sales yard, which not only highlights its walking distance to every place in the town but also its rural significance.
Have an evening walk and spy on the markets in setup mode as the night before the exciting atmosphere begins, cars journey into the village, some stalls begin to be set up during the night, and some just need a finishing touch. By morning, you’ll be surprised by just how quickly the space transforms into an organised event and are already brimming with people. There are over 100 colourful stalls well-stocked with plants, crafts, food produce, clothes and accessories, jewellery, tools and bric-a-brac. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique gift or something special for yourself.
Begin the trip to Wollombi via a scenic drive on Tourist Drive 33, which follows parts of the Great North Road (also known as the Convict Trail), a historic road that was convict built in 1836, which still connects Sydney to the Hunter. Feel relaxed as you pass scenic surrounds and catch a glimpse of the farm animals that graze on acres of grassy paddocks.
One of the most appealing aspects of this town besides its rural and historical significance is the proximity of each place within the village. It contains a variety of places to eat, drink and stay, all within a five-minute walking distance. Wollombi village has a wonderful selection of accommodation options which include: Gray’s Inn, a wine connoisseurs delight with a touch of style, Myrtle House Cottage, central to all the action and Wollombi Tavern with its log style cabin, is adjacent the market. If you’re on a budget, Wollombi Tavern provides free camping too!
At the end of your market adventure and given that you’re in the Hunter Valley, you might like to visit Wollombi Wines with its beautiful vineyard and wine tasting room. This seemingly isolated vineyard is only a few minutes out of town and is in one of the most peaceful and picturesque settings. If wine isn’t your thing, you may just want to end the day in the village and enjoy a la carte or al fresco dining at Grays Inn, a quintessential Aussie pub experience at Wollombi Tavern, or a café meal from Myrtle House. If you need to escape the heat of the outdoors market, head to Harp of Erin Gallery Café, which provides not only an air-conditioned café and gallery but this quaint building retains much of its 19th-century history and charm. It’s a lovely place to cool down and savour refreshments and some of the best gelato around. While you sit back and relax - admire your new market purchases, and absorb Wollombi’s historical surrounds!
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