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A re you curious about visiting one of Australia’s best agritourism and wine destination? The Mudgee wine region, nestled in the foothills of national parks, is a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. Mudgee is a fantastic place to slow down and enjoy a week of wine tasting, farm-stay experiences, food, and relaxing nature to recharge your batteries. The Mudgee wine region is a leading example of biodynamic and organic farming practices, making it an ideal place to support local small businesses and enjoy sustainable sipping. This 5-day itinerary from Sydney to Mudgee for wine tasting embodies slow, sustainable, and mindful travel elements for the perfect getaway.
I find myself filling my glass with Australian wine more often. I even pass up those Californian and French reds for the bold and creative flavors from Australia’s enticing wine regions, like Mudgee. I’m lucky to have married into an Australian family with a keen sense for great Aussie wine. Every time I visit family in Australia, they whisk me to another of Australia’s stunning wine regions. During my most recent trip back to Australia, we explored the Mudgee wine and agricultural region, just a 4-hour drive northwest of Sydney. We timed our arrival perfectly for the annual Flavors of Mudgee wine festival, kicking off the perfect 5-day itinerary for sustainable wine tasting and agritourism.
Staying for 5 days allowed us to enjoy the road trip from Sydney to Australia and slow down our pace to enjoy sustainable sipping in Mudgee. Our days were filled with wine tastings at small family vineyards, sampling vegan biodynamic wines, supporting pollinator-friendly businesses, eating vegetarian farm-to-table cuisine, wandering through nature parks, and visiting historic towns.
I wrote this blog in a bit of a different style than usual. I was missing the old days of travel journaling, so I decided to share all my sustainable tips, recommendations, and insights to help you plan the best wine-tasting itinerary for Mudgee in a more personal format. I’ve summarized everything at the end of the post. Make sure you pin this to your favorite wine or Australia Pinterest board to reference it the next time you want to get out of Sydney for a unique experience. Follow along as I share all the highlights from our family wine-tasting and meaningful agritourism trip in Mudgee, Australia.
WHAT WE’RE COVERING
- Mudgee is a wine and agricultural region just a few hours northwest of Sydney.
- The name comes from the Wiradjuri Indigenous people, meaning nest in the hills. Very few survived colonization.
- The viticultural history dates back to 1858
- Visiting Mudgee allows for ample opportunities for wine tasting, agritourism, nature, and cultural and colonial history activities.
- Mudgee is a great 5-day road trip from Sydney.
- Slow down and enjoy small winemakers and family-owned vineyards that excel in sustainability and hospitality.
Day 1: Road Trip Sydney to Mudgee
Not only is it incredibly easy to drive from Sydney to Mudgee, but the road trip makes for an excellent trip in itself, with plenty of scenic stops along the way.
Leaving our home base in Sydney’s incredible northern beaches early in the morning, we made our way through the urban sprawl. Our large multi-generational family group included me, Ganesh, and his entire family – parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew, so it wasn’t long before we made our first stop. I quickly learned that traveling with kids means stopping at the places with the best playgrounds, like the Marsden Brewhouse, which according to my niece, has an AWESOME playground. The rest of the gang just fueled up on coffee at this quick stop before hitting the road again.
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Finally, the skyscrapers gave way to the rural countryside and a vast natural expanse of the Blue Mountains National Park and Wollemi National Park. We opted for the scenic drive that followed the migrational path of the land’s traditional owners through the eucalyptus-filled forests and ancient mountain plateaus. Unfortunately, the road was named after the first white colonist to make this journey, Bells Line of Road or the B59, and not the Indigenous People that pioneered the trail
The first portion of Bells Line of Rd. took us through rural bushland and adorable agricultural towns like Bilpin. Starting to get peckish, we pulled into Hillbilly Cider Shed for lunch. The name speaks for itself as a literal cidery in a tin shed with excellent cider. Perhaps this set the tone for the week – unassuming excellence in Australia’s beverage and agricultural sector. We ordered a couple of vegetarian pizzas and cider flights and enjoyed the pairing outdoors on a picnic bench in a grassy field. Of course, on our way out, we loaded the car with a few cases of cider, even though we were heading to Mudgee, where we would have our fill of wine. You can never have too many drinks, right?
