30 April 2015
Mudgee is our new favourite country town in NSW, and not just for its quality wine – we also fell in love with its heritage buildings, wide streets, parks, brewery, country charm and family friendliness!
But the highlight of our visit to Mudgee was undoubtedly a self-guided cycling winery tour with our kids. Getting around the wineries has never been more fun!
The great thing about Mudgee’s wineries is that they’re close in proximity to each other, close to town, and the terrain is generally flat so cycling between them makes for a great family day out.
Your kids will love racing you down the dirt road tracks and then slowing down to admire the scenery and the sunset.
Of course, a wine tasting experience with your kids is different to a getaway with friends, but it’s a refreshing change of scene from hanging out in a playground on the swings!
Depending on the age of your kids and their cycling ability, you can either start riding from town, or drive out and leave your car in a central location.
Here’s how we did it with a six and two-year-old.
You need to eat before your cycling and wine tasting day out, and the Blue Wren Winery Restaurant serves up a delicious lunch.
We drove out here with our bikes on the back and tucked into a nice piece of barramundi with vine cherry tomatoes, eschalots and a polenta log, washed down with a glass of savvy b. The kids were kept happy with the homemade chicken strips and chips.
There’s seating outside in a beautiful garden area with lovely views of the valley and space for the kids to run around.
Huntington Estate was our overall pick of the wines in Mudgee. It’s just a short drive from the centre of town if you’re not biking, and the range and quality of their wines was superb – we bought several bottles.
The friendly owner spent time describing each grape variety and the process of creating award-winning wines, AND there is a small desk with toys and colouring-in materials for the kids. So while we sipped, our girls were happily entertained.
We’d love to experience their annual music festival held in the barrel room of the winery.
Robert Oatley Vineyards is another of Mudgee’s premier winemaking centres. The founder, Bob Oately AO, is also the owner of the famous Wild Oats yacht, eight-time winner of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race; turns out, his wines are winners too!
And how could we not love a winery with a handy play area for the kids set amongst the wine barrels, giving mummy and daddy time out.
They’re also known for their annual Day on the Green music concert – we’re keeping that in mind for a return visit.
We left our car here, unloaded the bikes and cycled through the rest of the wineries.
Lowe Winery is another great option for lunch if you want to start here. The wines are certified organic, taste great, and the outdoor setting itself is worth the visit. Check out these views.
Even if you don’t come here with your kids, put it on your girl’s weekend away list of wineries to visit. Once you’re done, cycle back to your car at Robert Oatley Vineyards and take in some of that fresh country air.
Drive back into town, or cycle, and head for the Mudgee Brewing Company which has been brewing craft beer since 2007 – our faves being the pale ale and wheat beer.
Sit outside in the beer garden with your kids where they’ll have plenty of space to boogie during Sunday’s live acoustic jam sessions, or take a seat at the character-filled indoor bar and restaurant area.
Finish your day with dinner at the Lawson Park Hotel which is such a great family-friendly country pub and a must-visit when in Mudgee.
There’s a small playground area in the beer garden, cheap kids’ meals with ice cream, and you can cook your own steak. Adults meals are reasonably priced with daily specials and the food is good.
Mudgee is only a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney or Newcastle, so throw your bikes on the car and enjoy a getaway to the country with a difference.