1 Upper Hunter Country acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout the Upper Hunter and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters, and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Acknowledgement Of Country Important Disclaimer Information contained in this magazine was supplied by individual operators. Therefore, while every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, Upper Hunter Country Tourism and its agents cannot be held responsible for any injury, loss or damage, misdescription, inadvertent errors in bookings, or consequence through the acts of default of any company or person engaged in carrying out any of the bookings of products in this magazine. Produced and published for Upper Hunter Country Tourism by: Dezigns Hub www.dezigns.com.au Printed in Australia by: Hero Print Distributed by: Upper Hunter Country Tourism Managing Editor: Wayne Toms Articles by: Laurie Sullivan - Cre8ive Solutions Additional Graphic Design: Sarah English Marketing Advertising enquiries: 0423 514 557 UPPER HUNTER COUNTRY TOURISM www.upperhuntercountry.com
2 SYDNEY NEWCASTLE PORT MACQUARIE TAMWORTH MUSWELLBROOK UPPER HUNTER BATHURST NARRABRI SYDNEY NEWCASTLE CANBERRA UPPER HUNTER COFFS HARBOUR Only a short 90-minute drive from Newcastle and three hours from Sydney, the Upper Hunter Valley offers visitors a true country experience. If you’re after a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life without venturing far, the Upper Hunter is the ideal destination. Most of the Upper Hunter’s generous 18,000 square kilometres is devoted to national parks and nature reserves, as well as grazing, cropping, dairy farming and horse studs. The region is rich in wildlife, with an abundance of birds and native animals. We also have an enticing selection of award-winning food producers, boutique wineries, cafés and restaurants. There is annual calendar of festivals and events to experience and enjoy. The region is famous as the Horse Capital of Australia and is home to many world-renowned horse studs and the headquarters of the Australian Stock Horse Society. The Upper Hunter is also the gateway to the rugged wilderness of the world heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park where you can lose the worries of the outside world and embrace its rivers, forests and mountainous countryside. Nearby, Lake Glenbawn offers fishing, water sports, and boating, with some gorgeous picnic spots to relax and sample our region’s food and wine. The wide variety and diversity of our National Parks provides a host of choices – from easily accessed picnic grounds to more remote wilderness areas. So whether you are walking, riding, or four-wheel driving, there’s a place for you. The Upper Hunter also has a wide variety of accommodation - from luxury B&Bs to award-winning motels, caravan parks, cabins, farm stays and apartments. So, whether you are looking for a short break or a longer stay, the region offers an exciting variety of activities. Come and explore all the Upper Hunter has to offer!
3 TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE UPPER HUNTER MURRURUNDI Lying just north of Scone and an hour south of Tamworth, Murrurundi boasts natural beauty, rich farmland and loads of character. Murrurundi is an art lover’s paradise. Resident artists, galleries and frequent workshops add to the allure of Murrurundi, a haven for artists and creatives escaping frenetic city life. The town’s newest attraction is Magpie Distilling, one of Australia’s most highly awarded small craft distilleries, producing a range of Gins and Liqueurs. Explore the unique rock formation of the ‘Eye of the Needle’, an unusual walkaway leading to a lookout that offers captivating views over the township. The ‘King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge’ and Bush Festival are held over three days in September. The Challenge showcases Australia’s top stockmen and women competing in whip cracking, packhorse, bareback obstacle, cross country riding, shoeing, and stock handling. WINGEN Wingen is a little village halfway between Murrurundi and Scone on the New England Highway. Close by is the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the Burning Mountain, where a two metre-thick coal seam is burning around 20-30 metres below the surface. A great spot for picnics, Burning Mountain is a nature reserve and visitors can enjoy a 45-minute walk through the bush to its summit where there is a good view of one of the outlets SCONE Scone is located two hours north of Newcastle on the New England Highway. Renowned as the Horse Capital of Australia, the town is surrounded by magnificent, world-renowned thoroughbred horse studs. The ‘Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival’ is held in May each year and begins with a street parade followed by two weeks of fetes, thoroughbred sales, art shows, rodeos, country fairs, family fun days, and camp drafts, before concluding with the Scone Cup Race carnival. Scone is also home of the Australian Stock Horse Museum and White Park, a multidisciplinary undercover equine arena that spans 80 x 40 metres and seats up to 2864 spectators. Surrounded by lush bushland, State and National parks, Scone is also the gateway to the rugged wilderness of the Barrington Tops. GUNDY AND MOONAN FLAT Gundy is a scenic 15 minutes from Scone, driving through some of the Upper Hunter’s most picturesque countryside and passing several of Australia’s leading horse studs. This tiny settlement on the beautiful Pages River is home to the historic Linga Longa Inn. One of Australia’s most famous rural properties, Belltrees is another 17 kilometres east. Moonan Flat is a charming village 20 minutes up the road from Gundy on the way to Barrington Tops. Stop, relax and experience history at the Victory Hotel. A stopover for today’s travellers, in bygone days it was a colourful meeting place for bushrangers, gold miners, shearers and horse-drawn coach travellers. SANDY HOLLOW The dramatic sandstone hills of ‘Giants Leap’ overshadow this quite township, which borders the Wollemi National Park between Denman and Merriwa. Located on the junction of the Golden Highway and the Bylong Valley Way, Sandy Hollow is a great place to stop at the roadside reserve, the pub or the local café/emporium to take in this little town’s country hospitality and natural beauty.
