“Mudgee, oh yes I’ve been there it’s such a charming town you might think that you’re in country Victoria!”
I once overheard this comment and well it has to be said, Mudgee is a very lovely place. I’m lucky enough to be a regular visitor as this is where my parents live.
With international travel on hold and government restrictions keeping us within state catchments the nether regions of New South Wales are finally being well and truly explored. And so it seems, the secret of Mudgee is out! I love the place and I want you to also, so I’m going to share what I do & where I go when with my family whiling away a couple days.
Although Mudgee is a great place to go on a drinking fest …or should I say a wine tasting adventure with your adult friends, it also very much welcomes the whole family.
Be prepared! Mudgee is around a 3 – 4 hr drive from Sydney heading north west. Stunning scenery unravels before you as the road becomes less populated until it’s just you & the odd Ute or animal playing roulette with its life! Yes, do keep an eye out.
We prefer to take the Bells Line of Road across the Blue Mountains, stopping to stretch the legs & enjoy a cheeky pie or coffee in Bilpin or at one of the few apple orchards. The Great Western Highway also offers glorious little stop offs like Leura, Katoomba or Blackheath. Either way takes a similar time & both route you through Lithgow.
We usually end up arriving in Mudgee around cocktail hour. On a Friday eve we might decide to join the locals & have dinner at one of the towns many pubs. Our pick is The Red Heifer at Lawson Park (you will need to book a table). We don’t just like it for the enormous steaks & huge scrumptious desserts but in the name of keeping everyone happy, it also has a kids’ outdoor ‘speedboat’ play area. Whilst your kids make new friends you might too.
It’s Saturday morning and I’m slipping out for an hour of me time at Mudgee Moves for a yoga class. Yup – I’ve booked in and nothing is going to keep me from a little bit of self-care. Mudgee Yoga Centre is also a winner.
After class I am feeling blissed out & I stroll into the Saturday buzz to meet the gang for a well-earned brunch at Alby & Esthers. I find them sitting in a sun-dappled courtyard relaxing with the papers. Chilled music & the hum of morning banter adds to the ambience of this delightful cafe.
After brunch we take a stroll down Market & Church Streets to take in the old-world charm & of course to support the local economy by shopping in some very tempting boutiques & gift shops!
You can almost imagine Cowboys horses tethered outside some of the historical buildings. In fact, we hear clip clopping & are passed by a group of people on a town & vineyard tour with Hoofbeats Carriage Rides. We are tempted to book in but want to get to the farmers market before it closes at 12.30pm.
The Farmers’ Market is on every 3rd Saturday of the month. Luckily for us we are bang on! We head to Robertson Park where the market stalls are set up in a circle around a bandstand surrounded by roses, trees and lawn. We do a lap and leave with local honey, olive oil, pickles, breads, jams and let’s not forget the fabulous cheeses from High Valley Cheese. You might imagine we’re going to have lunch at home but oh no we are going to jump on our hired bikes and peddle out of town to Lowe’s Vineyard. Here we will laze away the afternoon over a cured meat & cheese board together with a drop Lowe’s fine organic & oh so refreshing bottle of rosé. The kids love it here, they can play boules or simply run around exploring – there are donkeys, chooks, vegetable gardens, vines & a dam to see. We love it here as you are actually ‘in’ the countryside. The food and wine taste exceptional in this open air under a glorious blue sky!
What a day. With the sky so blue and sunny we decide to cycle on to more vineyards. Next stop Craigmoor. This is Mudgee’s oldest winery & vineyard. It’s also home to a great museum so bolster your wine & regional knowledge here. If that doesn’t float the boats of the little folk, have a run on the cricket oval or wander down to the creek. Following Craigmoor, duck into Van Gents for some Harry Potter feels … you’ll see what I mean.
Now we’ve got the museum itch one of us wants to head out to Robert Steins Vineyard to see the Motorcycle Museum. Its small, but well worth a visit for any aspiring rev-head in the family. Another good reason to go to Robert Stein‘s Vineyard is to dine at the highly regarded Pipeclay Pumphouse Restaurant. Open both lunch & dinner. I’ve been fortunate enough to partake in the degustation menu & let me tell you it’s well worth fasting beforehand! They focus, of course, on locally sourced faire. The cured meats being produced on this very farm. You can’t get more local than that! This is somewhere that I would recommend for evening if it’s going to be adults only. Book in time for a sundowner & enjoy the vista over the dam with its quirky sculptures. Kids can join you by all means & if boredom strikes they can go exploring outside where more than like they can count the roos in amongst the vines.
Our day is drawing to a close and we are heading home for a simple supper and a board game. Sunday tomorrow and the kids are desperate to go to town pool for a dip. Nothing like relaxing poolside with the shrill yelps of excited kids on the high diving board & the crackle of a not quite tuned radio playing tunes from the ’80’s… in the chill of early spring! We make a promise to take them another time. How about the skate park?