Where to stay, eat, drink and play in the character-filled city of Mudgee

Filled with history, wineries, great local food, luxury accommodations, and plenty of eye candy, Mudgee is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to recharge their batteries.

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

From the completely off-grid farmhouse, which is still totally luxurious, to the accommodations, eating, drinking and playing of Mudgee.

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

Where to stay in Mudgee

Glenner’s farm

Get away completely from the world and its troubles at Glenayr Farm where your only notable neighbors will be sheep, a kangaroo and two inquisitive cows. Book one of the luxurious villas, complete with a king-size bed, fireplace, marble kitchenette and outdoor hot tub (or deep pool depending on the season). Relax on your deck and enjoy sweeping views of the farmland. Wait until nightfall when you can kindle a fire pit and watch the stars in a stunning show; Marshmallows Bio.

Sierra Escape

If award-winning luxury is what you’re after, make a reservation 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 stunning views. You can cook your daily leftovers from local produce in your own kitchen or on the grill outside. Be sure to take a private yoga class or go for a swim in the pool made from a shipping container.

Rwenzori Retreat

Stay in a 100-year-old railcar decorated in Orient Express style at Ruwenzori Retreat. Sitting atop the Great Dividing mountain range and surrounded by 25 hectares of natural bushland, the resort offers four different bedrooms to choose from, but the State Car is our pick with its pressed metal roof, polished cedar paneling, royal chestnut upholstery, ornate brass and silver fittings. It has a queen bed, an extra room for two, a marble bathroom, a sitting area, a wood-burning fireplace, and underfloor heating to keep you nice and cozy in the colder months. Head to the communal dining car to take advantage of the kitchen, dining room, and recreational facilities, or take things outdoors with a barbecue under the night sky.

Wilgorah

At Wilgowrah you can choose to stay in an architecturally designed triangular cottage, a cozy country cottage or a 100-year-old church. Set on 480 acres of land owned by beef and hay farmers Rick and Steph Gordon, Wilgowrah overlooks beautiful Mount Buckaroo and feels isolated from civilization despite being only 5 kilometers from downtown Mudgee. While it’s hard to miss the chance to sleep in the church (or the hut for that matter), we chose Gawthorne’s Hut, its wood-panelled walls, clad ceiling, exposed brick, stone bathtub, wood-burning fireplace, outdoor barbecue, and fire pit all overlooking the embankment. Alternatively, you can always book a three-night stay and spend one night in each.

Ilkley huts

For cabin-style accommodations suitable for writing a novel, look no further than Ilkley Cottages. Ten minutes from Mudgee but enveloped in idyllic Australian forests, there are five farm-style cottages to choose from. Calving Gully Cottage is our top pick with its dam and windmill views, gravel exterior, veranda, clawfoot tub, and potted belly fire. If all that Mudgee has to offer isn’t just a short drive away, it would be hard to walk away from serenity.

The best restaurants and cafes in Mudgee

Pipeclay Pumphouse

The Pipeclay Pumphouse, which overlooks Robert Stein Vineyard & Winery, is amazing gastronomic with a field-to-dish philosophy. Chef Adam Kristani adorned kitchens in Sydney and London before moving to Mudgee’s wine country, and most of the things you’ll find in his meticulously presented dishes have been either local or locally sourced. While the menu changes every few weeks, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll be getting Pipeclay’s charcuterie.

Eating in Warakiri by Indigiearth

Held every second Saturday, Njemba Welwan woman, Sharon Winsor, will guide you through the amazing experience of dining in Warakiri. Over the course of four hours, Sharon combines modern and traditional cooking methods to create a five-course dish prepared 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 bushmeat to rainforest fruits and local brews.

house of zen

No visit to Mudgee is complete without a long lunch at The Zin House. Overlooking the organic and vibrant vineyards of Lowe Family Wine Co., The Zin House is the vision of its manager and chef Kim Currie who has been a mainstay in the NSW regional dining scene for over 30 years. The acclaimed chef has designed a five-course communal menu, which makes seasonal produce grown on site or nearby. The menu doesn’t stay the same for long, but you can expect something like roasted pumpkin gnocchi with slow-cooked eggs, pecorino and espresso oil, tomatoes with smoked goat curd, pressed cucumbers and olive crumbs, and hazelnut ice cream with caramelized figs and white chocolate.

