Destinations

A Weekend Escape In Mudgee: Part One

Hannah Edensor

While Mudgee once slipped under the radar, quietly doing its thing in the background of NSW, today, the region is no wallflower. Instead, the quirky, contemporary luminary sees hoards of Sydneysiders and beyond flocking to the town every other weekend, plus a few extra nights if they’re lucky.

The reason? Geez, if we gave you them all we’d be here for days. But in a nutshell, Mudgee’s top attractive qualities include gourmet food, delectable wine, a calming countryside and boutique accommodation.

A recent long weekend in the Mudgee Region by yours truly left us gobsmacked that this gem of a destination had been hiding right under our noses and we’d never thought to explore it. But explore it we did, and that’s exactly what you need to do as well.

In this two part series, we explain to you exactly why the Mudgee Region should be high on the list for any traveller looking for the ideal country getaway.

Friday

Mudgee is around 3.5 hours drive from Sydney, and that’s a leisurely drive too. Cross the Blue Mountains and cruise on into the gorgeous countryside, but if you want to make good time and avoid the afternoon traffic, we recommend hitting the road mid-morning.

Before you reach Mudgee town, stop in at Logan Wines on the outskirts of town for a cheeky tasting and cheese platter. We were spoiled by cellar master James, who gave us the great gift of cheese, local honeycomb and of course, wine.

 

Logan Wines is a family business, with many of the wines named after owner Peter. The Hannah rosé was an especially sweet story, with Peter crafting it in secret in the lead up to his wedding to surprise his soon-to-be wife Hannah, who’s favourite wine was rosé.

We left with a bottle of the delicious Clementine, a truly orange wine and the result of fermenting the pinot gris grapes on their own skins, named after Peter and Hannah’s daughter.

Next stop is Mudgee itself, where we were in awe of the quaint country vibes the streets and stores possess. The man who designed the town also played a hand in designing the streets of Melbourne, so it possesses a similar grid-like structure. We drove out the other side of Mudgee to our farmhouse home for the weekend. Blue Wren Winery is renowned for its fabulous events space, which we sussed out on arrival, the ceiling decadently draped with flowers.

Blue Wren is soft launching its farmhouse as accommodation, no doubt perfect for blushing bridal parties on the big day, but this weekend we had it all to ourselves. Manager Paul escorted us up to the house, which had its own driveway off the main winery entrance and was lined with towering trees.

 

Inside was everything from a self-contained kitchen, desks for corporate meetings, five modern bedrooms including one with an ensuite, and a heated pool out the back. The property does a degustation dinner too, brimming with locally sourced produce.

Friday nights are perfect for settling into the local town, and what better way to experience it than at the Mudgee Brewing Co. With their very own beers brewed on site – and all the equipment on display for you to admire – live and local musicians livening the mood, and one hell of a good steak, it’s a great way to ease into Mudgee life before hitting the hay.

Saturday

We awoke rested after a night in the plush Blue Wren beds, just in time for brekkie at Pipeclay Pumphouse. TripAdvisor ranks this venue as the number one dining experience, and you’ll feel the same after a visit. True to its paddock to plate philosophy, the restaurant served up eggs from a farmer down the road, locally sourced mushrooms and mouth-watering spiced chorizo made from the pigs grazing in the property pastures.

In our breakfast food coma, we wandered over to the adjoining vineyard of Robert Stein, another family business where chardonnay is at its finest.

The winery’s marketing guru Russell not only pulled out all the stops in his detailed wine tasting, but even took us for a walking tour of the vineyard where we met the Stein family, hard at work planting a brand-new field of grapes that will come to fruition in the years to come. There are few wineries in Australia run by a third generation of winemakers, but Robert Stein is one of them.

Before lunch you’ve got just enough time to squeeze in another winery, and on our trip we made that Huntington Estate, a cosy vineyard where owner of the winery, Tim, met us on arrival before taking us to a rustic tasting room separate from the cellar door.

Decorated in a simple fashion, a long table covered in wine bottles that glittered with gold award stars was the main attraction, alongside a generous cheese platter. We sampled some of the delightful flavours, including a basket dried Shiraz and even an old Port – which we bought on the way out – that only improves with time and has a real vintage kick to it.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two of a Weekend in Mudgee, to find out where the great wine alcoves are, what food packs a punch and where to stop on the drive home to Sydney.



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