In picturesque riverside Paterson you’ll discover fascinating heritage, from grand colonial buildings to pretty parks, vintage trains and famous poetry. Enjoy old country pubs, delightful cafes and cosy accommodation in this charming town in the beautiful Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region.
A busy inland port in colonial times, Paterson’s eponymous river rises in the nearby Barrington Tops, which is part of the UNESCO Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The arrival of the railway in 1911 ended the steam boats travelling between Paterson, Morpeth and Newcastle.
A delightful way to explore the historic town is on the Paterson self-guided walk. There are 20 points of interest, from colonial churches and homesteads to early 20th century buildings and a First World War memorial. At lovely John Tucker Park are picnic tables and barbecue facilities by the river.
In the Paterson Court House Museum, open on Sundays, is a permanent exhibition on Australian poet Dorothy Mackellar, who as a teenager visited the family retreat at nearby Torryburn. A breaking drought in the area inspired the memorable lines in her famous poem My Country.
One of Australia’s finest collections of colonial farm buildings, dating back to 1822, is at Tocal Homestead. Set among fig trees on a vast rural property overlooking the river, the homestead is open on Sundays from March to November. Groups may tour at any time by appointment.
For rail memorabilia, Paterson Rail Motor Museum is intriguing. On the third Saturday of the month, explore old steam and diesel trains at the Rail Motor Society Open Day. You’ll find other charming events during the year. There is a nine-hole golf course, and the vineyards are a scenic drive away.