Nestled in the rolling hills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, the picturesque small town of Mudgee is renowned for its excellent wines.
Weekends see hundreds of tourists coming to taste the wines from the 90 grape growers in the Mudgee district. They visit the wineries that are located on the various roads leading out of Mudgee and scattered around the nearby small towns of Gulgong and Rylstone. Wines can be sampled and purchased at the cellar doors of many of those wineries that are open to the public.
While not as well known for its wines as other Australian wine regions such as the Hunter Valley, the Barossa Valley or Yarra, Mudgee’s viticulture dates back to 1858 when German settlers established the first vineyards in the area. Many of those original German families, such as the Kurtz and the Roth clans, are still living in Mudgee and their names still feature on the local wine labels.
Many tourists try to visit the Mudgee Food and Wine Festival that is held every September. With the normally pleasant spring weather, this festival is a perfect venue to taste Mudgee’s famous specialties, such as shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
Mudgee’s honey is another tempting taste treat that attracts tourists and gourmets alike. There are a number of apiaries that you can visit. A number of honey varieties can be tasted and purchased – including yellow box, iron bark, blue gum, and red gum, as well as honey flavored with eucalyptus, clover or wattle. Some of the apiaries having working hives on display, where visitors can watch colonies of honey bees at work.
Historical Heritage of Mudgee
Mudgee is a town of special interest to Australian and colonial history buffs.
The original inhabitants were the Aborigines who called the area Moothi (meaning “nest in the hills”).
White settlers arrived in the early 1800s. Mudgee was at first a village servicing the surrounding farming properties. With the discovery of gold in nearby Hargreaves in 1851, the area grew rapidly as it sold supplies to passing gold miners. Several churches, a town hall, a police station, a courthouse, a post office and a mechanics institute were all constructed in the years that followed.
Agriculture including wool studs and vineyards were developed. The railway reached Mudgee in 1884.
Fortunately, a large number of the old buildings have survived and remain in superb condition. Market Street and a number of other streets have whole streetscapes of buildings dating from the late 19th century, so that the visitor can experience the sensation of stepping back in time.
One of Australia’s greatest poets and short story writers, Henry Lawson (1867-1922), spent many of his early years in Mudgee. You can see the school he attended, the remains of the Lawson family house and a number of locations that Lawson wrote about in his poems and stories.
If time is not a problem, a short trip to the nearby township of Gulgong may also be recommended. Gulgong is an old goldmining town and its winding streets still follow the original goldmine claims. Like Mudgee, Gulgong has some genuine original streetscapes from the late 19th century. Of particular interest are the Prince of Wales Opera House where Australia’s great opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931) once performed, the Henry Lawson Centre, and the large Pioneers’ Museum.
Mudgee is Well Worth a Visit
Mudgee is just a few hours’ drive up from Sydney, Australia’s largest city and the capital of the state of New South Wales. Many tourists visiting Sydney take the opportunity to see a little of rural Australia, and Mudgee often is visited for that reason alone. willamette wine tours