To celebrate regional Australia, we’re running a 3-part series on the Mudgee region. A far cry from sleepy country towns this region boasts of art, culture, food and wine making it – Sydney’s cool cousin.
You might have heard of Mudgee thanks to the X-factor finalists this year who put the region on the map, but the regional town has more to offer than the three harmony singing brothers.
When arriving in Mudgee it’s hard to believe it’s only a 3.5 hour drive from central Sydney. The air is much dryer, almost like the Mediterranean (you will even find olive trees) and the nature is truly breathtaking. It’s not difficult to understand why there are so many people who grew up in Mudgee then left for other corners of the world but later in life decided to return.
The Mudgee region which is made up of four towns, Mudgee, Gulgong, Kandos and Rylstone, boasts of more than 40 cellar doors, making it one of NSW’s oldest and largest wine regions with the first vines planted in the 1850s. However wine aside, there’s a lot more to discover when visiting Mudgee and we’ve cherry-picked 6 highlights not to be missed if you decide to get the akubra hat on and hit the road.
1. Lawson Park Markets
There are markets, markets and more markets in Mudgee and every 2nd Saturday of the month the Lawson Park in Mudgee town hosts a wide array of stalls offering everything from handmade soaps, clothes and goats (!). It’s worth mentioning that because of Mudgee’s high altitude (1,490 ft) the sun is rather strong so it’s a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses if you are planning to stroll around for a few hours.
It’s not just in the capital cities where you can cosy up with a blanket and popcorn under a star filled sky. The Mudgee Short Film Festival – Mudfest, started in 2004 by founders, Mike O’Malley, Peter Scott, Philip Van Gent and Sean Wolfson who were keen to put Mudgee on the map and increase the number of visitors to region. 10 years on the Mudfest has taken off and is now a well-known event amongst Sydneysiders and people nationwide.
Festival Directors Tip: Don’t forget to bring a rug or seat, and bring something warm in case it gets cool later in the evening.
MudFest 2015 ‘Fast facts’
- Information on MudFest and tickets are available at www.mudfest.com.au
- In 2015 MudFest screens on Saturday March 21st.
- The venue is Bunnamagoo Estate Wines; Henry Lawson Drive, Mudgee.
- MudFest tickets cost $30pp and this includes live pre-screening musical entertainment.
- All MudFest entries shown are maximum 15 mins. long and rated MA 15+.
- Gates open and live music from 5pm.
- Food is available for purchase or bring a picnic.
- NO BYO alcohol allowed.
- The Mudgee Region in Central NSW is a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney.
It’s not just your taste-buds who are in for a treat when visiting the region, shopaholics will be in nirvana, and yes you do need that cute bathrobe and those Hunter wellies, promise! Make sure you bring your credit card since you will be in for some serious retail therapy in Mudgee. Whether you are looking to explore quirky home-ware stores, shoe shops or pick up the latest Australian fashion labels, the streets of Mudgee town has something for everyone and every budget. A few of our favourite shops are;
4. Rylstone Olive Press – Olive tasting
There’s olive oil and there’s great extra olive oil and at Rylstone Olive Press you will quickly realise the difference after sipping (yes you sip and swirl the olive oil around in your mouth in a similar manner as wine tasting) any of Rylstone’s international award-winning olive oils. The Rylstone olive oil is locally produced and with a selection of both delicate and robust oils our favourites are Murry Darling which won Gold in Los Angeles and Cudgegong which picked up the award ‘Best of Class’ at New York International Olive Oil Competition in 2013. If you visit Rylstone Olive Press make sure you pick up a couple of bottles of these amazing olive oils – it will change your cooking forever!
For more information visit Rylstone Olive Press’s website – www.rylstoneolivepress.com.au
5. Sculptures in the Garden – @rosbywines, @rosbymudgee
The Mudgee region is full of artistic expressions and wherever you look there are beautiful sculptures and artwork. One place where you can check out the work by large-scale Australian sculpture and traditional art mediums is ‘Scultpures in the Garden’ which is a private garden exhibiting various artwork. The garden also features plants and local produce from local businesses. This is a great day event for both families, couples or anyone who is interested in art.
For more information visit Sculptures in the Garden’s website – www.sculpturesinthegarden.com.au.
6. Parklands Resort & Conference Centre
If you are travelling with kids this is a great accommodation option. Situated just outside the town centre, Parkland Resorts offers a magnificent view of mountains and endless fields. When staying here you are surrounded by beautiful nature, a rich bird life (yes they can be a little noisy), paddocks with horses and friendly staff. The Resort also offers great dining options and a great bonus is the coffee which is close to a 10/10.
To book your accommodation visit Parklands Resort & Conference Centre’s website – www.parklandsresort.com.au
Make sure you keep an eye out for our part 2 and 3 in the Mudgee series!
What are your favourite Mudgee travel tips?
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