Things To Do

Where To Stay, Eat, Drink and Play In The Character-Filled Town Of Mudgee

By Chloe Sputore
14th Jul 2022

Woman walking across a crossing in the town of Mudgee.

In partnership with:

In partnership with Ampol

Packed with history, wineries, incredible local fare, sumptuous stays and plenty of eye candy, Mudgee is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to recharge their batteries. 

Just 3.5 hours by car northwest of Sydney, when you roll into Mudgee you’ll be delighted with its 19th-century charm and friendly faces. 

From its completely off-grid yet still totally luxurious farm stays to its magical bush tucker degustations, here’s where to stay, eat, drink and play in Mudgee.

What are you waiting for? Hop in the car, zoom on over to your closest Ampol to fill up your tank, grab some red frogs and boujee servo snacks from The Foodary and hit the road.

Where To Stay In Mudgee

Glenayr Farm

Completely switch off from the world and its troubles at Glenayr Farm where your only notable neighbours will be the sheep, kangaroos and a couple of nosey cows. Book one of two luxury villas kitted out with a king bed, fireplace, marble kitchenette and an outdoor hot tub (or plunge pool depending on the season). Kick back on your own private deck and take in the sweeping farmland views. Hang around until nightfall when you can stoke up the fire pit and watch the stars put on a stunning show; BYO marshmallows.

Sierra Escape

If award-winning luxury glamping is what you’ve been searching for then make a booking at Sierra Escape, stat. Each tent offers seclusion and privacy, along with indoor and outdoor freestanding bathtubs, fireplaces, luxury amenities (yes, even flushing toilets) and breathtaking views. You can cook up your daily bounty of local produce in your private kitchen or on the BBQ outside. Be sure to take a private yoga class or go for a dip in the swimming pool fashioned from a shipping container. 

Ruwenzori Retreat

Stay in a 100-year-old railway carriage decked out in Orient Express style at Ruwenzori Retreat. Sitting atop the Great Dividing Range and surrounded by 25 hectares of natural bushlands, the retreat offers up four different sleeping compartments to choose from, but the state car is our pick with its pressed metal ceiling, polished cedar panelling, regal maroon furnishings and ornate brass and silver fittings. It packs in a queen bed, an additional compartment that sleeps two, a marble bathroom, sitting area, wood fireplace and underfloor heating to keep you nice and cosy in the cooler months. Head on over to the shared dining car to make use of the kitchen, dining room and entertainment facilities or take things alfresco with a BBQ under the night sky.

Wilgowrah

At Wilgowrah you can choose to stay in an architecturally designed triangular-shaped hut, a cosy cottage or a 100-year-old church. Set on 480 acres of land owned by beef and hay farmers Rick and Steph Gordon, Wilgowrah looks out on the beautiful Mount Buckaroo and feels secluded from civilisation despite only being 5km from Mudgee’s town centre. While it’s hard to pass up the chance to sleep in a church (or a cottage for that matter), we’d opt for Gawthorne’s Hut and its timber-clad walls, raked ceiling, exposed brick, stone bathtub, wood-burning fireplace and outdoor BBQ and firepit all overlooking a dam. Alternatively, you could always book a three-night stay and spend one night in each.

Ilkley Cottages

For cabin-style accommodation fit for writing a novel in, look no further than Ilkley Cottages. Ten minutes from Mudgee but enveloped in quintessentially Australian bushlands, there are five farmhouse-style cottages to choose from. The Calving Gully Cottage is our top pick with its dam and windmill views, shingle cladded exterior, verandah, claw-foot tub and pot belly fire. If all that Mudgee has to offer wasn’t just a short drive away, it would be hard to pull yourself away from the serenity.

Best Restaurants And Cafes In Mudgee

Pipeclay Pumphouse

Overlooking Robert Stein Vineyard & Winery, Pipeclay Pumphouse dishes up incredible degustations with a paddock-to-plate philosophy. Chef Adam Crestani graced kitchens in Sydney and London before making the move to Mudgee’s wine country, and most things you’ll find on his meticulously presented plates have been either homegrown or locally sourced. While the menu changes every few weeks it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll get to nosh on Pipeclay’s own charcuterie.  

Warakirri Dining By Indigiearth

Held every second Saturday, Ngemba Weilwan woman, Sharon Winsor, will guide you through the incredible experience that is Warakirri Dining. Over the course of four hours, Sharon combines modern and traditional cooking methods to create a five-course bush tucker degustation and dishes it up with plenty of Aboriginal culture, music and storytelling. The intimate experience is limited to 16 people per night and the menu features everything from seafood and game meats to rainforest fruits and native beverages.

The Zin House

A visit to Mudgee is not complete without a long lunch at The Zin House. Overlooking the organic and biodynamic vineyards of the Lowe Family Wine Co, The Zin House is the vision of its director and head chef Kim Currie who has been a mainstay on the NSW regional dining scene for over 30 years. The highly acclaimed chef has designed a five-course shared menu that champions seasonal produce grown on-site or nearby. The menu never stays the same for long but you can expect nosh like roasted pumpkin gnocchi with slow-cooked egg, pecorino and espresso oil, tomatoes with smoked goats curd, compressed cucumber and olive crumb, and hazelnut ice cream with caramelised fig and white chocolate. 