4 TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE UPPER HUNTER ABERDEEN Located on the New England Highway, midway between Muswellbrook and Scone, Aberdeen was among the first settlements in the Upper Hunter. Established more than 180 years ago, Aberdeen is steeped in its Scottish heritage, taking its name from the Earl of Aberdeen, a friend of early settler and former British MP Thomas Macqueen. The annual ‘Aberdeen Highland Games’ are held each year on the first weekend in July and sees a colourful gathering of Scottish clans, pipe bands, highland dancers, heavylifting event competitors, as well as state and interstate tug-of-war teams come together to celebrate the Upper Hunter’s Scottish and Celtic history. Just a few kilometres east of Aberdeen, Lake Glenbawn is very popular for camping, boating, skiing and other water activities and boasts an abundance of fish, including Bass, Golden Perch, Murry Cod and Trout. MUSWELLBROOK Muswellbrook is located 90 minutes from Newcastle in the heart of the Upper Hunter, making it an ideal base from which to explore the region. Steeped in history, you’ll discover historic buildings, grand country homes and Jacaranda-lined streets. Muswellbrook is a powerhouse of new energy projects, mining and agriculture. The town has also developed a reputation for producing award-winning wine, olives, and delicious cheeses that can be enjoyed at local restaurants and at the farm gate. Every two years in September, Muswellbrook hosts the ‘The Great Cattle Dog Muster’. A celebration of the Australian Cattle Dog’s origins in the Upper Hunter, the event draws visitors from throughout the region, across Australia, and overseas. Muswellbrook also boasts the Upper Hunter’s Regional Arts Centre, home to the Max Waters Collection and the prestigious Muswellbrook Art Prize. DENMAN Nestled amid vineyards, horse studs, and olive groves, Denman is the Upper Hunter’s epicentre for local wine and produce. Delight your senses and sample some of Australia’s most award-winning wines – all grown and produced in the heart of the Upper Hunter. The Denman district also boasts an impressive array of cafes and restaurants to satisfy all tastes, ranging from pub grub, pavement cafes, a la carte dining, cellar doors with restaurants, through to delicious antipasto platters. CASSILIS West of Merriwa on the Golden Highway is the heritage-listed town of Cassilis. Settled in in the 1830’s, Cassilis then covered a large area and was the base for the local police district and part of the Dalkeith Station. The township has plenty of country charm and is rich in agriculture. In September the region is covered by fields of Canola. MERRIWA Situated midway between Dubbo and Newcastle on the Golden Highway, Merriwa is favourite stopover for travellers heading to Mudgee, Dunedoo or Dubbo in the west, or to Willow Tree in the north. Settled in 1839, Merriwa is a flourishing agriculture centre that celebrates its rich agricultural history with the Merriwa Springtime Show in September and the Festival of the Fleeces on the June long weekend (don’t miss the ‘Running of the Sheep’ – resplendent in their red socks!). Built in the town centre in 1847, the Old Colonial Cottage houses the Merriwa Historical Society and Museum.
