Is this California? France? Italy? I hear you say? No, this is Mudgee, NSW. It should come as no surprise that the main things to do in Mudgee revolve around food and wine as this is prime wine growing country, only 3.5 hours drive from Sydney.
The name Mudgee derives from the Wiradjuri term moothi, meaning ‘nest in the hills’.
The region is made up of four towns – Mudgee, Gulgong, Kandos and Rylstone, has more than 40 cellar doors and is one of NSW’s oldest and largest wine regions, with the first vines planted in the 1850s.
The Mudgee Region is home to the first organically certified vineyard, as well as Australian chardonnay.
- How to get to Mudgee
- Weather in Mudgee
- Things to do in Mudgee
- 1- Tour the wineries
- 2- Sample delicious food
- 3- Ride the Mudgee Miniature Railway
- 4- Drink beer at the Mudgee Brewing Company
- 5- Taste Butterscotch Schnapps at Baker Williams Distillery
- 6- Go on a balloon flight
- 7- Visit a farm
- 8- Shop in a market
- 9- Visit Robert Stein’s Motorcycle Museum
- 10- Visit the Colonial Inn Museum
- Mudgee Restaurants
- Mudgee Wineries
- Day trips from Mudgee
- Mudgee Accommodation
How to get to Mudgee
If you’re spending time in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong or Canberra, Mudgee is only a few hours away.
Sydney to Mudgee is 3.5 hours along the Great Western Highway and a beautiful road trip through the gorgeous Blue Mountains. Another route is the Bells Line of Road to Lithgow.
Newcastle to Mudgee is a four-hour drive along the Bylong Valley Way through Maitland.
Wollongong to Mudgee is a four-hour drive on the Great Western Highway and Castlereagh Highway.
It doesn’t matter which route you take to Mudgee, there’s plenty to see along the way.
Weather in Mudgee
Any time of the year is a good time to visit the Mudgee region but October or November, when the wisteria, lavender and irises turn the area into a bucolic Renoir painting is my favourite.
Mudgee magic indeed…
Things to do in Mudgee
1- Tour the wineries
Mudgee is a small wine region with winemakers who are passionate about their craft and a tour of the wineries in Mudgee is a pleasant way to spend a few days.
With more than 40 cellar doors, there’s plenty to keep you focused on your wine tasting mission.
See our Mudgee wineries section for recommendations.
2- Sample delicious food
Along with wine, food is a focus in Mudgee and there are several excellent restaurants run by creative and passionate chefs.
Fresh produce is readily available in the region and there’s a creative culinary flair that you will discover as you eat your way around Mudgee’s restaurants.
See our Mudgee restaurants section for restaurants in Mudgee you shouldn’t miss.
3- Ride the Mudgee Miniature Railway
If you’re visiting Mudgee with the family, riding the Mudgee Miniature Railway is a fun thing to do.
Train rides are on the second Sunday of each month (10 am to 2 pm).
4- Drink beer at the Mudgee Brewing Company
For a change, head to boutique micro-brewery Mudgee Brewing Company to taste locally brewed beer and enjoy a meal.
Mudgee Brewing is at 4 Church Street, Mudgee.
5- Taste Butterscotch Schnapps at Baker Williams Distillery
Located at Vinifera Wines cellar door, Baker Williams Distillery is a micro-distillery that produces a range of liqueurs and spirits such as Wheat Vodka, cafe liqueur and Butterscotch Schnapps.
Baker Williams Distillery is at 194 Henry Lawson Drive, Bombira.
6- Go on a balloon flight
A one-hour balloon flight over the Mudgee region followed by a decadent champagne breakfast is a lovely treat.
Balloon flights are once a month and usually on the first Saturday.
7- Visit a farm
Ride a horse, cuddle a lamb or feed the cows at Ba Mack Farmstay. As Mudgee is surrounded by farms, visiting one is a perfect thing to do to get into the spirit of the region.
Also, on the third Sunday of each month, there are farmgate guided tours available via the Mudgee information centre.
