Where to play
Meander along the creek at The Drip Gorge, a 30 minute drive north of Mudgee, to see water drops falling from the top of the towering sandstone formation into the pools below. On the way, stop to admire paintings by Brett Whiteley on the rock opposite the natural archway. A few hundred metres further along Cassilis Road you’ll find much older art in the form of faded Aboriginal hand prints painted onto the rock.
Also about a 30 minute drive from Mudgee, Gulgong Pioneers Museum gives a fascinating insight into the time of early settlers. Housed in an old bakery and produce store, it has horse drawn carriages, an old schoolhouse and historic kitchen utensils, farming and mining equipment on display.
In Orange, order a gourmet picnic with homemade lemonade, chocolate brownies with fresh seasonal berries, and baguettes from Country Food Trails and head to Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area. You can do a two kilometre round trip hike from Federal Falls campground area to see the impressive waterfall. It’s also worth exploring the ancient limestone caves at Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve.
Where to shop
In the former railway station, Art and Crafts Mudgee is a cooperative gallery featuring the works of almost 30 local artists and artisans, while Whatever Mudgee sells homewares, leather goods, rugs, art, cowhide products, clothes, jewellery and hand and body products.
Mudgee Farmers Markets is held in the grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church on the third Saturday of each month, with stallholders selling everything from local honey to clothes. The Small Winemakers Centre, just outside town, is a great place to taste and buy wine from several vineyards in one stop.
In Orange, Cook Park Guildry, in historic Bastick Cottage, is an arts and crafts centre where you can buy handmade jam, cards, knitted products and pottery. The former Masonic hall is home to The Sonic, which opened in 2016 and includes three businesses – iglou, JUMBLED and Nimrods – selling clothes, homewares and coffee.
The Orange Farmers Market is also held on the second Saturday of every month from 8.30am to midday, at either Northcourt or the Showground, with around 60 stallholders offering their wares.
Where to stay
Mudgee’s boutique hotel Cobb & Co Court has beautifully decorated rooms circling a stone courtyard where stagecoaches were once kept, and a fantastic restaurant, The Wineglass. A little further down Market St, the seven suite Parkview Hotel can be found in a restored heritage building (circa 1870).
Just 1km from the centre of Mudgee, , and set on 30 acres of land, Parklands Resort Mudgee offers a four star accommodation experience. All rooms have access to private balconies offering views of the manicured gardens and surrounding Mudgee Hills and makes a great base to explore the nearby wineries.
A 10 minute drive west of Orange, the five bedroom Black Sheep Inn Bed and Breakfast is in a converted shearing shed, or you can stay in the colourful two bedroom Whispering Moon Cottage, which is the former shearers’ quarters.
In town, De Russie Boutique Hotel has 25 self contained apartments ranging from studios to three bedroom family suites. For something more basic, stay in a log cabin with a fireplace at Canobolas Mountain Cabins.
Image credit: Destination NSW