Set on the banks of the Hunter River, Morpeth was once one of the country’s busiest river ports. Today, this picturesque town is known for its beautifully preserved historic buildings, stylish shopping and a buzzing dining scene.
Step back in time along the Morpeth Heritage Walk, covering 25 significant sites across the town. Learn the interesting stories behind buildings dating back to the 1800s, look out for colonial hitching posts for horses and visit Queens Wharf, one of Australia’s most important inland wharves prior to the introduction of the railway. You’ll also see the striking Morpeth Bridge, a timber truss bridge dating back to the turn of the century.
The Morpeth Museum is in the former courthouse, and is home to exhibitions on the river port’s history and other heritage. Morpeth was the birthplace of the iconic Arnott’s biscuit brand; visit the original 1850s bakehouse to learn about its history or take a sourdough baking class with current owner and descendant Stephen Arnott. Sample more local specialties, like ginger beer, fudge and jam, or just relax in the beautifully restored tearoom inside the 170-year-old Campbell’s Store.
The pretty streets are lined with boutiques offering fashion, homewares, jewellery and local art. For rarities and local treasures, browse the Morpeth Antique Centre inside Campbell’s Store, or admire the latest works at Morpeth Gallery. If you’re travelling from Newcastle, Nova Cruises offers a delightful day cruise on selected dates throughout the year. Admire the riverside scenery, cruise under the Morpeth Bridge and spend time exploring the town.
Start the day with a coffee beside the river at Common Grounds or sip on a frothy milkshake at the Morpeth Milk Bar. For something a little stronger, visit the Morpeth Wine Cellar and Moonshine Distillery where you can taste a selection of local drops. Stop for a cool drink at the Commercial Hotel, home to the Morpeth Brewery, which produces distinctive and tasty hand-crafted beers.
More excellent local wines are on the menu at Boydell’s Cellar Door and Restaurant. Set inside a charming 1820s slab hut, they offer wine tastings, bar snacks and a restaurant with a chic contemporary Australian menu.
Morpeth is a two-hour drive north of Sydney and around 50 minutes from Newcastle. You can also catch the train from Sydney to Maitland, via Newcastle, and then a connecting bus, which takes around four hours. Or fly into Newcastle Airport and hire a car for the 30-minute drive. Places to stay include a boutique hotel, stylish holiday cottages and pub rooms.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.