8- Shop in a market
Country markets are delightful to explore and Mudgee has a few to put on your list. Whether it’s shopping for local produce or a souvenir to take home, Mudgee’s country markets are an attraction not to be missed.
1st Saturday of the month
Church Markets is on from 9 am to 1 pm at St John’s Anglican Church (Cnr Church & Market Streets, Mudgee).
2nd Saturday of the month
Lawson Park Markets from 8 am to 1 pm at the Corner of Church and Short Streets, Mudgee.
Rylstone Artisan + Produce Markets from 8 am to 1 pm at Rylstone Community Hall, Rylstone.
3rd Saturday of the month
Mudgee Farmers Markets from 830 am at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Cnr Market & Church Streets, Mudgee.
9- Visit Robert Stein’s Motorcycle Museum
Motorcycle fans will definitely want to see the Robert Stein Vintage Motorbike collection while visiting the winery to taste the Motorbike Collection wine range.
The collection has some rare items and fascinating photographs.
Robert Stein’s Motorcycle Museum is open daily and free to visit.
10- Visit the Colonial Inn Museum
Take a step back into history at the Colonial Inn Museum, which is run by the Mudgee Historical Society Inc. and has a collection of historical items on display.
The 19th and 20th century is heavily featured and if you know your Australian history, you’ll be delighted to see many original items that were made in Australia.
With around 60,000 items displayed throughout a number of old buildings, including a 19th-century hotel and a 20th-century church, this is a museum worth visiting.
Mudgee is a destination for foodies and restaurants in Mudgee dish up a delicious cornucopia of tastes. Food in Mudgee is fresh and full of flavour. Here are some top Mudgee restaurants to put on your to-visit list.
By Maria Visconti
1- Pipeclay Pumphouse
The champagne breakfast at the Pipeclay Pumphouse is stunning: perfectly poached eggs that squirt their silky goodness on field mushrooms when pierced; sourdough toast that comes in thick tranches.
The bubbles are perfect and if Jacob Stein were not a first-class wine-maker, he could also make a living with his whimsical sculptures dotting the landscape.
Pipeclay Pumphouse is at Robert Stein Vineyard & Winery, Pipeclay Lane, Mudgee
2- Alby and Esther’s
Alby and Esther’s in the middle of town is another gem.
The internal courtyard of a 19-century building has not only a great selection of platters – including a smoked salmon one, complete with labne and vegetable frittata.
The best sourdough ever was present in most dishes including the Reuben sandwich, which I had.
Yes, I am a bread freak and this place did not disappoint.
The weekend rolls under sunny skies, dry atmosphere and in the embrace of vines, figs and olive groves.
Alby and Esther’s is at Up the Alley, 61 Market St, Mudgee.
3- Di Lusso’s Estate
The owner of Di Lusso’s Estate and restaurant is so attached to his fig trees that he even described them as being ‘clever, much cleverer than grapes’, as he lovingly removes a dead twig here and there.
He was referring to the trees ability to adapt.
Blue irises grow by the ponds’ edges; families gather around tables for lunch under white umbrellas and the wood fire pizza oven is going full blast to cope with the demand.
Di Lusso specialises in Italian varieties and blends.
Di Lusso’s Estate is at 162 Eurunderee Ln, Mudgee.
4- Logan’s Tasting Room
At Logan’s award-winning Tasting Room the Vintage ‘M’ Cuvée sparkles like pink diamonds, the preferred drink of Malcolm Logan who started it all.
The Tasting Room is a great spot to taste wine with a view, a cheese plate or an antipasto board.
Logan’s Tasting Room is at 1320 Castlereagh Highway, Apple Tree Flat, Mudgee.
5- Roth’s Wine Bar and Cellar
At Roth’s Wine Bar – Australia’s oldest and original small bar, winemakers from the Well Mannered Wine Co, Heslop Wines and Bunnamagoo Estate talk about their lives in Mudgee.