The winding road continued to cut through New South Wales’ finest national parks. Not short on scenic viewpoints, we took every opportunity to pull off to take in the vast landscape or stretch our legs. The Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens offer a relaxing and extended break from the car. You get those incredible views with the bonus of learning about Australia’s unique endemic flora at one of the oldest science institutes in the country.
Another great stop is the Mount Banks Picnic Area for those that prefer to save money with a packed lunch. If you have time in your day and energy in your legs, then the Mount Banks hike can be completed at this trailhead, but ensure you are dressed and properly prepared for hiking in extreme conditions.
Leaving the Bells Line of Rd. in our rearview mirror, we continued down route B59, passing numerous towns like Lithgow. Excited to get to the Mudgee Wine Festival, we drove non-stop to our final destination, except for a few bathrooms and playground breaks :). But stick around as we saved plenty of exciting and scenic stops for the drive home!
The last stretch of our road trip from Sydney to Mudgee took us through rolling green hills, farms, pastures, and glittery reservoirs. And finally, the stretches of vineyards appeared – we made it to Mudgee wine country! Let the wine tasting commence—but first, an important interlude.
What is in a Name? Mudgee and the First Nations of the Region
Mudge is a place name given to the region by the land’s traditional owners, The Wiradjuri People. The name comes from the word Moothi, which means “Nest in the Hills.” The name is appropriate as the fertile agricultural land provides a haven among the rolling green hills.
The Wiradjuru people were split into many clans and relied on the Cudgegong River for their food and source of water. The river remains a critical habitat for the platypus, red-necked turtles, and more of Australia’s native wildlife. Even as colonizers brutally entered their land, the Wiradjura people passed along their ancestral knowledge.
For this reason, colonizers were primarily successful in farming in the region. However, violence and the spread of smallpox devastated the entire Wiradjura population. The few that survived were forced into reservations after losing rights over their traditional hunting grounds and their ability to sustain their lifestyle.
As we explore Mudgee Wine Region, to enjoy the luxury of wine tasting and eating fine foods, it is important to acknowledge the land’s traditional owners, who gave their ancestral knowledge to benefit the region’s growing prosperity before they were killed. To learn more about the Wiradjura people and culture, you can use this culture map to visit art installations and cultural sites.
Checking Into Our Rustic, Renovated Farmhouse
As the early afternoon sun shifted overhead, we pulled the two cars onto a dirt road surrounded by vineyards. At the end of the road was our rustic Blue Wren Farmhouse, renovated for a large family farm stay. We first passed several small camping bungalows lining the driveway to accommodate couples.
Opening that old door to our farmhouse was exciting as we quickly settled into our home for the next few days. We had a large living and dining room, kitchen, family room, 5 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms. As with most family trips, we all raced to pick rooms that suited our needs and tastes and gathered outside on the patio. A swimming pool, outdoor dining area, fire pit, BBQ, and incredible views awaited. Perhaps the best part was that we stayed amid Blue Wren vineyards and farms. While we would certainly be using that large kitchen and cooking meals together, we were just a 2-minute walk from the Blue Wren Restaurant for excellent farm-to-table dining and specialty in-house wines produced on-site.
We didn’t stick around the house for too long, as we had the Flavors of Mudgee wine festival to attend in downtown Mudgee.
The Flavors of Mudgee Food and Wine Festival
The late afternoon glow lit up the historic bricks on the heritage buildings in downtown Mudgee. Walking toward the town center, more and more people joined us until we were in the midst of a crowd, converging to indulge in the Flavors of Mudgee. If you are more prepared than us, you would have purchased your tasting package and kids’ treat package ahead to avoid waiting in line and dealing with large groups of people and sold-out kid’s packages.
The tasting package is $25 and includes five drink tokens and a souvenir wine glass. You can use the tokens at any of the wine vendors.
It can be hard to choose from the hundreds of vendors from the growing region. Mudgee is known for its Aussie-style Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and big red blends. The region is also known for its mysterious buttery Chardonnay clone that was said to have been brought over from James Busby, the “Father of Australian Wine,” himself. One of the best parts of the region is that you’ll also find old grape varietals like Barbera, Sangiovese, and Pinot Gris, but with a fresh Australian take. I encourage you to stop wherever piques your interest; you can always get more tokens if needed.
