We all need the occasional escape from the rush of Sydney’s bustling city life, a secluded weekend getaway where we can relax, unwind and recharge.
An easy (and particularly picturesque) three-and-a-half hour drive from Sydney is Mudgee, an idyllic town located in the Central West of New South Wales. The name of the town originates from the Wiradjuri word “Moothi”, which translates to “nest in the hills”. As the name suggests, Mudgee is the perfect retreat for anyone seeking rest and respite among sprawling hills covered with grazing cows and sheep, acres of vineyards, olive groves and fruit orchards.
Our out-of-towner’s guide to Mudgee will help you get the most out of your weekend retreat.
Where to drink
The Mudgee region’s rich and fertile soil is known to produce some of the best wine in Australia. You can spend hours visiting and tasting the tipples at the dozens of cellar doors open to the public such as Robert Oatley Vineyards Cellar Door.
Mudgee is also home to a number of vineyards proudly producing organic and sustainable wines. If you’re after wines free of a large number of chemicals and preservatives, then you can’t go past Lowe Wines, Broombee Organic Wines, Thistle Hill Wines, and Botobolar Wines. These wineries produce certified organic wines and not only do they taste good, but their organic production process means they’re better for the environment, and better for you.
But if an ice-cold beer is more to your taste, Mudgee’s on it. Mudgee Brewing Co.was established in 2007, and produces delicious beer. While all of the brewery’s signature beers are worth trying, the Mudgee Porter is highly recommended. The Porter’s rich chocolate and coffee undertones are perfect for warming you up during Mudgee’s cool nights.
Where to eat
Mudgee is the place to go if you’re looking for simple, hearty and moreish food made with quality ingredients sourced from local farmers.
Begin your morning with a wholesome breakfast at Market Street Café. A cup of coffee and a bacon and egg baguette will set you up for a day of sight seeing (and wine tasting).
And for lunch? Head to the aforementioned Mudgee Brewing Co because they’re also known for their hearty meals designed to accompany their quality beverages. Refuel with one of their lamb pies or burgers, and of course, a glass of beer. Follow it up with a slice of cake from the dessert list and a cup of tea. Go on, we won’t judge.
If you’ve still got room, you’re guaranteed a delicious Italian-style dinner at Isabella’s Italian Trattoria. You may need to do a few extra hours at the gym after all that eating, but trust us it’s worth it.
What to do
Mudgee is only a small country town, but it certainly has a lot to offer in the way of entertainment.
If shopping is your thing, then you’ll enjoy strolling down Mudgee’s main street, which is lined with a number of stores selling interesting knick-knacks and souvenirs.
Markets more up your alley? Time your trip to Mudgee to coincide with the town’s famous local markets, where you can taste and purchase some excellent local produce. Mudgee holds a Church market on the first Saturday of every month (excluding January) in the grounds of St John’s Anglican Church, and a farmer’s market on the third Saturday of every month in the grounds of St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church.
If you can’t make it to Mudgee in time for the markets, never fear. Many of Mudgee’s farms are open to members of the public, including Aril Estate, where you can buy tasty pomegranates, olive oil and syrups.
Also spend some time exploring and discovering hidden gems in some of Mudgee’s small neighbouring towns, like Kandos, Gulgong and Rylstone. Lue Pottery in Lue is a definite must-see. Husband-and-wife duo Des and Jan create stunning porcelain creations from natural materials sourced from surrounding local areas, and ship their products to countries including England, Belgium and Germany.
Where to stay
But if you’re looking for a truly refreshing and revitalising holiday, then it’s worth paying a little bit more for the tranquility and seclusion offered by a number of guest houses scattered throughout Mudgee. The Wombadah Guesthouse and Guesthouse Wildwood offer visitors the opportunity to reconnect with nature and stay in luxury accommodation.
Owl Head Lodge is a short 25-minute drive from Mudgee, and features a number of serene properties spread across a large expanse of lush acreage. Special mention must be made of the Glass Cottage, which has floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow you to enjoy Mudgee’s breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Enjoy the company of grazing cows and busy blue wrens during your morning cup of tea.
So what are you waiting for? Get packing.
Originally published by AWOL.