Once a major junction on the convict-built Great North Road, the historic village of Wollombi now moves at a slower pace. Stroll its well-preserved streets, enjoy lively festivals and visit tasty markets. It’s part of the Wollombi Valley in Australia’s oldest wine region and is close to the World Heritage-listed Yengo National Park.
History and heritage
Wollombi will charm you with cafes, shops and a country pub as well as many fine 19th century buildings such as St Michael’s Church, St John’s Church and the Wollombi Endeavour Museum, the former courthouse. Pick up a map from the museum and follow the easy 1km heritage walk around town.
Food and wine
On the banks of Wollombi Brook, the family-operated Wollombi Wines hand-picks semillon and shiraz grapes from low-yield vines first planted in 1994. The Undercliff Winery is on the banks of Yengo Creek and planted the iconic Hunter Valley varieties in 1990, and then other grape varieties.
At the Wollombi Markets, you can browse and taste local produce, including wine, cheese, jams, bread and smallgoods. The market is held on the Monday of each long weekend (Easter, June and October) and on Australia Day. In addition to fresh produce and artisan goods, there are stalls selling locally made handicrafts and other gifts.
Things to do
For outdoor adventure, the spectacular Yengo National Park is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Enjoy bushwalking, mountain biking or 4WD touring in the park. One of the best walking trails is the Finchley Cultural Walk to significant Aboriginal rock engravings.
You can time your visit with festivals, too. The annual Wollombi Music Festival in September has been wowing audiences since 2010 with great artists and bands. Another annual drawcard is the Sculpture in the Vineyards, a free 16-day outdoor exhibition in November across four vineyards.
Getting there and where to stay
Wollombi is just under two hours’ drive north of Sydney. You can also fly into Newcastle Airport and hire a car for the 80min drive. There are plenty of accommodation options, from vineyard cottages and farmstays to tranquil retreats, luxury resorts and beautifully restored Georgian colonial building in the heart of the village.