While the event has food vendors, I should note that the year we visited, in 2022, the food vendors, in particular, seemed understaffed or underprepared. Thousands of people visit yearly for the festival, and most food stalls have massive lines of people. Food sometimes took over an hour, and we noticed many hangry people. So, I suggest you eat early, eat beforehand, or be prepared to wait if the lines are long.
We sampled wine to our heart’s content, finding some wines we enjoyed and others we weren’t fond of. I noted down the favorites and the ones we disliked to help us build an itinerary for the rest of the trip. As the colorful sunset exploded across the horizon, street performers came out to entertain. Some folk singers took over small stages; other areas had live jazz bands moving through the crowd. The live immersive experience was one of the better parts of the festival.
Wines and Terroir
As one of Australia’s more established wine-growing regions, the viticulture of Mudgee dates back to the mid-19th century.
Day 2: Small Family-Owned Wineries and Farm-to-Table Dining
We were up at dawn with the kids. Thankfully, despite the chaos that is traveling with several generations, we managed to enjoy a slow morning. Embracing that slow country life meant putting a pot of coffee to sip and savor in the early morning light on the terrace, followed by a big family breakfast.
After breakfast was consumed and pants were found, we headed out for the day. For the second day of our five-day tour of Mudgee, we are venturing to nearby Rylstone. Small, intimate, family-owned vineyards and a sleepy heritage town await us. Visiting Rylstone embodies all the principles of sustainable agritourism that can help revitalize rural economies and many other great perks.
If you don’t have a designated driver, as we did, then you can even catch the train throughout the region to visit some of these smaller towns. We first pulled up to the Naked Ladies Winery, where we had booked a table for a special outdoor live music event. Naked Ladies Winery is a small family-owned farm and vineyard. With only a handful of outdoor tables, surrounded by chicken coops, grazing pastures, vines, and stretches of farmland, you’ll feel right at home and part of their family.
Our hosts welcomed us and got us settled at our table with a couple of bottles, including their Rosé and specialty Chardonnay, which was the perfect wine to start our day. We were still a bit full of breakfast, but we had to sample some of their snack platters. As a small business, if you want to enjoy lunch with them, call ahead, and you can also enjoy pizza.
The kids played on the grassy lawn while bees flittered to and from the lavender bushes, and the Naked Lady flowers swayed in the breeze. Eventually, a family band took center stage, serenading us with folk songs. It might have been the happy buzz of wine or the intensity of the day’s heat, but looking around at the smiling faces of my family and the farm setting, I felt like I was center stage in a cheesy Rom-Com at a family wedding. Thankfully, our families get along, and I don’t have an evil mother-in-law.
Everyone agreed that we needed coffee, so after we settled the bill, the owner of Naked Lady Wines suggested we head into downtown Rylstone and visit a local coffee shop. I don’t have to be told twice to visit a historic town to support small businesses. Rylstone has plenty of coffee shops, but our host recommended The Saffron Kitchen, and we were not disappointed.
Energized by coffee, the next stop was at a French-style vineyard De Beaurepaire Wines, since French reds and near and dear to my heart. Down a long, dusty, and bumpy road lined with grapevines, we were greeted by farm workers waving at us from a distance. At the end of the road, we found the rustic yet refined tasting room offering a different ambiance from the farm at Naked Lady’s. My family settled on a large picnic bench surrounded by a lush lawn and art installations, and I went inside to get the wine for our self-guided tasting. De Beaurepaire Wines is named after the family founders with the same name. The family chose this region in Rylstone because the limestone bedrock, climate, and terroir are very similar to their homeland in Burgandy.
We booked the Lawn Bar experience, a self-guided tasting of pre-selected wines. You can, however, book a vineyard and tasting tour, a masterclass, or a specialty tasting. All this must be booked in advance – they do not take walk-ins or large groups. The pre-selected wines, surprisingly, weren’t exactly to my liking, so if I were to visit with just Ganesh, we would book a signature tasting for a more immersive experience like the farm tour. – But we had a dinner reservation to make back a the Blue Wren Restaurant.