There is a core of artists, writers and ex-advertising people here – some originally from the Mudgee region – that worked in Sydney or abroad (Canada keeps cropping up in conversation) for a number of years.
They are sophisticated, enterprising and have the combined brainpower and know-how that catapulted this already thriving rural town – whose original business was sheep and wool – to the hip and vibrant cultural centre that it is today.
Roth’s Wine Bar and Cellar is at 30 Market St, Mudgee.
Entering Rylstone proper (a must-stop on your way back to Sydney) an unexpected change of pace wows the traveller.
It is not wine or olive oil but an authentic Yum Cha place nestled in a grand old building’s backyard where dumplings glisten and tease your palate and six different teas are served to accompany the feast.
To top it all, “29-nine-99” has a love story behind it.
Told by co-owner husband Reg, an Australian advertising escapee who came back home to Mudgee to paint.
The story of the establishment starts in Beijing where Reg was working. In the late 90s, he spotted a girl in a crowd whom he knew he had to approach.
“She looked like an artist,” he says.
Lacking the courage to talk to her he lost her in the crowd.
The day after, at an art exhibition, he spotted her again (what are the chances of this happening with a population as big as Beijing’s?).
She was Na Lan from Xian.
She was an artist (his eye did not deceive him) and soon after they were married (on September 9, 1999 –hence the restaurant’ s name).
Mudgee was a bit of a change for Na Lan after Beijing but she decided to create an art-filled space where she could offer Yum Cha to visitors.
The business is a resounding success.
29-nine-99 Yum Cha and Tea House is at 28 Louee Street, Rylstone.
7- Rylstone Olive Press
Just outside Rylstone, a gorgeous pink country house, festooned with flowering wisteria, stuns the visitor with its impeccable floor space featuring award-winning olive oils.
Rylstone Olive Press premises are so neat, they resemble more of a lab than a working space.
Helen Battye – echoing the wisterias in her polo shirt of the same colour – takes us through the steps of olive pressing.
Unlike many of their European counterparts, she says- here the olives are never left to ‘die’ after picking -when irreversible changes affect the outcome.
The fruity ‘Cudgegong’, with apple skin undertones and a hint of mint, took Best Olive Oil in the World at the 2014’s World Olive Oil Show in Los Angeles, a gathering of 22 countries and 600 entries.
Compared to the Hunter Valley, Mudgee is not as well-known as a wine region in New South Wales, however, experts agree that the Mudgee wineries produce excellent wines.
One of the things going for Mudgee is it’s a boutique wine region that offers the personal touch.
You can sip your way around family-run vineyards and chat to friendly locals at the 40+ cellar doors. Here’s a shortlist of Mudgee wineries to check out:
- Short Sheep
- Robert Steins
- Pieter Van Gent
- Moothi Estate
- Huntington Estate
- The Cellar by Gilbert
- Di Lusso
Day trips from Mudgee
Set on a sprawling 300ha, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a destination in itself but it’s so large you’ll need all day to walk or bike around the zoo to do it justice.
The open spaces make this zoo gives you a chance to observe wildlife such as Black Rhinoceros and African Wild Dogs in a space the resembles their natural environments.
There’s a range of accommodation in Mudgee, including hotels, motels, caravan parks, apartments, cottages and B&Bs.
Hotels in Mudgee
Here are three Mudgee hotels to check out:
The Parkview Hotel Mudgee
Cobb & Co Court Boutique Hotel
Parklands Resort and Conference Centre
Motels in Mudgee
The Horatio Motel Mudgee is near the racecourse and the Mudgee Golf Club.
Soldiers Motel is close to the airport and has an outdoor pool.
Wanderlight Motor Inn in Mudgee
Caravan Parks in Mudgee
Mudgee Riverside Caravan Park is close to shops and restaurants in Mudgee CBD.
Ingenia Holidays Mudgee (71 Lions Drive, Mudgee) has camping and caravan sites as well as cabins close to town.
Ingenia Holidays Mudgee Valley ( 2 to 8 Bell Street, Mudgee) on the banks of the Cudgegong River.