From mouthwatering handmade cheeses and olive oils to colonial architecture and influential art, beautiful Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter is the perfect escape. The heritage town is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and champion horse studs with national parks within easy reach.
The food and wine experiences in this region of NSW are renowned. Visit Hunter Belle Cheese in Muswellbrook for gourmet cheeses made by hand from the milk of local Swiss Brown cows. Indulge in creamy camembert, crumbly cheddars and the moreish Blue Moon, a blue-vein cheese.
A short drive southwest, on the way to the vineyards around Denman, is Pukara Estate and its enticing olive oil tasting room. The Upper Hunter Regional Show, held two weeks before Easter, is also a fun day out with produce competitions and show jumping.
Set out on the 4.5km Muswellbrook Heritage Walk and take in 40 historical points of interest. You’ll discover fascinating colonial buildings such as the 1869-built railway station as well as St Alban’s Church, designed by famous English architect Gilbert Scott.
Visit the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, built in 1871 as the School of Arts. Inside you’ll find the Max Watters collection of works by influential Australian contemporary artists, including John Perceval, Grace Cossington Smith and Ken Whisson. Touring exhibitions are held regularly.
The town is a great base for exploring the Upper Hunter’s many attractions. Take a scenic drive and discover lovely rural towns such as Merriwa to the west and Aberdeen and Scone to the north. Heritage-listed national parks Mount Royal and Barrington Tops are a leisurely drive northeast of Muswellbrook.
On the banks of the Hunter River, Muswellbrook is less than three hours’ drive north of Sydney and 90 minutes from Newcastle Airport. Or you can take a train from Sydney and rent a car in Muswellbrook to explore cellar doors, enchanting rural towns and magnificent national parks.
You’ll find accommodation to suit various budgets, and plenty of places to stay in the region, from luxury retreats to campgrounds. A popular spot for camping, fishing and boating is Lake Glenbawn, 30 minutes’ drive north.