The sunset exploded in incredible colors as we returned to our accommodation to eat dinner at the on-site restaurant. There was a large lawn and play area for kids outdoors, so as my niece and nephew ran out their extra energy, the rest ordered a lovely selection of vegetarian farm-to-table food and a couple of bottles of wine. Dinner was filled with great conversation as we watched the sunset fade from pink and blue to deep orange and yellow.
Walking back to our farmhouse, we spotted several kangaroos bouncing among the vineyards in the distance and bats flying overhead. A night of board games and more wine awaited us in our cozy home in the Australian hinterland.
Day 3: Honey, Biodynamic Wines, and Wetlands
Day three of our Mudgee wine-tasting itinerary focuses on the wineries around Mudgee. We also shake things up to enjoy alternative things in the Mudgee region. While wine tasting is undoubtedly the highlight of visiting Mudgee, you’ll want to take time to visit some of the natural protected areas, heritage sites, and other agricultural delicacies to round out the trip. Don’t worry; we managed to do all this, plus a lot of wine tasting.
After another slow morning and a quick dip in the pool, we rounded up the gang and drove to Mudgee Honey Haven. Pollinators are critical to the health and vitality of Mudgee and global food and agricultural systems. Supporting local, organic, and natural honey producers is one way to ensure the preservation of bee populations for generations to come. Stepping into the Mudgee Honey Haven was a delight to the senses; the entire store is stacked with local organic and sustainable honey, jams, chutneys, olives, olive oil, preserved fruit, wax products, beauty supplies, mead and teas, and so much more!
As I wandered through the store, helpful staff were on hand to educate me about local bees and products. My niece enjoyed the live bee hive display. We sampled some of the mead and honey ice creams before stocking up on plenty of goodies to take with us. They don’t sell wine on-site, but everything complimented local wines perfectly, so take the opportunity to purchase chutney, nuts, and honey to make a charcuterie board. Our niece and nephew enjoyed the outdoor mini golf course, made using repurposed hives. After playing a few rounds of chaotic family mini gold, we drove to our next stop.
Two giant blooming wisteria framed the grand entrance of Lowe Family Wines, housed in a tin barn. Walking up and setting eyes on this beautiful property furnished with vintage upcycled pieces, surrounded by a small lake, farm animals, and blocks of vineyards, I instantly knew this would be my favorite stop for the entire trip. Their reputation was only helped by being a family-owned property specializing in bio-dynamic farming practices and vegan bio wines.
To prevent the use of chemical pesticides, Lowe Family Wines starts with healthy and robust soil that naturally fosters productive vegetation growth. This concept reduces the need for fertilizer with a self-supporting agricultural system that strengthens the plants. The farm also relies on age-old farming practices that determine activities based on the astrological calendar to maximize a healthy return. Lowe is certified organic with these techniques, alongside other practices to reduce waste. They also have a great selection of vegan wines, making them my top choice for sustainable sipping in Mudgee.
Having called ahead to book a vegetarian picnic and tasting, we grabbed our basket of cheeses, spreads, bread, and nibbles from the staff and found a spot on the lawn. We snacked, explored the property, and challenged each other to lawn bowling. The tasting room and vineyards are located in the Tinja Farm complex. You could easily spend a whole day exploring the gardens, orchards, olive groves, and cork trees – visiting the farm animals, tasting wine, dining at the restaurant, and indulging at the on-site bakery.
After some exploring, we sat down for our wine tasting, which included their signature bio, vegan preservative-fee Shiraz. Add a taste of their Block 8 biodynamic Shiraz, Mudgee Red Gold, and Rosé.
After a satisfying afternoon at Lowe Family Wines and the Tinja Farms, the kiddos returned home with their parents for a long nap. Ganesh, myself, and his parents continued our wine tasting and exploration for the afternoon. After a great experience with Walter of Walter Wines at Flavors of Mudgee, we visited their vineyards next door to Lowe. Their cellar door is bright, modern, and chic. They have great sparking Chardonnay and Shiraz and a Cabernet, Merlot, and classic Shiraz collection.