Alby & Esthers

A decades-old cobblestoned terrace and courtyard help Alby & Esther’s serve up a healthy dose of charm, along with uncomplicated cafe fare and artisan coffee. Definitely get your hands on their famous jaffles with local smoked ham, free-range egg, swiss cheese and relish and house-made chai-spiced fruit loaf. It’s the perfect spot to while away the day under the shade of a grapevine. 

Cade Kitchen & Bar

Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Mudgee, hailing from the 1850s, Cade Kitchen & Bar is one of the best restaurants Mudgee has to offer. Open for breakfast and lunch every day and dinner six nights a week, head chef Renee has lived in the area for 15 years and even trained under The Zin House executive chef Kim Currie—talk about keeping it local. The menu offers something for everyone, from flatbread brekky pizzas and mushroom and halloumi bowls to finger lime salmon sashimi and coconut panna cotta.  

Things To Do In Mudgee

Get Among The Local Arts Scene

The newly opened Mudgee Arts Precinct showcases incredible works by artists near and far in its state-of-the-art facility. Currently showcasing works from local artists Michael Bourke and Pamela Welsh, the precinct is also home to a cafe and gift shop, and has quickly become the epicentre of the arts and culture in the Mid-Western Region. Grab a coffee from one of the nearby cafes and take a slow morning stroll through the gallery to admire (and ponder) the works on show.

Go On A Gorge Walk And Peep Some Centuries-Old Prints

The Drip Walking Track is a short and incredibly sweet 2.8km out and back hike next to the Goulburn River, leading to the Great Dripping Wall—the perfect spot for some forest bathing. Take a moment to relax beside the cantilevered rock and listen to the sounds of the trickling water that runs through it before making the return journey. Next up, head 2km north to Hands On Rock. Showcasing more than one hundred hand stencils left behind by the Wiradjuri people, the largest Aboriginal language group in New South Wales, the heritage site provides a humbling look at the history of the land we live on. Remember to stick to the trails and always be respectful of this extremely sacred land.

Discover The Best Drops Of The Region

Mudgee’s wine history dates back to the 1800s so it would be remiss of you to overlook this key facet of the region. One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time and ensure you have a designated driver is on a wine tour. Alyson from Mudgee VIP Wine Tours runs half and full-day expeditions to some of the area’s premier wineries, and she’s been doing so for over a decade so she really knows her reds from her rosés and is full bottle on Mudgee’s unique history as one of the state’s great wine towns. If you’ve got more time up your sleeve, and don’t mind working up a sweat, book a two-day gourmet cycling tour with Tour de Vines. You’ll cycle the easy country backroads past beautiful vineyards and stop at some of Mudgee’s best lesser-known cellar doors. 

Stock Up On First Nations’ Masterpieces

Guluu Gallery was opened in 2021 by Wiradjuri man Peter Swain, an educator in Aboriginal culture, artist and musician. At Guluu Gallery in nearby Rylstone, Peter sells incredible, one-of-a-kind Aboriginal artworks, sculptures, homewares and jewellery that would be a welcome addition to any home. Peter, who’s held exhibitions across the globe, also teaches didgeridoo and boomerang making so be sure to reach out to him before you set off on your Mudgee adventure to book a lesson. 

Float Above The Treetops

One of the best ways to see Mudgee is from above. Hop into one of Balloon Aloft’s hot air balloons and rise effortlessly into the sky as the sun peeks out over the horizon. You’ll spend an hour peeping the stunning rolling hills, wineries, farms and valleys below before safely touching down at Parklands Resort where you’ll enjoy a post-flight brekky with your fellow floating companions.

Smile At The Sunflowers

There’s nothing more cheery than a field of sunflowers on a sunny day, so head to Mudgee Sunflowers in Home Rule to bring a smile to your dial. Halfway between Gulgong and Mudgee, the field of sunflower dreams is also home to The Old School House 1883 and its cutesy homewares and gifts. Don’t forget your camera!

Uncover The Regions Best Produce And Meet The Makers

If you’re lucky enough to have your trip out west coincide with the third Saturday of the month then you will want to make a bright and early beeline for the Mudgee Farmers’ Market. It doesn’t get fresher than produce that’s been made, grown, caught or reared by the stallholders—a key requirement set out by the folks from Mudgee Fine Foods who run the markets. If you’re kicking around until Sunday then be sure to sign yourself up for a $15 guided farm walk where you’ll get to meet and chat about all things food with the local farmers and maybe even get your hands dirty.

Be sure to fuel up at your local Ampol along the way—for fuel and a cheeky bag of red frogs at the Foodary—because, well, essential road trip snacks. Whatever you need, Ampol has got you covered so all you need to worry about is your next destination. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Ampol and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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