From handmade cheeses and olive oils to colonial architecture and influential art, Muswellbrook in the beautiful Upper Hunter is a delicious heritage destination. The charming town is near vineyards, olive groves and champion horse studs. UNESCO World Heritage wilderness is within easy reach, too.
On the banks of the Hunter River, Muswellbrook is less than three hours’ drive north from Sydney and 90 minutes from Newcastle Airport. Or you can take a train from Sydney and rent a car in Muswellbrook and explore cellar doors, enchanting rural towns and magnificent national parks.
The food and wine experiences in this region of NSW are delectable. Visit Hunter Belle Cheese in Muswellbrook for cheeses made by hand from the milk of local Swiss Brown cows. You’ll find a tasty selection, from creamy camembert to crumbly cheddars to moreish Blue Moon, a blue-vein cheese.
A short drive southwest, on the way to the vineyards around Denman, is olive oil producer Pukara Estate and its enticing tasting room. The is also a fun rural experience, from produce competitions to show jumping. The country show is held two weeks before Easter.
Other wonderful things to do and see include the 4.5km Muswellbrook Heritage Walk, which has 40 historical points of interests. You’ll discover colonial buildings such as the 1869-built railway station and grand residences. St Alban’s Church was designed by the famous English architect Gilbert Scott.
Stop at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, built in 1871 as the School of Arts. Inside is the Max Watters collection of works by influential Australian contemporary artists, including John Perceval, Grace Cossington Smith and Ken Whisson, to name just a few. Touring exhibitions are held regularly.
The town is a great base for exploring the Upper Hunter’s attractions. 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, which is 30 minutes’ drive north.
On scenic drives are lovely rural towns such as Merriwa to the west and Aberdeen and Scone to the north. UNESCO-listed rainforest is a leisurely drive northeast of Muswellbrook. The Mount Royal and Barrington Tops national parks are in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.