A lovely rural town with wide tree-lined streets, Scone is best known as the horse capital of Australia. Home to dozens of studs and world-class thoroughbred breeders, this beautiful area in the Upper Hunter celebrates its equine heritage with annual events such as the Scone Horse Festival.
The festival in May includes the Scone Cup Carnival, a two-day event that attracts many fine racehorses. The thrilling carnival is a fabulous opportunity to dress up and enjoy the spectacle. Stay a few extra days and explore scenic drives and magnificent national parks.
The Upper Hunter is also one of the biggest horse-breeding regions in the world. The champion mare Winx, one of the greatest racehorses of all time, was raised here at Coolmore in Jerry Plains, south of Scone and Muswellbrook.
Drop into the Scone Visitor Information and Horse Centre for helpful tips and brochures on all the wonderful things to do and see in the area. Another delightful way to explore the pretty streets and heritage buildings is by bike, which you can rent from the visitor information centre.
Towarri National Park, just north of Scone, is home to abundant wildlife, including striking black cockatoos. Near Towarri is Burning Mountain Reserve, where a 5,500-year-old natural underground fire is part of the local Aboriginal Dreaming. The heritage-listed Barrington Tops is east of Scone.
Cast a line in Lake Glenbawn, one of the best freshwater fishing spots in NSW, for tasty bass and golden perch. Other water sports popular on the lake include water skiing, sailing and canoeing. The holiday park has cabins, bungalows and camping sites right on the foreshore.
Scone is a pleasant few hours’ drive north from Sydney through Australia’s oldest wine region, and about two hours drive from Newcastle. Alternatively, you can take a scenic train trip to Scone via Newcastle and Maitland.
You’ll find accommodation options to suit various budgets, from elegant colonial mansions and holiday cottages to motels, bed and breakfasts, apartments, lakeside holiday parks and farm stays. You can also pitch a tent at Washpools campground in Towarri National Park.