5 GREAT CATTLE DOG MUSTER
6 THE MUSTER A Celebration Of An Icon Love dogs? How about live country music, Hunter Valley wines, food, market stalls and the laid-back vibe of a good ol’ fashioned Country Festival? Write Muswellbrook’s Great Cattle Dog Muster in your diary for September 9. The Upper Hunter is the birthplace of the Australian Cattle Dog and the Muster’s free Community Family Fun Day at Muswellbrook Showground draws owners and dog lovers from throughout Australia and abroad. Along with competitive trials to find the ‘top dog’ at herding cattle, there will also be championship shows, along with obedience trials and activities for pet cattle dogs. Kelly Gill will take the TV famous Wonderdogs through their tricks and training routines. While the Great Cattle Dog Muster is a celebration of this iconic Aussie working dog breed, the packed program of non-canine events and attractions makes it a fantastic day out for all ages. The Upper Hunter Showcase will offer the best of the region’s renowned wine, food and produce, along with lots of market stalls. A flotilla of food vans will again descend on the picturesque showground to offer patrons a wide choice of delicious eating options. On the big stage, a program of foot-stompin’ live country music will feature Golden Guitar nominees, Hayley Jensen and Jason Owen, and local artists Imogen Hall and The Collective. In the Kids Zone there’ll be jumping castles, clowns, magicians, and face painting, while cattle dog TV stars Bluey and Bingo will stage three ticketed Live Shows and two free Meet and Greet sessions – no doubt to the delight of another huge litter of their puppy-sized fans. Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry stages the Muster in collaboration with Dogs NSW and sponsorship from Muswellbrook Shire Council, and local industry and businesses. The event is also supported by the Working Cattle Dog Association Australia, the Australian Cattle Dog Society of NSW, and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog Club of NSW. The brainchild of ‘Mister Muster’ Wayne Toms, the chamber’s Member Services Manager, the event is helping to grow the Upper Hunter’s tourism economy. “Last year, more than 5000 people travelled from throughout Australia, as well as from Canada, the USA, and South Africa,” Toms said. “This year we expect to top 7000 and given the positive feedback, I reckon the Muster is destined to become an iconic event for the Upper Hunter and NSW.” Toms advised visitors to book their accommodation early with local motels and caravan parks expected to be at capacity over the weekend. The Community Family Fun Day runs from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free and everyone is welcome to come and help make the day another howling success. The Great Cattle Dog Muster Community Family Fun Day will be held at the Muswellbrook Showground 10am - 4pm Saturday 9th September 2023
7 Nestled in an ancient landscape, the Two Rivers Vineyard is bordered on two sides by the Hunter and Goulburn rivers. Growing classic varietals, Two Rivers produces wines that are fresh, aromatic and full of flavour. Call into their Cellar Door and see what is on offer. Enjoy a wine tasting or relax on the patio area with a bottle of your favourite Two Rivers wine and one of our cheese or antipasto platters featuring delicious local produce. Established in 1988 2 Yarrawa Road, Denman 2328 P: 02 6547 2556 E: email@example.com W: tworivers.com.au THE HUNTER VALLEY’S VENUE FOR ALL OCCASIONS HOLLYDENE ESTATE & VINES RESTAURANT OPEN DAILY 3483 Golden Highway, Jerry’s Plains NSW 2330 02 6576 4021 | Vines: vinesathollydene.com | Cellar door: hollydeneestate.com Located only 15 minutes from Muswellbrook CBD, GJ's by the Lake is a fun packed place for families, corporate team building, sporting groups or just a visit with friends. www.gjsbythelake.com • 0477 5511 74 • firstname.lastname@example.org Gokarts • Paintball • Laser Tag • Rock Climbing • Functions Open Sat- Sun 9-5pm, Wed-Sun School Holidays and Special Bookings. BOOK TODAY A DAY OF FUN IS CALLING! ATTRACTIONS Upper Hunter
8 VISIT MAGPIE DISTILLING THIS WEEKEND 0438 628 658 84 Glenalvon Road, Murrurundi www.magpiedistilling.com.au Magpie Distilling is open to visitors in stunning Murrurundi in the NSW Upper Hunter. Our small venue serves our award-winning Magpie Gins, Magpie Liqueurs and grazing boards for a wonderful lunch. Surrounded by the stunning Liverpool and Warlands Ranges and positioned within Australia's finest horse breeding country, our artisan village is home to workers, farmers and creatives alike, living and working together in a close-knit and resilient community. Photogrpahy by Nicola Sevitt COME FOR THE EXPERIENCE... ATTRACTIONS Upper Hunter Located at the gateway of Muswellbrook CBD, the gallery features a diverse range of exhibitions from local to national contemporary artists, along with a host of arts programs and events throughout the year. ENTRY IS FREE MUSWELLBROOK REGIONAL ARTS CENTRE MON - SAT 10am-4pm
10 ATTRACTIONS Upper Hunter Small boutique winery having a great view over the friendly township of Denman. Open for visitors Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Cellar Door | Wine tasting | Sake Tasting | Art Gallery | Pet Friendly W www.smallforest.com.au | E email@example.com P 02 6547 2699 5052 A Jerrys Plains Road, Denman, NSW 2328 As one of only three underground naturally burning coal seams in the world, as well as being packed with day walks, scenic views, birdwatching and picnicking opportunities, Burning Mountain Nature Reserve is a must see attraction that all ages can enjoy. WWW.NATIONALPARKS.NSW.GOV.AU New England Hwy, Wingen. Burning Mountain NATURE RESERVE
