The beautiful Wollombi Valley is in Australia’s oldest wine region and home to rolling vineyards, cellar doors, fun festivals, tasty markets and convict heritage. The historic village is near the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Yengo National Park, where you’ll find bushwalking and mountain bike trails.
On scenic Tourist Drive 33, Wollombi village traces its colonial heritage to the convict-built Great North Road, which linked Sydney to the Hunter Valley. Surveyed in 1825, the road was finished in 1836 and traversed 264km. About 720 convicts – some chained – laboured on the road in the bush.
Wollombi retains its colonial past in fine buildings, including St Michael’s Church, St John’s Church and the Endeavour Museum, the former courthouse. Accommodation options suit various budgets, and you can even stay in a beautifully restored Georgian colonial building in the heart of the village.
Two hours’ drive north of Sydney and 80 minutes west of Newcastle Airport, Wollombi will charm you with cafes, shops and a country pub. The vineyards and cellar doors include Wollombi Wines and Undercliff Winery – both offer cottages to stay in for a perfect midweek or weekend escape.
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 monthly Wollombi Markets, you can browse and taste local produce, including wine, cheese, jams, bread and small goods. The market is held in the second Sunday of the month. In addition to the fresh produce and artisan goods, there are stalls selling locally made handicrafts and other gifts.
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.
For more 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.