While planning our road trip in New South Wales, my friend Sofia and I, wanted to visit some wineries and were thinking between Hunter Valley, one of Australia's major wine regions and Mudgee, a small town northwest of Sydney with colonial style buildings and dozens of wineries. Hunter Valley over the years has become very commercial and attracts hoards of tourists, while Mudgee is still a much quieter town far from the hustle-bustle of large crowds. Since we wanted a more intimate countryside experience away from people, we chose Mudgee.
We drove from Sydney to Blue Mountains where we stopped over for the night, and then continued via Capertee Valley to Mudgee. In Mudgee, we connected with a local photographer Noel Dawson and his lovely wife Sharyn, who took us around to some of the well-known wineries and a couple of really nice scenic spots along the Cudgegong River. We also visited a Traveling Stock Reserve. We ended our trip in Mudgee with lunch at a cute side-walk cafe. Here is a brief synopsis of our trip and things to do in Mudgee:
1. First Ridge Wines
The first winery we visited was the First Ridge Wines. Located 10 kms from Mudgee on the Castlereagh Highway, the vineyard overlooks the beautiful Cudgegong river valley. The winery produces premium wine grapes for some of the best wineries in the country and their own wine called the First Ridge Label. There is an on-sight Cellar Door where visitors can taste wines and enjoy the picturesque views over the vineyard.
Opening hours : Weekdays 10am to 4pm; Weekends 10am to 5pm.
2. Logan Wines
Logan Wines was the second winery we visited. Also located on Castlereagh Highway in Mudgee, the Logan Tasting Room was awarded the Best Cellar Door Experience by Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2012. Made of glass with a bright welcoming interior and stunning views over the vineyard, the tasting room also serves delicious coffee and cake.
Opening hours: Seven days a week, 10am to 5pm.
3. Traveling Stock Reserve
Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) are parcels of Crown land and have been an integral part of rural life in Australia for nearly 200 years; where graziers could rest, feed and water their animals. Many are protected remnants of woodland vegetation and a haven for birds and animals. TSRs are also used for recreational activities like bushwalking, fishing, bird watching, horse riding, swimming, picnicking and cycling. Motorbikes, 4WD and hunting are prohibited. Some sites may permit camping but check with your Local Land Services first.
TSR #21 in Mudgee is quite a sanctuary. It is located 12 kms on the road to Gulgong, on the right hand side, just after Lesters Lane and before Belinfante Bridge. Instead of turning right on the crest, it’s safer to go on and then turn back to enter. We came here to take some sunrise pictures of rural farmland.
4. Cudgegong River
Cudgegong River is a perennial stream that is part of the Macquarie catchment. It flows past the town of Mudgee and there are several scenic spots along the river for picnicking and swimming.
5. Lawson Park
Lawson Park in Mudgee provides a children's playground, free electric barbecues, tables and chairs and a covered picnic area. It is located on the banks of Cudgegong River and is crossed by a bike path. Every second Saturday of the month, there is a Lawson Park Market held in the park by the river from 8am-1pm. The market sells locally grown produce, freshly made breads and cheeses, olive oil, handmade textiles, arts and crafts, jewellery, books, clothes and other knick-knacks.