11 SEAL ROCKS LAKE KEEPIT LAKE GLENBAWN Stop and smell the sea breeze! Nestled in a pristine pocket of paradise, between lush rainforest and the aptly-named Number One Beach, Seal Rocks Holiday Park is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with family and friends. The call of the wild from Lake Keepit is hard to resist. With perfect sunsets, glorious dark skies for camping under the stars, some of the best fresh-water fishing in Australia, and local birds and kangaroos turning up on your doorstep...it’s the idyllic rural setting to setup camp (or cabin). A nature lover’s delight with rolling green hills and kilometres of glorious native bushland to explore, Lake Glenbawn, in the picturesque Upper Hunter offers cosy cabins and camping amidst tranquil birdsong and the serenity of the dam, while you ski, sail, canoe, swim and fish to your heart’s content. To book call 02 4086 5007 or visit reflectionsholidayparks.com.au
12 Before a visit, you might be tempted to think that Scone’s Hunter Warbirds is a kind of Men’s Shed where old blokes tinker with even older planes. So wrong. It’s actually an amazing visitor experience crammed with iconic reminders of bygone eras in aviation and military history. The main exhibit is a dark, brooding space. Spotlights strategically illuminate a fleet of faithfully restored aircraft dating from WW1 and underglass military memorabilia scattered in a cavernous hangar at Scone Memorial Airport. Tiger Moth, Spitfire, Kittyhawk, Mustang, Wirraway, Mirage… all venerable survivors of deadly dogfights. Some still fly and their stories will soon be told through wall projections of famous aerial encounters like the Battle of Britain, adding a more immersive cinematic experience. “The most common first reaction is ‘Wow!’,” said Bek Durietz, Upper Hunter Shire Council’s Creative Events, Attractions and Tourism Coordinator. “And, the display is ever changing: There’s always something new, like the Strikemaster jet we’re hosting this year.” The aircraft come from the late Col Pay’s private collection, Hunter Fighter Collection Inc (HFC), and private owners. But, it’s not all static displays. There’s something for all ages. “Pilots tells us the Bristol Fighter and Spitfire simulators visitors can try out are as close to flying as you can get without leaving the ground” said Durietz. Every Wednesday the hangar doors open and HFC members gather to restore an aircraft. Currently, it’s a lethal looking Mustang. MILITARY HISTORY TAKES FLIGHT IN SCONE Visitors can look on and ask questions. Like Hunter Warbirds’ staff, these volunteers love sharing their passion and deep knowledge of aviation history. Durietz is equally passionate about honouring service to country. “There’s a rich history of aviation and support for our servicemen and women here,” she says. “During World War 1 the Hunter donated more than anywhere else in Australia – an amount equivalent to an entire fighter squadron.” Hunter Warbirds’ aviation-themed ‘Kittyhawk Café’ continues the trip down memory lane. Soon staff will don 1940s and 50s-inspired uniforms, while a large vintage radio will play music from those eras. Cue the Andrews Sisters. “We want to take people back in time the moment they walk through the front door,” said Durietz. “We already have a vintage hamburger, the Bristol Burger, a Wingman Toastie, Harvard Hotdog and other takes on classic food of yesteryear. Visitors love them.” A year after it opened, visitations have tripled in recent months to as many as 300 people a week and growing. More events are planned, functions welcomed. Warbirds have universal appeal: overseas military aviation buffs descend from multi-million dollar jets to see the exhibits, while fly-in racegoers and visitors to the region’s many horse studs also drop in. “The Upper Hunter is known for its natural beauty. Hunter Warbirds has given visitors another reason to visit us, or stopover on their way north.” BEC DURIETZ “THE MOST COMMON FIRST REACTION IS ‘WOW’”
13 NATIONAL PARKS OF THE UPPER HUNTER BURNING MOUNTAIN NATURE RESERVE Burning Mountain Nature Reserve contains a 6000-year-old, naturally occurring underground burning coal seam. Signposted with information panels, a guided walking track leads from the council car park through previously burnt areas to a viewing platform where the ever-burning coal seam and exhaust vents can be seen. The 4.5km return walk is located 20km north of Scone and takes around 90 minutes to complete. TOWARRI NATIONAL PARK Just a 20-minute drive from Scone, Towarri National Park and Wingen Maid Nature Reserve are a bird-watchers delight. Yellow-Tufted Honeyeaters, Kingfishers, and Glossy Black Cockatoos are just some of the species to be found. At the Washpools Camping and Picnic Areas on the bank of Middle Brook, travellers can cool off in the culturally significant water hole or hike over the Liverpool Range. As you drive to the park, look for the Wingen Maid protruding from the sandstone cliffs. GOULBURN RIVER NATIONAL PARK Goulburn River National Park is located west of Muswellbrook, south of Merriwa and east of Mudgee. The Goulburn River meanders between rugged sandstone cliffs honeycombed with caves, while wide sandy riverbanks offer easy walking trails. Kangaroos, wombats, emus, red-neck wallabies, turquoise parrots and wedge-tailed eagles are among the multitude of native wildlife you might see. There are also plenty of activities, including camping or picnicking at Spring Gully or Big River, and walking trails such as Lees Pinch Lookout. Walk along the Goulburn River and stand under The Drip on a hot day or check out the Aboriginal rock art at Hands on Rock. You can also take a dip in the swimming holes or bring your canoe for a paddle on the river. WOLLEMI NATIONAL PARK New South Wales’ largest wilderness area, Wollemi National Park is a spectacular maze of deep canyons, rocky cliffs, and undisturbed forest. Access Wollemi via Bulga and the Putty Road, or via Denman through Baerami. The park is home to a rich variety of species, including eastern grey kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, gliders, geckos and snakes. View its breathtaking scenery of sandstone ridges and escarpments from the road along the Bylong Valley Way and the Widden Valley. Stop for a roadside break at the Phipps Cutting or Honeysuckle Creek picnic areas. Reconnect with nature.
