marvelous Mudgee

Ever noticed how when you are travelling even the best laid plans have to have a detour now and then? This trip was no exception. We went to Mudgee with a short list of wineries to visit, which within two hours of arriving ended up in the bin. It was about as useful as stilettos in a snow storm.

Go to Mudgee they said. It’ll be fun they said. Oh the wineries they said. So we did. And it was. But the wineries? Well they forgot to mention that 90% of the wineries in Mudgee are closed between Christmas and the new year. So this is a blog post about what to do in Mudgee when you can’t do the wineries.

Mudgee is a 3 to 4 hour drive from Sydney, and it’s a popular destination for people looking to escape the rat race for a weekend. I can see why. It’s a beautiful country town lined with early Australian architecture, some dating back to the 1850s. It has plenty to offer even the most jaded of travellers – a variety of quality accommodation that will suit all budgets; fine wines and restaurants; gorgeous scenery; serenity, and a climate that covers all four seasons. It must be doing something right as over 460 000 people visit every year.

So back to what to do. I had already read something about kayaking on Dunn’s Swamp, and thought that could be a go, but the men were not quite so sure. Luckily I had sisterhood back-up with me, and we managed to convince the blokes it was a good idea.

Words cannot even come close to describing the beauty of Dunn’s Swamp. At certain times of the year Southern Cross Kayaking offer kayak hire as well as guided tours of the area, and you have approximately 5km of the Cudgegong River to explore. The kayak itself was stable, the river was easy to navigate, and you will be left in awe of the rugged beauty. It is an absolutely wondrous place to visit.

Next up was an adventure experience that could not have been more different. Scenic Dune Buggies was the order of the day, and no peace and quiet here! We had no idea how much fun this would be. Helmets on, engines roaring and off you go! Only one of us managed to bottom out (that would be a male), the other was just about ready for the Dakar (and that would be moi). There are over 3000 acres to explore, up hill and down dale, through dust, mud, grass and bush. What an adventure. And scenery to die for. An absolute highlight of our trip to the Mudgee region.

The Drip Gorge was number three on our list (it replaced Short Sheep Winery), and as we were the only car in the carpark we were expecting peace and quiet when we got out of the car. Boy were we in for a shock - the noise of the cicadas was ear splitting! I have never experienced anything like it, and it only helped to make this location definitely one that we will remember. Not sure if they are only there at certain times of the day/year? It was amazing though to listen to them as we started our walk, and the noise gradually became less as we got closer to the drip. We loved the natural beauty of the area, and you could spend at least an hour there soaking it all in. It really does have a sacred feel to it, so take your camera, a picnic, your swimmers and your sense of wonder and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.

In the end our hasty plan B turned out to be just as good if not better than plan A, as can often happen when travelling and things go awry. Who knew the Mudgee region was the adventure capital of mid-west NSW!

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