Mudgee: it’s fun to say, a good spot to play and – if you’re the thirsty type – a truly scenic place to call it a day.

Only a three-hour drive north-west of Sydney CBD‘s overcrowded streets and egos, Mudgee is a quaint lil’ town famed for its lush wineries and country charm. For any kind of city slicker, it’s a nice and slowed-down escape from the daily punish that is our working lives.

Given it’s just the right amount of driving distance for a good weekend getaway, below’s what should be at the top of your list when it comes to 48 hours in Mudgee.

GRAB BREKKY AT ALBY & ESTHERS

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☕️ #mudgee

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Alby & Esthers is so damn cute I want to roll it up into a little ball and marry it. Nestled down a lil’ laneway – don’t worry, there’s a sign if you’re a bit of a lemon in the discovery department – the sweet cafe-by-day, wine-bar-by-night is decorated with a treetop roof, fairy lights, vintage sofa chairs and plenty of newspapers. You’ll feel right at home, whether that’s your own or your grandma’s.

HAVE A STROLL THRU THE LOCAL FARMER’S MARKETS

They’re only open on the third Saturday of every month – so don’t sue me if you go and they’re not on – but Mudgee Farmers Market is worth the visit should your vacay dates align. All the local producers set up bright and early to showcase their goods and have a yarn with anyone and everyone who’ll listen. From gin to cheese stalls, flowers and local choons, it’s all damn-well happening at this church ground – smack-bang in the middle of the town centre.

DEVOUR THE GREATEST CHEESE PLATTER EVER AT CELLAR DOOR BY GILBERT

Believe me when I tell you: I’ve seen a cheese plate or 72 in my life. This one takes the chopping board, though. It definitely suffices as lunch, and is a good starting point for a wine tour given it’ll line you stomach and, you know, you can do a tasting there as well. But more on that below.

DO A WINE TOUR, DUH

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It would be rude to go to Mudgee and not do a wine tour in some way, shape or form. I could not recommend doing a full or half-day (know your limits) wine tour via Country Escapes Tours enough – Sandy is by far one of the greatest humans I’ve ever met and it will feel more like she’s your mate than your driver. The half-day will take you to Burnbrae Wines, Moothi EstateBaker Williams Distillery (if you need a vino breather, fair) and finish it off at the best and most aesthetic of them all, Lowes Wine.

TAKE A BREAK FROM WINE AT MUDGEE BREWING CO

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There’s a lot of wine in Mudgee – like a lot a lot – so it’s only natural that you might want to take a break. Somewhere in town to do that is Mudgee Brewing Co. They do beer tastings but also have an excellent dinner menu, which you can chow down either inside the exposed-brick, warehouse-style building or outside in a cute lil’ laneway. Start your night here.

GET LIT AT THE LOCAL SINKING HOLES

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From The Oriental Hotel (which has 8-person accomm right next door – rally the crew) to Roth’s Wine Bar, there are plenty of places to knock one back. Want to take it to the next level? Enter The Woolpack Hotel.

I’ve been to enough small towns (and kinda grew up in one) to know that they all have a truly dank local, or at least that one place where everyone ends up. Woolpack is that. End up there if you want your shoes to get stuck to the ground, or, you know, just wanna kick on / find someone to take home.

HAVE A HUNGOVER FEED AT THE COFFEE HOUSE 

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Located just pissing distance from town but conveniently on your way out of Mudgee is The Coffee House At Parkview. It’s in the gardens of the newly renovated 1859 Parkview Hotel, meaning that free-flowing sunlight will force your mind and soul to wake tf up, which could be necessary given your actions the night before. The coffee’s ace and so are the pancakes. Hell, get a milkshake too – you deserve it.

TOP UP YOUR TUM WITH RYLSTONE’S ICONIC DUMPLINGS

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Anyone who’s ever been to 29 Nine 99 (which is quite a lot of people around the area – it’s iconic), will tell you just how damn good the dumplings are. Proof? The inside walls are decked out with multiple magazine clippings covering their cuisine, and my stomach just about had a party during the yum cha dumpling dishes filled with everything from prawns to spinach.

It’s not exactly in Mudgee, but, if you’re heading back to Sydney, it’s 100% on the way in a lil’ town called Rylstone.

TAKE A DIP AT WOLLEMI NATIONAL PARK

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There are public pools in Mudgee for sure, but Wollemi National Park is only a slight detour en route home and a total vibe. Whether you want to take a kayak around Cudgegong River with Southern Cross Kayaking  or simply take a Princess Fiona-esque dip in Dunns Swamp, it’s 9/10 worth the dirt road to get there – depending on your wheels.

That being said, ten points if you can find the hidden watering hole – dubbed Lue Quarry – on Lue Road which gets you from Mudgee to Rylstone. It’s a local favourite.

I couldn’t find it though, no matter how many times I told my GPS to suck a fat one.

This writer travelled to Mudgee as a guest of Visit Mudgee Region.

Image: Instagram / @paul.cavalier, @holdinghands.br