14 NATIONAL PARKS OF THE UPPER HUNTER BARRINGTON TOPS NATIONAL PARK Reconnect with nature. The World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park lies between Scone, Dungog and Gloucester. The Upper Hunter provides a western gateway into the park from Scone. Over 390 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects can be found in this wonderful wilderness area. Enjoy the scenic drive along Barrington Tops Forrest Road and stop off at any of the lookouts for fantastic views over the Hunter Valley. The Barrington Tops plateau has a host of facilities, including numerous picnic areas and short walks for day travellers. Camping facilities are available at Polblue, Devil’s Hole, Gummi Falls and Manning River. A range of longer hiking trails exist throughout the park and the majestic snow-covered ranges of the Barrington Tops are a must-see in winter. With a highest peak of 1586m above sea level, snow may be possible at any time of the year but is more likely to occur in the colder months of May and June. The best spots to experience the snow are at the higher elevations on the plateau, accessible by vehicle on the Barrington Tops Forest Road. The main access road is steep and unsealed and can become very slippery in ice or snow. 4WD vehicles with good tyres and high ground clearance are better suited to the hazardous conditions, however the road may be closed to all vehicles at short notice to ensure the safety of visitors. To increase your chances of finding settled snow on the ground, check with the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) weather forecast before you go or visit the Barrington Tops Snow Chasers page on Facebook for the latest updates. Weather conditions at Barrington Tops can change very quickly, so always be prepared. As a minimum take spare warm, dry clothing, blankets, food and water.
15 SHOP FOR OUR DISTINCTIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS, VINEGARS, SALTS & CONDIMENTS, IN MUSWELLBROOK. Open Mon – Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm | Sat: 9:00am - 12:00pm | Tel: 0427 847 603 39-43 Bridge St, Muswellbrook NSW 2333 | pukaraestate.com.au Available at Pukara Estate’s Muswellbrook Store | 39-43 Bridge St, Muswellbrook NSW 2333 Open Mon – Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm | Sat: 9:00am - 12:00pm | Tel: 0427 847 603 | pukaraestate.com.au/skincare DISTINCTIVE. NATURAL. SKINCARE. SHOP NOW, IN MUSWELLBROOK.
16 Murrurundi’s King of the Ranges (KOTR) can lay claim to being the Upper Hunter’s most iconic annual event. Hands down it’s the toughest: the ultimate test of horsemanship, endurance, and bush skills. Held over three days of intense, heart-stopping competition from September 22-24 at the Rosedale Complex, the best-of-the-best go head to head, accumulating points for working cattle, bareback and bronc riding, target whip-cracking, horseshoeing, and cross-country jumping – all done against the clock. Think of it as a multi-disciplined Olympic event for men and women who spend their lives working in the saddle. For almost two decades, the community-run and sponsored KOTR has had something for everyone, also laying on a Bush Festival featuring live country music, food vans, goat races, bush poetry, market stalls, billy boiling, and a bush dinner. And, it’s all served up with lashing of warm country hospitality in the beautiful little Upper Hunter town at the foot of the Liverpool Ranges. For more info go to: www.kingoftheranges.com.au SEE YOU AT THE ‘BUSH OLYMPICS’ He was always destined for fame. But, when Archie ‘Bung’ McInnes slumped over and died sitting in the saddle while mustering, the renowned Upper Hunter horseman entered the annals of bush folklore. McInnes might have stepped out of a Henry Lawson or AB ‘Banjo’ Patterson poem. Indeed, Banjo could have modelled his Man from Snowy River on the quietly spoken, laconic bushman, who was without peer on horseback. In the period before and after WW1, McInnes was revered throughout the Hunter Valley