Wonderful wineries, creative cheeseries, comfortable coffee shops, restful restaurants, and harmonious heritage buildings all make up the mid-western NSW town of Mudgee. About three-to-four hours north-west of Sydney, Mudgee is a thriving country town and first impressions count for much. A drive through the CBD reveals some of the character of the town, especially as it seems to have resisted the construction of a major shopping mall, thus retaining many signs of life along the main streets.
Many visitors like the older historic buildings that are prolific around the town. Private houses, churches, pubs, banks, the post office, and the Town Hall are all terrific examples of what can be seen and there is plenty of fine sandstone and cast iron lattice work to be appreciated. Keen photographers will have a field day but choose the time for the best results: early morning or late afternoon giving the best light.
Favourite among older buildings is the magnificent railway station, a fine example of Victorian architecture, these days used as a restaurant and bar. It’s quite easy to quench your thirst on the platform whilst having a look around. Naturally, there is a museum or two, and the Colonial Inn Museum is worth investigating.
St Mary’s Catholic church and the four-faced clock tower commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2
A WINE TASTING OR THREE
In some ways, the wineries of Mudgee are overshadowed by those of the Hunter Valley at the northern end of the Sydney basin. However, there are over 35 cellar doors in the Mudgee region, all offering a great selection of shiraz, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon red wines, along with some crisp white wines in the form of chardonnays, rieslings, and sauvignon blancs. A little historical note here: just like the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the wineries in Mudgee were started by German immigrants. Recommendation include First Ridge Wines, especially for the view, Moothi Estate, and Gilbert Family Wines. It’s not difficult to spend a few days just wine tasting and nothing else.
A BIT CHEESY
Something that goes very nicely with wine tasting is a bit of cheese and a few savoury biscuits. Some of the wineries offer a selection of cheeses, of course, but there are places like the High Valley Cheese Co. that are more dedicated. Not just any cheese, but a fine, mouth-watering selection of fetta, brie, chedder, and blue, all made locally and just waiting to be tasted. Visitors will need to have time in hand to try them all, but there’s probably something for everyone and most motorhome fridges will be a little bit fuller by the time tyres hit the road again.
Wine, wine tasting, and cheese platters – with time enough to tarry a while
TAKE A WALK
The local visitor centre in Mudgee has developed a 2.8km walking tour around the town that takes in some of the central sights. With a focus on some of the town’s buildings, it takes in, among others, the classic revival stuccoed-brick post office, the former CBC Bank building that opened in 1884, the neo classic Town Hall, the art deco 1930s picture theatre and the Gothic revival Roman Catholic Church. If nothing else, it will give an appreciation for building styles that have long gone and offer a crash course in architectural terms.
For the RV traveller – and even those who aren’t – Mudgee has at least three caravan parks. Mudgee Riverside Caravan and Tourist Park is very close to the CBD – handy if you don’t want to drive around. The BIG4 group has a presence in the form of the Ingenia Holidays Mudgee Holiday Park, and then keeping it in the family is the third option: the Ingenia Holidays Mudgee Valley, which offers both cabins and RV sites. It shouldn’t be too hard to find somewhere to stay in Mudgee.
Archetypal Aussie accommodation: the country pub, or cabins in a park on the edge of town
It’s not just the town that’s waiting to be explored by the keen traveller – there are plenty of surrounding towns as well.
Kandos, once the home to the largest cement works in the southern hemisphere, has a great museum and also boasts a local craftsman who produces some unique furniture.
Rylstone is one of the oldest settlements west of the Great Dividing Range, and has some fine old sandstone buildings as a result.
Gulgong, once known as the town on the ten dollar note, has a fine history related to Henry Lawson who lived there for some years. It also boasts the Pioneer’s Museum, which has a range of photos dating back to the 1872 gold rush.
The art deco Regent Theatre opened in 1935 and was licenced to accommodate 986 people
SWIMMING OR FISHING
About 40km south-east of Mudgee is the Windamere Dam. Built mainly for irrigation and domestic water needs, it doubles up by offering all kinds of water sports like swimming, canoeing, skiing, and sailing, and also recreation for the keen fisher. The lake is well-stocked with golden perch, Murray cod, silver perch and catfish.
If you fancy staying near the water, the Cudgegong Waters Park offers cabins, campsites, on-site caravans, a boat ramp to the lake, and a fine view of the water.
Dating from the 1920s, the former State Bank building is now listed on the National Trust
For anyone interested in railway history, Mudgee was on the Gwabegar line which ran from Wallerawang, west of the Blue Mountains to Gwabegar, passing through places like Kandos, Rylstone and Gulgong. Much of it is closed down now but, just like the former Lue railway station, there’s still plenty of infrastructure remaining which can, with a bit of care, be explored easily enough.
Tags: CMCA Campervan and Motorhome Club Camper Camping Caravan Motorhome RV Travel Regional NSW New South Wales Wine Food Town Country Vineyard Hunter Valley Mudgee Cheese Regent Theatre Windamere Dam Cudgegong Waters Park Gulgong Central West Cudgegong River Valley
Written: Mon 01 Oct 2018
Printed: October, 2018
WINERIES AND CHEESE TASTING
FIRST RIDGE WINES
577 Burrundulla Road, Burrundulla NSW 2850
Ph: 0418 161 132 Web: www.firstridge.com.au
85 Rocky Waterhole Road, Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 2925 Web: www.moothiestate.com.au
THE CELLAR BY GILBERT
137 Ulan Road, Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 1325 Web: www.gilbertfamilywines.com.au
HIGH VALLEY MUDGEE CHEESE CO
137 Cassilis Road, Bombira NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 1011 Web: www.highvalley.com.au
INGENIA HOLIDAYS MUDGEE VALLEY
Bell Street, Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 1236 Web: www.ingeniaholidays.com.au/mudgee-valley
INGENIA HOLIDAYS MUDGEE
71 Lions Drive, Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 1090 Web: www.ingeniaholidays.com.au/mudgee
MUDGEE RIVERSIDE CARAVAN AND TOURIST PARK
22 Short Street, Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 2531 Web: www.mudgeeriverside.com.au
CUDGEGONG WATERS PARK
Cudgegong NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6358 8462 Web: www.cudgegongwatersparkwindameredam.com