Our Easter long weekend was spent enjoying the scenery and tasting the flavours found in the Mudgee Region of Central Western New South Wales. I hadn't visited Mudgee since friends Jo and Glyn got married there, 23 years ago. How time flies! Since my last visit it was easy to see that the local wine industry has boomed, while a complimentary gourmet food scene has developed along side it.

Gulgong emporium Gulgong gold mine Gulgong ten dollar town 

This was a family camping trip so I didn’t spend the entire time admiring the local food and wine, in fact I barely scratched the surface. We started out by exploring Gulgong, the iconic town which once appeared on Australia’s ten dollar note. Many of the main street buildings still look like they did in yesteryear.

gulgong ten dollar town Gulgong Shopfront

The Gulgong Pioneer Museum impressed us with its huge collection of early Australian artefacts from every walk of life. This museum is not to be missed if you are ever in the area.

gulgong pioneer museum gulgong pioneer museum gulgong pioneer museum

After coffee in Gulgong, we ventured on past Ulan to bushwalk beside the Goulburn River. A bush track led us past a magnificent sandstone gorge into “The Drip”. The drip is a sandstone wall which drips spring water from above, into the pools below. This walk was magical, it took me a while to get there as I was constantly stopping to take photos.

The Drip Ulan NSW The Drip Ulan NSW The Drip Ulan NSW

The Drip Ulan NSW The Drip Ulan NSW The Drip Ulan NSW

When we returned to the car park we rested with a picnic before a short drive to a nearby Aboriginal site, Hands on Rock. This is a significant Wiradjuri rock art site. Many hand prints along the wall and roof of the cave are in good condition and can be seen quite clearly. A viewing platform has been built so visitors can view the historical prints without causing any damage. Keep your eyes peeled for the wombat holes nearby.

Picnic at The Drip Ulan NSW Hands on Rock Ulan Hands on Rock Ulan

Our tent was pitched at the big 4 Holiday Resort on the outskirts of Mudgee. I cooked dinner each night in the holiday park’s camp kitchen. This facility really made it easy to whip up food that was quite luxurious for camping. 

Pork and fried rice Pork and fried rice mudgee WINE

On Saturday we decided to go gold panning in historical Hill End, we made time to browse the Mudgee Fine Food Markets on the way. Good coffee and food tastings were available at the gourmet food stalls. I even got to try a cocoa bean.

Mudgee Fine food Markets Mudgee Fine food Markets Mudgee Fine food Markets

Mudgee Fine food Markets Mudgee Fine food Markets Mudgee Fine food Markets

Mr Nine 9 enjoyed tucking into freshly a made South American Arepa (corncake) stuffed with scrambled egg.

Mudgee Fine food Markets Arepa Mudgee Fine food Markets Arepa

Our other purchases were locally made jam, tapenade, curried pistachios and rocky road. The pistachios were eaten before we arrived in foggy Hill End.

Mudgee Fine food Markets MM mudge roses easter2015 Mudgee Fine food Markets

Gold was first discovered in Hill End in 1851 and prospecting continues today. We joined a tour through the Born Loser, an old unused and unsuccessful gold mine. Mr Nine was detirmined to find gold at the pubic prospecting area just outside town.

Hill End NSW Hill End Bald Hill Gold Mine Hill End Bald Hill Gold Mine

HE mudgee goldmine easter2015 Hill End gold panning  Gold panning at Hill End

We took it easy on Sunday. After shopping for local honey we met up with my friend Jo and her family for lunch at the Lawson Park Hotel. Jo, who now lives in Dubbo, was in Mudgee visiting her mum for easter. What a lovely coincidence.

Happy Easter mudgee honey   

Jo and I met during our nursing training at Auburn Hospital in the late eighties. We were both young country girls of around 19 at the time. I have fond memories of Jo lacquering my hair and teaching me how to apply 17 shades of eyeshadow before we went out dancing. We often cried together missing our country homes too.

17 04 girls2 17 4 girls 17 6 wedding

Lawson Park Hotel’s specialty is their grill. My husband ordered the T-bone and I had the pork belly. Serving sizes were generous, typical of country hospitality.

Lawson Hotel Mudgee 17 04GIRLS3 Mudgee lawson hotel Steak 

After lunch we cruised around the wineries. Another local friend Hazel suggested I try the wine at The Farmers Daughter. I purchased a case of their chardonnay finding it a lovely easy drinking crisp white wine. Recently I pledged to only purchase Australian Wines, in particular, New South Wales wine as I wish to support the local product. We have so much good wine to choose from right here in our home state.

mudgee mead  The Farmers Daugher Mudgee 

The leaning oak dairy and winery The Leaning oak Mudgee The Leaning Oak Dairy Mudgee

We also found beautiful goat cheese at the Leaning Oak Dairy and Winery. This was a true paddock to plate experience. Dinner that night was made using the beautiful soft goats cheese fresh from the farm. Combined with the limited ingredients from the  the esky, I managed to make a memorable goats cheese cabonara, so delicious. 

The Leaning Oak Mudgee Goats chesse cabonara  

Easter Monday was a washout. We hoped to explore part of Wollemi National Park, Dunns Swamp, but an electrical storm hit as we arrived. I don’t know why such an unattractive name has be given to such a beautiful place.

Cafe 47 Rylestone Cafe 47 Rylestone

Instead of bushwalking we settled for coffee in Rylestone. I noticed many of the heritage buildings within Rylestone were made from stone. The town had a nostalgic artistic feel to it. We ordered coffee at Cafe 47. The cafe come gallery had a vintage decor and locally sourced menu.

Cafe 47 Mudgee Cafe 47 Mudgee Cafe 47 Mudgee

I couldn't just have coffee when I saw an order of scones leave the kitchen. The jam on those scones was the best I'd tried in a while. The owner told me she made the jam herself from locally grown plums.

R mudgee scones easter2015 Cafe 47 Mudgee

Back at camp we made the most of the last afternoon just being lazy and kicking back with some Mudgee wine. The perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. Before we knew it the long weekend was over and we were heading home to dry out our wet tent.

The Mudgee Region is the perfect destination for food, wine, history and nature lovers. For more information on the region click here.