and Northwest. Dubbed ‘the King of the Range’, he had an uncanny ability to track and catch wild brumbies and cattle in the rugged country around Glenrock Station, east of Scone. McInnes was idolised throughout the Hunter watershed. He thrilled the huge crowds drawn to the pre-war bush carnivals staged across the Upper Hunter. McInnes’ Stockman’s Hall of Fame biography records that he was: “Fearless in the saddle and earned a reputation for modesty, loyalty, generosity, humour and gameness. In scrub, ranges, timber belts, or the sports arena – it was all the same to him.” In WW1, he served with the 1st Australian Light Horse, only to be seriously wounded at Beersheba in Palestine. His Military Medal citation noted: “This man set an excellent example of coolness and devotion to duty. As a scout he gave valuable information which enabled his troop to rout (the) enemy out of very difficult country and on night patrols he showed great daring and coolness’. Back home, McInnes worked on Tomalla Station before returning to his beloved Glenrock. It was there in 1940, while working cattle, that he slumped over and died in the saddle. With his death, the legend - and the inspiration for Murrurundi’s iconic event - was born… AND, SO A LEGEND WAS BORN… Photos by Darren Adams
17 EATING OUT Upper Hunter Located inside the Muswellbrook Golf Club LUNCH 11.30 - 2pm (Wed-Fri) 12 - 2.30pm (Sat-Sun) DINNER From 5pm (Wed-Sun) Great Asian and Australian Cuisine OPEN for Lunch and Dinner | 7-days Located inside the Muswellbrook RSL Club 196 Kelly Street, Scone NSW 2337 T. 02 6545 1215 ww.thecottagescone.com
18 EATING OUT Upper Hunter RELAX & uNWIND Enjoy delicious cocktails, food, and quality time with loved ones at Muswellbrook Workers Club. Our Odeum Restaurant and vibrant kids room cater for all ages. Located just 1 hour from the Hunter Valley in Muswellbrook NSW If you’re staying in the area don’t hesitate to give our friendly reception staff a call and we will send our courtesy bus to chauffer you to and from to have a tantalising taste bud experience. Lunch 11:00am-2:30pm Dinner 5:30pm-8:30pm. Café 9am. (02) 6543 2011 15 Sydney Street, Muswellbrook muswellbrookworkers.com.au BAR • DINNING • FUNTIONS • ACCOMMODATION May your coffee kick in before reality does... Surround yourself with our beautiful plants and gifts. Choose a seat outdoor in the sun, or inside out of the weather. Food | Coffee | Flowers | Gifts 58 Bridge St, Muswellbrook (02) 6543 0496 www.cattledogcafe.com.au THE HUNTER VALLEY’S VENUE FOR ALL OCCASIONS HOLLYDENE ESTATE & VINES RESTAURANT OPEN DAILY 3483 Golden Highway, Jerry’s Plains NSW 2330 02 6576 4021 | Vines: vinesathollydene.com | Cellar door: hollydeneestate.com
19 EATING OUT Upper Hunter EATING OUT UPPER HUNTER Be sure to check out the Quick Reference Guide (Page 40) to find your perfect eating out experience. EATING OUT IN THE UPPER HUNTER Country pub meals, delicious coffee joints, fine dining and steakhouses. 01 RESTAURANTS, CAFES, PUBS Endless walking tracks and nature reserves for an unbeatable picnic location. 02 PICNICS Eating experiences at wineries, gin distilleries, cheese factories and museums. 03 EXPERIENCES As a landmark pub in the Upper Hunter Valley, the Moonan Flat Pub offers a rustic aesthetic with a rich history to tell. We offer an authentic Australian dining experience at our restaurant and accommodation for those traveling. Moonan Flat Pub STAY • DINE • FUNCTIONS WWW.MOONANPUB.COM.AU • Stylish and modern furnishings with a relaxed atmosphere • Casual dining, share plates, international BBQ cuisine • Cocktail bar with signature drinks and an extensive beverage list • Functions, events or conferences, catering for up to 150 WE INVITE YOU TO GET IN TOUCH! 02 6541 5858 | firstname.lastname@example.org 28-32 Maitland Street, Muswellbrook theremington.com.au The Remington Muswellbrook Brand new state-of-the-art restaurant and events venue unlike anything previously available in the Upper Hunter. COMING TO MUSWELLBROOK EARLY 2024!