Yeats Wine is also right next door, and their lovely outdoor patio and lawn with wood furniture is a delightful place to spend a lazy afternoon. Yeats is a small boutique family-owned producer. They specialize in estates wines from one of Mudgee’s oldest vineyards. Try their Riesling, Rosé, and of course, the Shiraz.
After a few tastings, we needed a bit of a break from wine, and our designated driver (thanks, Ganesh’s dad) took us to the Putta Bucca Wetlands. Sadly, this small pocket of restored habitat is just a fragment of the incredible ecosystem historically provided by the Cudegegon River. The area was converted into a Quarry by colonizers and recently restored. The conservation site is a habitat for the at-risk-of-extinction platypus and Eastern long-neck turtles. It is also an excellent spot for birding, so bring your binoculars. It is a tiny habitat with only about 1km of trails near some loud construction, but it is a nice natural escape and a glimpse into the past.
While the Honey Haven had a lot of produce from non-native honey bees, we managed to spot some native bees while on a walk at Putta Bucca. They were hard to photograph but were unlike any bee I’ve seen! The Putta Bucca wetlands and spaces with native biodiversity are critical in Australia. Can you spot the native bees in the photo below? They have a nest inside the hollowed-out branch.
Did you know the European honey bee is an introduced species in Australia? Australia has endemic pollinating bees that are not found anywhere else. These bees have evolved to pollinate Australia’s incredible flora over millions of years. Learn more about Australia’s unique bees and ongoing conservation efforts spearheaded by a 4-year-old’s curiosity.
We returned home to join the kids for a family night around the backyard campfire. I showed the kids how to toast marshmallows and make smores for the first time. It would have been a hit if marshmallows didn’t have such a “yucky texture.” We sat around the fire for hours, telling stories, drinking wine, and enjoying the plethora of wildlife that came and went from our site – from bats to cockatoos and kangaroos. Being in rural New South Wales was a breath of fresh air and the relaxing atmosphere we needed.
Day 4: Small Winemakers of Mudgee, Downtown, and More Tastings
Our day started with a democratic vote, as all family holidays should :) On the ballot was whether we should visit the historic gold-mining town of Gulgong. I am suspicious that my niece put it on the ballot for their 4.9-star-rated playground. Just kidding – but the town is full of heritage homes, gold mining history, museums, and more. However, we voted not to go because we hadn’t seen much of downtown Mudgee and decided that was the best way to spend our morning.
The first order of business during our time in downtown Mudgee, was coffee at Alby & Esthers, an adorable cafe tucked away in a brick inner courtyard off Market Street. If you didn’t have breakfast, this is also an excellent spot for brekky or brunch.
The four streets, lined with locally-owned small boutiques, cafes, breweries, restaurants, and art galleries, surrounding the Mudgee Clock Towner make up the central downtown area. While exploring downtown, we stopped at the Mudgee Art House, Lizzie Lulu Designs, Willow Collective, and wherever else caught our eye. We strolled along the Cudgegong River Walk and visited Lawson Park.
We dined outside the Square Cafe for an early lunch of tasty vegetarian food in a diner off the main drag. We were saving ourselves for more wine tastings in the afternoon, but the Mudgee Brewing Company might be a welcome break if you’ve had your fill of wine. Remember that most cellar doors close around 4 pm, so you could also eat lunch at a tasting room if you’ve booked a few tastings. We had a kidless afternoon to sneak in more tastings before things closed.
With food lining our stomachs, it was time for more wine tastings. Our first stop was the Mudgee Small Winemakers Center. Now this isn’t your standard cellar door. Mudgee is still a relatively rural region, especially compared to Margaret Valley or Hunter Valley. Many of this region’s wine growers and producers are small and off the beaten track. It can be hard for them to market their products, get people to visit their shop, or perhaps they don’t have room to sell their wine. That’s where Johnnie and Sally Furlong come in to save the day! The Furlong’s wanted a central location to market and sell their small-batch wine and help out their rural neighbors.
Stepping into what felt like an old-timey saloon with a dark wooden bar, old wine barrels repurposed for tables, and wicker chairs, we were greeted by a rosy-cheeked Johnnie. Within minutes of sitting down, we were one of the crew, chatting with Johnnie and the four other patrons like old friends. Despite cultural differences, the whole room found common ground in supporting small rural businesses and talking about and tasting some of Mudgee’s best-kept secrets.
