The latest mini-trip escape was to Mudgee, the Hunter Valley’s smaller, more charming sibling. We were lucky that the weather was super sunny and warm, despite being a winter August weekend.
We found a little cluster of cottages called Kirima, about a 10 minute drive from Mudgee town centre. With 4 cottages spread out on acres of paddocks & bushland, we felt like we had the whole property to ourselves. We only saw brief evidence of other guests who looked like they were on a dirt-biking trip, other than that, just the birds & the odd kangaroo. The fire was burning upon our arrival at 8pm which was such a welcome site on account of it being 6 degrees outside!
Mudgee town centre
We spent the first morning exploring the town centre. The whole town centre is walkable within about 15 minutes of the clock tower, the main reference point anyone will give you for directions. The town is super cute, colonial, has a church on ever corner (as well as a pub) and is lined with cafes & shops. The coffee was great, food even better and everyone was so friendly, a trend in smaller country towns.
We attempted some of the sightseeing recommendations on the visit mudgee website, which entailed a rock that looks like a frog. Needless to say we moved onto the wineries pretty quickly after being slightly disappointed at the mediocre attraction!
We visited only a few wineries, this was mainly because we were having such a good time, we didn’t really feel the need to rush around and try other wineries.
The Farmers Daughter
A quiet, farmstead-like cellar door with an area for chilling. Probably not the place to visit for lunch & to sit & chat, but more to sample the goods & have interesting conversation with Lancy behind the bar. They have a delightfully light & crisp bubbly that I bought, citing the fact that I thought it would be a really nice breakfast drink. Um, something wrong with that picture??
We then moved onto Lowe Wines (on account of my bestie’s new husband’s last name) and this turned out to be our whole afternoon gone! There were no tables available so we plonked on a picnic rug and feasted on a platter with the world’s 2nd best olive oil and some of the best feta I’ve ever sampled. The Winery dog ‘Louee’ ran rampant around the guests trying to score some leftover bread. We were in t-shirts by 1pm – hashtag winter in Australia!
After about 2 hours of sunning, eating & wining we thought we should probably sample the goods so did a tasting sesh that resulted in us buying an incredible amount of the stuff. I guess that’s how they get you – free pour the goods & cloud your judgement! No regrets here though! Our cabinet is now fully stocked!
This one was on account of my new surname! Needless to say I was always going to buy a case from here, it was just a matter of figuring out which one! Luckily they have an award-winning 2009 Cab Shiraz which I happily purchased. This cellar door is definitely for the connoisseurs – small & cosy, more rough around the edges than Lowe. We probably learnt more about wine here than the other two though on account of the cellar door host’s lack of a sense of humour but incredible knowledge & patience!
The Mudgee Brewery was the last stop, we partook in a tasting before dinner. This is a great place just to grab a bite to eat although their beers weren’t the best I’ve ever tasted… Their Autumn Ale was really on the bitter side, I couldn’t finish it. Their Wheat Beer was so heavily tainted with banana it tasted more like that horrible Matsos Mango Beer than a craft Wheat. And their Pale Ale was nice, but nothing fancy. Although I must admit we’ve been pretty spoilt on the beer front in Sydney & surrounds (aka Murrays Brewery in Port Stephens which takes the cake for me!).
Overall, Mudgee is pretty awesome for a weekend away. But probably not much longer than that. We will definitely go back but are thinking of timing it with a festival like A Day on the Green. It would also be a great place to stop into if you’re road tripping around the area or 4WD-ing or dirt biking.