20 EATING OUT Upper Hunter MORNING TEA PACKED LUNCHES CATERING AND COFFEE CART 0472 535 033 OPEN MONDAY - FRIDAY 6am TO 5ish SATURDAY - SUNDAY 7am TO 1ish SHOP 5, CAMPBELLS CORNER, 80 BRIDGE STREET MUSWELLBROOK email@example.com NORTH TO TAMWORTH SOUTH TO SYDNEY Winner 2022 Business Of The Year - MCCI Business Awards Breakfast Sat & Sun | 8.00 am - 10.30 am Lunch Seven Days | 12.00 pm - 2.30 pm Dinner Seven Days | 5.30 pm - 9.00 pm 12 Bridge St Muswellbrook, NSW 2333 | Tel: (02) 6541 5949 | theroyalmbk.com.au Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. Only The Royal. Great Food Great Service Great Times
21 Upper Hunter Country B C D F G A - Aussie Ark B - Two Rivers Wines C - Small Forest Wines D - Hunter Valley Camels E - Lake Glenbawn F - Hollydene Estate G - Magpie Distilling H - Michael Reid Gallery I - GJ's by the Lake J - Hunter Belle Cheese K - Regional Arts Centre L - Hunter Warbirds M - Burning Mountain ATTRACTIONS
22 E H I J K L M Discover more in the Upper Hunter: Upper Hunter Attractions - Page 7 Eating Out in the Upper Hunter - Page 17 Accommodation in the Upper Hunter - Page 25 A
24 - COUPLE’S DREAM TOOK FLIGHT IN THE UPPER HUNTER - Geoff and Nikki Drummond are among those rare (and very lucky) people who’ve been able to turn their passion into their profession. In 2020, they swapped the corporate grind of Sydney for a small farm just outside the Upper Hunter town of Murrurundi and established Magpie Distilling. Their award-winning range of Gins incorporate distinctly diverse blends of locally sourced fruit and botanicals, which Geoff carefully combines with pure, filtered rainwater to focus Magpie Gin’s flavours and aromatics. Magpie’s flagship Murrurundi Dry, Autumn Harvest, Songbird and Wildfire Gins are winning Australian and International medals and, well, flying off the shelves, along with their Blackbird Coffee Liqueur. Their boutique distillery is now firmly entrenched on the Upper Hunter’s tourist trail as a stopover for tastings and Nikki’s sensational grazing boards. Geoff was a long-time home brewer with a nose for fine spirits when the couple spent a fateful week on the Scottish Highlands’ Whisky Trail. “When Geoff came home his head was exploding with ideas for a distillery,” said Nikki. “We had wanted to make a tree change and felt it was a ‘now or never’ decision. “Magpie was our roll of the dice.” So, why the name Magpie, you ask? From the first moment they relocated to Murrurundi, the Drummonds were adopted by a flock of local ‘maggies’ that would swoop in each day to visit them on their veranda. The couple were immediately taken with their very vocal and boisterous new feathered friends, whom they christened ‘The Swoopy Boiz’. Nikki says Magpies are “quintessentially Australian birds - clever, industrious and loyal” – qualities Geoff and Nikki couldn’t help but admire. “There’s a wonderful Aboriginal Dreaming story about how the magpies pushed up the sky from the earth to create daylight, space and the first sunrise,” said Nikki. “The magpies worked together to raise up the sky and let in the light of the Sun Woman. “Each day the magpies greet her with their beautiful song of thanks, which also reminds everyone else of their important role in holding up the sky.” Nestled within the haunting Liverpool Range, Murrurundi is a close-knit and resilient community best known for thoroughbred horse breeding, farming and events like the annual, three-day King of the Ranges. A showcase of the traditional skills of Australian stockmen and women, it runs alongside an eclectic Bush Festival program of live country music, bush poetry, goat races, market stalls and more. But, there is something about Murrurundi that’s also made it a magnet for artists and creatives. The community welcomed the hard-working newcomers, encouraging and supporting them on their business journey. “The people of Murrurundi have been extraordinary,” says Geoff. “We have been humbled by their friendship and their inclusiveness. “There’s no place we’d rather be.” Magpie Distilling can be found at: 84a Glenalvon Rd, Murrurundi Photos by Nicola Sevitt
25 Stay at Scone’s only officially rated 4-star accommodation... www.sconemotorinn.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 55 Kelly Street Scone NSW 2337 Motel Rooms • King & Spa Suites Accessible 1-Bedroom Apartments 2-Bedroom Apartments Breakfast Available 7 Days Free Wi-Fi & Foxtel • BBQ Area Guest Laundry • Senior’s Discounts BOOK DIRECT FOR BEST PRICES. ACCOMMODATION Where to STay
26 PADDY’S COTTAGE Check in to check out A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom 1920s homestead that has been lovingly renovated, Paddy’s Cottage is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Scan the QR Code or visit airbnb.com/h/paddyscottage to book your stay. Discover Lake Liddell Recreation Area, only 15 minutes from Muswellbrook CBD. Perfect for family picnics or camping. Enjoy modern facilities including a camp kitchen, amenities block, BBQs, and a splash pad, as well as breathtaking scenery and wildlife. Day visitors and campers are welcome. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out the fun at GJs by the Lake! Experience the Serenity COME VISIT! 400 Hebden Rd, Muswellbrook P: 0477551174 @LakeLiddell C e Stay e Night... UPPER HUNTER SHOWGROUND, MUSWELLBROOK Home of the annual Upper Hunter Show in March and The Great Cattle Dog Muster biannually in September, the Upper Hunter Showground is the perfect spot to stop for the night to recharge, or checkout the local area. • POWERED SITES • UNPOWERED SITES • NEW AMENITIES • DUMP POINT • PET FRIENDLY • CLOSE TO SHOPS & CAFES • PRIVATELY OWNED & OPERATED BOOKINGS AND INFORMATION Rhonda 0458 876 773 www.upperhuntershow.com.au Cnr of New England Hwy and Rutherford Rd, Muswellbrook ACCOMMODATION Where to STay