Two of my favorite wines were the Two Furlongs Shiraz and Chardonnay, which featured commissioned art by Cheree Stokes and an Indigenous artist. In fact, Johnnie was an advocate for the surrounding Indigenous community, featuring many art pieces on both his wines and on the wall.
The Furlong’s have been in the wine industry for more than most in Mudgee, their expertise dating back to the late 1970s. Aside from trying the family’s award-winning wines like the Show Reserve Merlot, we also had access to other small producers like Rosebank, Black, and David Hook.
While most other tasting rooms and cellar doors require reservations and you to choose your tasting in advance, the relaxed and easy-going vibe at the Small Winemaker Center is exactly what I expect from the unpretentious wine industry in Australia. We came in, announced, paid $5 for a tasting, and got to sample the wines that appealed to us and then some. Sitting around the bar, Johnnie shared life stories from Mudgee and gave us plenty of local insider tips.
It was hard to pull ourselves away from this true gem of a place in the heart of the Mudgee wine region. But we bought our wines and made our way to the next stop.
Before returning to our farmhouse for the night, we visited Petersons Winery. While this is one of Mudgee’s oldest and most reputable wineries, the wines didn’t suit our taste. The sparkling Shiraz was a notable highlight, along with the historic patio and incredible view, but overall we found the service and wines better at some other locations. But, hey, with so many great reviews on Google, knowledgeable staff, and plenty of loyal customers, I recommend you still visit them because I am sure you will have an excellent experience!
Before heading home, if you have time, I recommend stopping by another favorite from the Flavors of Mudgee, Slow Fox Wines. The Australian country-chic cellar door has one of the best ambiances in Mudgee. They welcome kids and dogs. Slow Fox embodies the slow movement principles with small-batch, hand-picked, and hand-made wines. They are only open on weekends or by appointment otherwise. For $5, you can taste signature wines like The Blend, a Bordeaux style of Merlot, Cabernet, and Malbec. Rob and Kate are great hosts and will ensure a great tasting experience.
If you have more time in your day or during a tour trip, see if you can make it out to 791 Estate – with a reservation. Fiona and Brenden are incredibly welcoming, and I love their container-style cellar door. They can cater to vegan and vegetarian diets with their Rosé, Shiraz, and Sav Blanc.
After a long day of exploring the very best of Mudgee, we returned home. The Shankar crew (Ganesh, me, and his parents) were in charge of the kiddos while their parents went out for a much-needed date night in downtown Mudgee. We had a vegetarian BBQ and made banana boats in the fire back at the farmhouse. Storm clouds rolled in, painting an incredible backdrop for our last night.
Day 5: Leaving Mudgee, and Road Trip Home
We enjoyed savoring coffee on the terrace for the last slow morning at the farmhouse as Blue Wrens flitted about in the lemon tree bushes. The namesake birds of the farm and vineyards were cheeky yet adorable and a welcomed addition to the wildlife around the farm. After splishing and splashing in the pool with the kiddos we packed our bags and hit the road. Check-in and check-out of Blue Wren Farmhouse was a breeze, as was communication with the hosts; I would highly recommend staying with them if you are visiting Mudgee with a large group.
We stopped at High Valley Cheese Co. This locally owned and operated fromagerie smoked cheddar, blue cheeses, soft cheeses, and crumbly goat cheese with locally-sourced milk. Stop in for a cheese tasting, or grab some to take home to pair with your wine as you reminisce about your time in Mudgee. For one last coffee, before you leave, you must stop at The Coffee Burrow for the best coffee in Mudgee.
The first stop on the road trip home is Pearson’s Lookout Over Capertee Valley. This is a quick pullout to stretch your legs and enjoy the incredible view over Captertee National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park.
Lunch on the way home was at The Lighgow Tin Shed. After our satisfying vegetarian lunch, we drove to the Hassan Walls Lookout. The road was precarious as we ventured off the paved route and slowly drove 4km up the mountains to the lookout point. We took about 20 minutes to walk around the walkway and to the rocky outcrop viewpoints. The view is incredible!
