Our Family Trip to Mudgee (and what to do when you have kids!)

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Big Entrance at Lowe Family Wine Co, Mudgee, with lush greenery surrounding it

During the Easter long weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful town of Mudgee here in New South Wales. My husband got assigned to do a talk at one of the mines there, and he asked me if we could accompany him as it’s a bit of a drive – easy decision! As an immigrant, It’s always nice to get to know the country through different suburbs, towns, and cities and our daughter is at a beautiful age now, too, where we’re more confident about travelling and bringing her on longer drives and trips. We also haven’t been to Mudgee and have heard only good things about it! All that to say, we were excited to go and have this long, long weekend as a family. 

Where is Mudgee?

If you didn’t know (because I didn’t!) and new around here (like I am!), Mudgee Region is a hidden gem in New South Wales – known for its world-class wineries, picture-perfect landscapes, art, culture, and rich heritage. It’s a smaller, more rustic wine country full of charm and calmness. 

Getting there (with kids!)

Mudgee is about 3.5 hours away from Newcastle by land – there’s a small airport there and I read Fly Pelican charters weekly flights from Sydney to Mudgee and back, but weren’t going to fly so driving it is. 

We had a toddler with us so it was imperative to do some stops along the way. Lucky for us, there was this tiny town called Merriwa where they had a rest area where there was a skatepark, playground, murals to look at, barbecues, tables and chairs. It was almost as if it was made intentionally as a pit stop en route to Mudgee or beyond! It was a perfect pause to a long drive and we enjoyed our short stop there. Our daughter loved the playground – it was huge, with different activities for children of all ages. 

Note: A few meters away from the park, remember to drop by the famous Merriwa cafe and bakery where they make and sell hundreds of different pies and pastries everyday to locals and travelers alike. My husband had four pies (he doesn’t indulge a lot due to some food intolerances) but it had to be done! It was delicious, freshly made, flaky, and worth every bite. You could tell it was a favourite because the line was long and even though we were in the middle of a sleepy countryside town, the place was buzzing with people keen to eat! It’s a must-go for tourists and a local favourite. 

After a restful stop, we continued our adventure. We had about 1.5 hrs of driving ahead of us, so had to pull out all the stops for my toddler (and myself, ha!). Isn’t it amazing what some stickers and a plate full of snacks can do? I swear it’s our constant hero! The drive was so serene and calm and as we drove nearer to the place, you can see the fields started to  line up with vineyards and olive trees. Spectacular views!

I adored this clocktower!

As we drove into Mudgee, I couldn’t help but feel so charmed by it all. In the middle of the town is a rotunda dividing the centre into sections, with a clock tower that rings as it strikes twelve. I can’t help but be reminded of my favourite series, Gilmore Girls. Beautiful, charming, well-kept, and quaint surroundings. I couldn’t wait to learn and do more!

My daughter was so amazed by this horse and horse rider!

Where to stay in Mudgee

There is a diverse range of properties in Mudgee, all depending on the vibe and ambiance you prefer. To name a few, there are hotels and resorts, bed and breakfast guesthouses, beautiful farm stays, motels, pub accommodations, parks and campsites, or you can even go glamping if you want to. Expect charming and rustic buildings, family-friendly stays, and amazing hospitality. 

My family and I stayed at Parklands Resort, which offers 70 spacious rooms all overlooking their beautiful gardens and views of the land. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by friendly reception – checking in was probably the easiest check in ever and off we headed to the room. We were delighted to enter a huge hotel room – a big king bed, sofa, chairs, room bar, ample space for clothes, and a clean modern bathroom. There was a huge sliding door on the other side of the room, which opens onto a vast veranda that connects all the rooms and for guests to enjoy the beautiful views. I can attest it was very serene and calming looking out onto the horizon – it was a treat in itself.

Our stay also included a breakfast buffet everyday, which is one of my favourite things about going on a holiday. I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE staying somewhere where there’s a breakfast buffet – it gets me up in the morning and I get SO excited. Maybe I just love food that much? Haha.

