Get off the beaten track in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, an excellent way to see some of the rural heart of the country.
The small town of Mudgee is a half-day drive or short hop on the plane from Sydney and is famous for its local food produce such as honey and cheese, as well as its award winning wines. The pace of life is decidedly slower than Australia’s big cities but this can be a welcome contrast and a chance to see some of this enormous country’s plentiful countryside. It also makes a relaxing break from some of the obvious coastal destinations that Australia has to offer.
Mudgee Town Center and Honey Haven
Mudgee is geared up for tourists and has plenty to offer, including the Colonial Inn Museum, Honey Haven – a small shop that makes and sells locally produced honey and honey related goods such as the alcoholic drink Honey Mead, a miniature railway for the children, and of course, the ubiquitous wineries lining the short ‘tourist drive’ on Cassilis Road leading out of town.
If arriving in Mudgee by car, Honey Haven is about three kilometers outside of the town centre towards the neighboring town of Gulgong, and it well worth a look, if only to marvel at the amount of different flavors of honey that it is possible to make. The town itself has several charming cafés where visitors can grab a bite to eat, and some craft or antique shops, and makes a pleasant stop before or after visiting the main attractions of the area.
Wine, Chutneys and Cheeses
After seeing Mudgee town center, head out of town at the roundabout with the clock tower on it, onto Cassilis Road and within the next 10 kilometers, there will be around twenty wineries and other places of interest to drop in to and have a look at. One of the first wineries worth stopping at is High Valley Wine and Cheese Company, an excellent stop as it combines fine wines with locally made cheeses and expert product knowledge. It is also a great choice to stop for afternoon tea and sample some of their delicious homemade scones and cream.
A little further up Cassilis Road is Frog Rock Wines, a must see winery if only to investigate the unusual name! Again, locally produced chutneys and olive oils compliment the obligatory wine tasting, with an added aesthetical back-drop of work from a local photographer. The caramelized onion chutney and garlic olive oil comes highly recommended!
One of the furthest stops up Cassilis Road before the number of wineries starts to dwindle is Robert Stein Winery, an excellent choice that has a motorcycle museum, (an impressive personal collection belonging to the founder of the winery himself,) as well as the local wine tasting. Up a dirt track called Pipeclay Lane, this small, unassuming winery is a real treasure for motorcycle and wine enthusiasts and is well worth a stop on the winery tour.