I hope you venture into the Blue Mountains National Park if you have more time. On a previous trip, we spent several days in the Blue Mountains and planned this nature-based itinerary with the help of our local friend. If you follow my itinerary, you will spend a few days hiking and soaking in the culture of the historic towns. Otherwise, just continue your drive home or home base in Sydney. For us, that is the incredible Northern Beaches.
Responsible and Sustainable Travel Tips
Mudgee is a great location to embrace slow, sustainable agritourism and connect.
- Take time to learn about the Indigenous Traditional Owners
- Slow down and stay a while – 5 days is a great starting point to enjoy and appreciate what makes the region unique. Additionally, slow travel is a mindset; 1-2 people operate many cellar doors. Relax, be patient, and embrace a slower pace of life, while still getting that excellent customer service.
- Book in advance – all cellar doors, wineries, and most restaurants require or appreciate advanced bookings. Many of these small businesses can not accommodate large unexpected groups. Respect their time and business and book or call in advance.
- Respect the locals – Mudgee is an up-and-coming, quite, and slow agricultural area. Many shops and services are for residents are well.
- Support small businesses – this is pretty hard not to do in Mudgee, to be honest, but make sure to take action by spending money and leaving reviews!
- Visit and learn about biodynamic and organic farming at Lowe Family Wines
- Go vegetarian with great food at Blue Wren and 791 Estate
- Enjoy nature and respect wildlife such as cockatoos, wallabies, roos, and conservation efforts at Putta Bucca Wetlands.
- Learn about rural agricultural life by seeking meaningful connections with residents and farmers.
When visiting small rural towns like Rylstone, it is essential to remember that these are real towns for actual residents and not tourist hubs. Mudgee is an up-and-coming wine region, and many places haven’t adjusted to large-scale tourism, nor do they always want large-scale tourism. Visit and support these places but be mindful and respect locals and their wishes to maintain a town that is first and foremost for them, not you.
Additionally, some of these wineries are very small. Both places we visited in Rylstone only had one or two people working, who also doubled as the owners. Embrace the slow, leisurely pace of traveling through the region. Let wineries know you are coming ahead of time, reserve your tastings, and be patient so that they can accommodate you. Many of them require reservations and advanced notice.
Quick Reference Guide for 5 Perfect Days in Mudgee
To long didn’t read
To summarize our incredible five days in Mudgee, this quick reference guide has you covered all the best things to do in Mudgee, the best wineries to visit in Mudgee, where to stay, and more.
Where to Stay in Mudgee
Mudgee is ripe for wonderful agritourism stays, with many vineyards and cellar doors having on-site accommodation.
Of course, I highly recommend the Blue Wren Farmhouse, where we stayed for larger groups. This luxurious yet relaxed renovated farmhouse came with all the bells and whistles, like a firepit, swimming pool, BBQ, large kitchen, plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms, and sitting area. You can’t go wrong with a fantastic location outside downtown Mudgee, close to dozens of vineyards, and with their on-site restaurant! If you are a couple or a duo of friends, then don’t miss their eco-glamping pods!
If they are booked or not quite what you are looking for, then you can try a highly-rated accommodation downtown, a more rural glamping stay, or get off the beaten path in Rylstone at one of my recommended wineries.
The Best Time to Visit Mudgee
One of the best times to visit Mudgee for wine tasting is during their food and wine month, which ends in the grand festival, The Flavors of Mudgee. Their food and wine month lasts all of September, and you will find plenty of events to satiate your inner foodie this month. Whether you’re looking for Wednesday Wine Trivia, or dining specials, September is the best month to visit.
We visited in September. While I thought it would be chaotic and busy, we still managed to visit all the wineries we wanted and get reservations for dinner, and other than the main event, the Flavors of Mudgee, we always felt relaxed.
Worry not if you can’t make it for Mudgee Food and Wine Month. The food and wine you get to sample are open year-round.
- Summer will come with more extreme heat and warmer temperatures, calling for a relaxed pace of exploration and lots of breaks to hydrate.
- Shoulder seasons of Australian spring and autumn will arguably have the best weather and events.
- The low season is winter, from June to August. Temperatures can get very cool after sunset, so park in warmer clothing, but enjoy the low crowds.