Consider your itinerary when choosing the perfect place to rest, like your preferred proximity to a winery you want to visit or stay at or if you’re like us, to the conference hall where my husband spoke at. The best thing about Mudgee is, everything is so easy to get to – so you won’t miss out even if you’re a bit farther from some areas as it’s an easy drive to and from. 

Wherever you choose to stay, you’ll always be surrounded by the calm nature, beautiful vineyards, and the town’s rich heritage – it’s the perfect escape to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Oftentimes people also stay at the wineries. They have specials stays and if wine tasting and cheeseboards and good food are your jam, then this would be the perfect complement. 

Where to eat in Mudgee

One thing I love about staying in Mudgee is the food. There’s no shortage of charming cafes, casual and fine dining restaurants that offer what the region has to offer – farm fresh produce, locally sourced high-quality meat, and artisanal creations. I had no idea what to expect when we got there, but I was quite literally surprised at how good the food choices are. 

Probably one of the best bulgogis I’ve eaten here in Australia. It was from a mom and pop Korean/sushi shop called Kim’s kitchen situated near the centre roundabout next to a real estate shop. They also serve other korean favourites like bibimbap and of course, there’s sushi. 

Had a smashing matcha and chai latte here in this cafe spot.

Personal recommendation:

Althea by Zin by Lowe Family Wine Co 

This Artisan bakery and pattiserie is located in downtown Mudgee on the corner of Church and Horatio Street. Here you will find a curated selection of freshly baked breads, pastries, savory food and good coffee. 

What to get: Get the Tomato, Salami, and Parmesan Roman Pizza – you won’t regret it!! Finish that with the Flan Patissier and you have yourself a perfect pairing. If you have room for more, their croissants might possibly be a strong contender for the Lune one’s. Yes – you read that right.

Personal recommendation: 

Three Tails Brewery and Smokehouse for the best slow-cooked Texan barbecue and delicious side dishes and bar food. They boast of 21 craft beers on tap including a wide selection of international ones and an ambience that will make you want to stay and have a chat with the locals. 

The place reminded me of Brooklyn with the fairy lights, shed, garden area and undone dining. 

A huge platter of barbecued meats and Texan style side dishes

What to do in Mudgee

If you’re a tourist like me, I personally loved going around the town (note: it’s so walkable!) and taking in everything from the heritage buildings, churches, boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and of course – people. I romanticised the heck out of my walks there – I truly did feel like I was in stars hallow! You could get lost in time taking in the scenery and the people, but that’s what’s great about being a tourist – your senses know it’s its first time seeing everything, and for a moment you are completely in the present. How good is that? 

Entrance to a winery

What to do in Mudgee if you have kids

If you have kids, don’t fret! On our last day we went to their famous park called Lawson Park. It’s located  just across the big roundabout where the clocktower is, so it was very accessible. We went there and to our surprise, stayed there for a bit because there was so much to do. The grounds were vast so you could have picnics, play with your kids, or rest if you wanted to.

In the park there is a big playground for kids of all ages where next to it is a lake (note: a local told us about the baby ducks at the rear end of the lake – beware: they’re so cute!) where you can see some ducks and cows on the land beside it. Our toddler loved it so much! 

Next to the playground is Mudgee’s main attraction for kids – the Mudgee Water Park. The water park includes a large water slide, rock pool, water spray platform, cannons and streams all children of all ages can enjoy. As with most big parks here, there are picnic tables and barbecue sites for free public use, but if you’re not into that there is also an on site cafe for breakky and lunch. 

Big water park with a sizeable pool

The massive waterpark. Picture c/o Midwestern NSW.

The horse and rider in all their glory. 

To end our short stay and before we drove back home, we couldn’t resist going to Althea by Zin to get some croissants and pastries for the road. I’m dreaming about it as we speak – can’t wait to go back!

Should you visit?

Absolutely. If you love going to wine countries, you will love it here. All in all, Mudgee is a place that really took me by surprise and captured my heart. If I would describe it in one word, I would say quaint. It has such a charm to it and next time I can’t wait to visit the wineries and taste some of the local wine. That’s something to look forward to!

Thank you for reading! Please share your recommendations for Mudgee if you have some!

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