Every year in Australia we get two separate public holidays for Easter. They are Good Friday and Easter Monday. What does that mean to us Sydneysiders…?
I joined onto a trip a few friends of mine were planning to the Mudgee wine region. It lies lies about 3 hours North-west of Sydney and is known primarily as a boutique wine region for it’s Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons. The unique weather and soil are good for producing nice full-bodied reds. My favourite!
They also put out some good Italian varietals like Barbera and Sangiovese and the more traditional Semillion, Chardonnay, Moscato, and Reisling varieties.
As opposed to the very touristy and more famous Hunter Valley, Mudgee lies a little farther out and attracts far less day-tripper tourists than the Hunter.
To get to Mudgee you have to drive through the Blue Mountains which lie 90 minutes west of Sydney. They are full of quaint little towns where you can go to places like the Wayzgoose Cafe for their famous flowerpot scones.
You really can’t beat their flaky scones topped with fresh jam and cream.
After stuffing ourselves with scones and eggs benedict it was off to Govett’s Leap for a little bushwalk along the Cliff Top Track. This runs from Govett’s Leap approximately 3 km to Evan’s Lookout along the top of Grose Valley.
From this shot you can see down the canyon and get a sense of why they call them the Blue Mountains by the slightly bluish hue. The Cliff Top Track follows the ridgeline along the right. If you look closely, you can make out a big waterfall about halfway down the trail.
The hike itself isn’t that strenuous. Really, it’s more of a trail walk. You weave along the canyon rim back and forth and get little peeks of the canyon as you pass through the trees.
From here you see the top of Bridal Veil Falls.
A bit further down the path you can see the same waterfall descending 180m to the base of the canyon.
On windy days like today the updrafts blew a cool mist across us as we walked along the trail. I wanted to cool off…
If you’ve ever read this blog before then you know how much I like goofy pictures. Here’s me doing that “I’m the king of the world” scene from Titanic while getting misted.
After a few hours, it was time to load into the car and make the hour and a half drive onwards to Mudgee. After you leave the mountains the traffic really falls away and it’s smooth sailing all the way to Mudgee.
I’ll preface this section with – I wasn’t driving…
About an hour outside Mudgee, I was working the iPhone/radio/dj/nav while Mende was cruising along. Out of nowhere, I hear a little thud which resulted in a conversation that went something like this:
JJ – “Mende, did we just hit something?”
M – “Umm, I think it was a bird”
JJ – “Well did you see it in the rear view mirror”
M – “Hmm… I don’t think so”
JJ – “Well, I’ve hit birds before. They usually explode into a cartwheeling ball of fluff. Did you see that?”
M – “No”
JJ – “Well should we pull over and check the car?”
M – “No, I think it’s fine. I saw it”
JJ – “Ok, how much longer do we have to go. I’m putting on Gaga…”
At this point, we continued on to the resort we were staying at. Well, resort may be a stretch… Think a very nicely refurbished two-story motel. You know, the type where you drive around looking for the closest spot to your room as you read room numbers off the doors facing the parking lot. This place obviously attracts a lot of families because there were kids everywhere riding bikes around the lot. After a couple laps, we figured out the room number and slowed to park. At this point, one of the kids riding around on bikes said “Hey lady, there’s a bird hanging off your car”
Sure enough. That bird we hit. Well, by some fluke of physics ended up lodged into the grille.
After a little manoeuvring I was able to get it unstuck. Shockingly, after riding in the grille for an hour the bird seemed ok, but in shock. Mende called a local vet and we dropped it off there. My suspicion is that magpie ended up as food. That or it’s off “living on a farm” with all his friends.
Potential roadkill aside, our resort and Mudgee turned out to be a lovely place.
The grounds of our resort were very well maintained and had some amazing outdoor sitting spaces.
Downtown Mudgee comprises only a few streets and offered up some beautiful churches. Each weekend they host big farmers markets that feature the best of the local wines, honey, produce and artisan crafts.
Enough of the town though, we came here for wine!
The great thing about Mudgee is all the wineries are really close together. You can scarcely be in the car for ten minutes without pulling off for another tasting.
The majority of the tastings are free (and rather generous). Where we did encounter tasting fees they were waived if we bought a bottle.
A panoramic of one of the wineries.
Showing off my purchases from Robert Stein
Robert Stein also had a vast collection of vintage bikes. Mende’s here posing for the camera in front of the main shop.
Pretty cool collection. Makes me want a bike.
A few wineries later we ended up at Short Sheep where they use specifically bred sheep with short legs to groom and fertilize the vineyard. Supposedly the sheep can’t reach the grapes, but I’m sure where there’s a will…
We chose to stop off at di Lusso for some Italian wines and a nice pizza and pasta lunch. Much needed after the morning’s tastings.
A nice spot I assume they use for weddings at di Lusso.
Taking a rest…
An antique cash register. Part of a random collection of antiques at Robert Oatley.
More pictures of cellar doors.
All in, it was a great trip. We probably went to 30 wineries and I ended up getting quite the truckload of wines. Though I wish I took more pictures on day 2, I forgot to charge my camera and instead just lived in the moment.
The final take from Mudgee – sans the two bottles that were consumed during the trip.
Until next Easter!