Where to Eat in Mudgee
We eat many of our meals at home after picking up food from a local supermarket or grabbing snacks from the wineries. However, we did eat at and I can recommend:
- Blue Wren Restaurant – modern, rustic dining with great veggie options and wine pairings.
- The Parking Lot Cafe and Alby & Esthers – are tasty brunch and lunch options in downtown Mudgee.
- The Coffee Burrow for the best coffee
- If you book in advance, all the wineries we visited have lunch or snack options, including a picnic lunch offered by Lowe Family Wine, lunch at Naked Lady, and more.
Vineyards Not to Miss in Mudgee
I already mentioned all these in my post, but to summarize our favorite wineries:
- Lowe Family – an incredible agritourism experience, including wine tasting, farm animal encounters, nature walks, picnic lunches, and biodynamic wines for a great overall sustainable choice!
- Naked Lady – Small intimate family-owned winery in Rylstone.
- Blue Wren – Great selection of wines featuring Mudgee classics in a modern farmhouse setting.
- Walter Wines – Modern tasting room with nibbles and good wine; you’ll get to meet Walter himself.
- Yeats Winery – their lovely outdoor patio and lawn is a delightful place to spend a lazy afternoon.
- Slow Fox – Good wines with great hosts, all wrapped up in an Australian-chic tasting room.
- 791 Estate – A cellar door in a container. Couple-owned and great for vegan and vegetarian diets!
- Mudgee Small Winemaker Center – A must-visit for a great selection of small wines not found elsewhere. The owners are chatty and very welcoming.
- De Beaurepaire Wines – French-inspired wines in a charming, peaceful retreat. Not my favorite wine, but a lovely experience and host.
- Petersons Winery – One of Mudgee’s oldest and most iconic spots, was interestingly our least favorite, but they seem to have a dedicated fan base!
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Getting Around Mudgee
If you don’t have a designated driver as we did, you can get between towns in the Mudgee region, like Rylstone and Mudgee, via train, but you would have difficulty getting to the vineyards. I would suggest booking a guided wine-tasting tour.
Other Things to Do in Mudgee
- Explore Downtown Mudgee
- Visit Rylstone & Gulgong
- Walk the Putta Bucca Wetlands
- Taste Honey at Mudgee Honey Haven
- Experience the Flavors of Mudgee
- Cheese Tasting at High Valley Cheese Co
- Mudgee Farmers Market
- Walk Along the Cudgegong River
- Road Trip – with lots of great stops along the way
Discuss and Share
I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect itinerary for the Mudgee wine region in New South Wales, Australia. The Mudgee wine region is a great road trip destination accessible from Sydney. Spend several days in Mudgee wine tasting, eating farm-to-table cuisine, sleeping in a rustic farmhouse, trying local honey and cheese, enjoying nature, and exploring historic towns. Mudgee is a great place to enjoy sustainable agricultural practices and supports small family-owned vineyards. Have you visited Mudgee? Let me know your favorite winery in the comments!
- Guide to Blue Mountains National Park
- Top Wineries and cellar doors to visit in Mudgee – Coming Soon!
Love this itinerary! I’m not the biggest wine drinker but it still looks like such a beautiful area that can be so worth visiting regardless.
The great thing about Mudgee, is there is still plenty to do if you don’t enjoy wine – from honey farms, to nature walks, cultural experiences, and more! Mudgee has something for everyone!
I’d love to go wine tasting in Mudgee! This is a lovely idea and an informative post. I’m saving it for later. Thank you!
Mudgee is such a great place for wine tasting!
I had no idea Australia even had a wine region! Looks beautiful!
Yes, Australia has some amazing wine regions! Mudgee is a really fun experience for wine tasting and alternative activities when you need a break from the wine tasting.
We definitely want to do some wine tasting when we get back to Australia. Great to read about the Mudgee wine region so close to Sydney. Five days sounds like the perfect amount of time to really enjoy the area and wine tasting at different spots.
Mudgee is a great option for wine tasting in Australia. 5 days was just the right amount of time to get in a lot of tastings and also see some of the alternative things to do in Mudgee like nature walks, and other agritourism adventures.