Albee and Esther

Alby & Esther’s decades-old cobbled balcony and courtyard help deliver a healthy dose of charm, along with uncomplicated café fare and handcrafted coffee. Definitely get your hands on the famous jaffles with local smoked ham, free-range eggs, swiss cheese, relish and house-made spiced fruit loaf. It is the perfect place to spend the day under the shade of the vine.

Kid’s Kitchen & Bar

Located in one of Mudgee’s oldest buildings, Cade Kitchen & Bar dates back to the 1850s and is one of the best restaurants that Mudgee has to offer. Open for breakfast and lunch every day and dinner six nights a week, 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 baked pizza, mushroom and halloumi bowls to salmon lime sticks, sashimi, and coconut panna cotta.

Things to do in Mudgee

Be a part of the local arts scene

The newly opened Mudgee Arts District showcases great works by artists near and far in its state-of-the-art facilities. The area currently displays work by local artists Michael Burke and Pamela Welch, is also home to a café and gift shop, and is quickly becoming an arts and culture center in the Midwest. Grab a coffee at one of the nearby cafes and take a slow morning stroll through the gallery to enjoy (and contemplate) the works on display.

Take a stroll down the gorge and peek at some centuries-old prints

The drip walking trail is an incredibly short and beautiful 2.8 km trail outside and back next to the Goulburn River, leading to the Great Drip Wall – the perfect spot for a forest bath. Take a moment to relax by the cantilevered rock and listen to the sounds of flowing water running through before making the return trip. Next, head 2 km north to Hands On Rock. The heritage site displays over a hundred hand-made stencils left behind by the Wiradgory people, the largest Aboriginal language group in New South Wales, and offers a humble look into the history of the land on which we live. Remember to stick to the paths and always respect this very sacred land.

Discover the best drops from the region

Mudgee wines date back to the 1800s, so it would be a failure to overlook this key aspect of the region. One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time and make sure you have a designated driver is on a wine tour. Alison of Mudgee VIP Wine Tours runs half- and full-day excursions to some of the major wineries in the area and has been doing so for over a decade, so she really knows the reds of their flowers and is filled with Mudgee’s unique history as one of the great wine cities in the state. If you have more time up your sleeve, and don’t mind working out, book a two-day gourmet cycling tour with the Tour de Vines. You’ll circle easy country back roads through beautiful vineyards and stop at some of Mudgee’s best and lesser-known cellar doors.

Store First Nations Masterpieces

Guluu Gallery was opened in 2021 by Wiradjuri man Peter Swain, a landmark of Aboriginal culture, artist and musician. At Guluu Gallery in nearby Rylstone, Peter sells one-of-a-kind Aboriginal artwork, sculptures, household items, and jewelry that would be a welcome addition to any home. Peter, who has held exhibitions all over the world, teaches Didgerido and Cumirang, so be sure to get in touch with him before setting off on a Mudgee adventure to book a lesson.

floating above the treetops

One of the best ways to see Mudgee is from above. Hop into one of the hot air balloons at Balloon Aloft and easily rise into the sky as the sun rises over the horizon. You’ll spend an hour peeking at the stunning hills, wineries, farms, and valleys below before landing safely at the Parklands Resort where you’ll enjoy a post-trip with your floating buddies.

Smile in the sunflowers

There’s nothing more exhilarating than a field of sunflowers on a sunny day, so head over to Mudgee Sunflowers in Home Rule to brighten up your drive. Halfway between Gulgong and Mudgee, the field of sunflowers dreams is also home to The Old School House 1883 and its fine household items and gifts. Don’t forget the camera!

Discover the best producing regions and get to know the manufacturers

If you’re lucky enough to have your flight westward coinciding with the third Saturday of the month, you’ll want to make a bright, early beeline for Mudgee Farmers Market. It doesn’t get fresher than produce that’s made, grown, fished or raised by stall owners – a key requirement set by the people from Mudgee Fine Foods who run the markets. If you’re hanging out until Sunday, be sure to sign yourself up for a $15 farm outing where you’ll meet and talk about all things food with the local farmers and maybe even get your hands dirty.

Make sure you refuel at your local ampoule along the way—for fuel and a bag of red frogs at Foodary—because, well, essential snacks on the road. Whatever you need, Ampol has got you covered, so all you have 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 the support of the sponsors who made Urban List possible. Click here for more information about our editorial policy.

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