27 ACCOMMODATION Where to STay Isis Motel Scone is conveniently located on the New England Highway at the Southern entrance to Scone. The Isis offers ideal accommodation for travellers, families and workers. Scone is the perfect stopover for travellers heading north or on their way to Sydney. The Isis Motel is just a short stroll to shops, hotels, clubs and restaurants. Non-smoking Parking Outside Room Ground Floor Units Flat Screen TV Split System Air Con Salt Water Pool Guest Laundry 3 & 3.5 Stars (02) 6545 1100 email@example.com 250 New England Highway Scone NSW 2337 www.isismotelscone.com.au BOOK NOW A true sanctuary for anyone needing to get away from it all. With unique private balconies that have stunning country views, spacious luxury rooms and suitably far enough away from the town and the highway, this is arguably the best accomodation is Scone. Each room features a lounge, table and chairs, air-conditioning, free NBN and Wifi, complementary continental breakfast, wood fireplace and double spa, Apple TV streaming Stan and Netflix, seperate ensuite, private veranda and garden. Indoor heated pool, extensive gardens, under cover parking. BOOK NOW 2022 New England Highway, Scone 0448 091 030 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.strathearnparklodge.com.au Unwind in Scone's Premier Accommodation... Nestled at the base of the majestic Barrington Tops, Moonan Cottage beckons as a captivating escape. Formerly the Moonan Brook School House, this historical gem, built in 1881, has been lovingly transformed into a delightful and enchanting cottage. Set amidst the idyllic rural landscape of Moonan Brook, the Cottage boasts exclusive Brook frontage, allowing you to immerse yourself in the soothing embrace of nature. With over 2 acres of private, picturesque grounds, tranquility and beauty surround you at every turn. Step inside, and you'll be transported to a bygone era, where the charm of yesteryear mingles harmoniously with modern comforts. The Cottage offers three bedrooms, graciously accommodating up to eight people, ensuring ample space for relaxation and rejuvenation. In addition, an adjoining bunk house awaits, offering sanctuary for an additional fourteen guests. For those with larger guest lists, there's even the option to pitch tents or bring vans, ensuring no one is left out. We also set the stage for a truly unforgettable wedding. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations 455 Moonanbrook Road, Moonanbrook NSW 2337 0411 347 396 www.moonancottage.com
28 CENTABROOK Centabrook Motor Inn Muswellbrook For Bookings | (02) 6543 3444 105 Bridge St, Muswellbrook Located next to the Muswellbrook RSL Club ACCOMMODATION Where to STay 0427 463 123 www.cccottages.com.au email@example.com www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/79 8920969227902296 Coquun Cottage has been lovingly restored to provide guests with a luxurious stay within a rural landscape, carefully curated with a balance of contemporary and restored furniture to create a timeless look and feel. Coquun Cottage is a two bedroom cottage, offering boutique accommodation with luxurious details including wood fireplaces, linen bedding and a seasonal breakfast hamper of fresh and local produce. 02 6541 5858 | 28-32 Maitland Street, Muswellbrook The Remington Muswellbrook | theremington.com.au A warm welcome. Ultimate comfort. A taste of luxury in the Upper Hunter Valley. Positioned perfectly in the heart of Muswellbrook’s business centre, within walking distance to hotels, clubs, shopping centres and sporting facilities. Enjoy the latest in-room technology, google chrome cast, hi speed WiFi, indulgent double pillow top king beds, and a standard of furnishings and nishes found only in the best establishments. Cherson Cottage is a boutique four bedroom cottage nestled beside the river in the hills of the Upper Hunter Valley. Cherson Cottage evokes a sense of comfort and luxury within the country, providing a secluded and quiet respite. Perfect for families or small groups where guests can enjoy the surrounding landscape, luxury interiors and a seasonal breakfast hamper on arrival. www.cccottages.com.au | 0427 463 123 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/23133745
29 Gordon & Murray Meat Co. | Open Mon – Fri: 9:00am - 5:30pm | Sat: 9:00am - 12:30pm Shop 15, 209 Kelly St Scone, NSW 2337 | Tel: (02) 6545 9000 | gordonandmurray.com.au Premium Meats | Fine Smallgoods | Specialty Sausages
30 UNEARTHING THE UPPER HUNTER’S FINE FARE Think of industry in the Upper Hunter and mining and horse breeding probably come to mind. But, from Singleton to Murrurundi a growing number of local primary producers are embracing the paddock-toplate food philosophy with gastronomic gusto. For years, the farming families behind Upper Hunter’s olive-infused lamb, its premium Wagyu beef, and awardwinning olive oil, cheeses and condiments have sent their products to Australian and offshore markets. However, lately these and other visionary food entrepreneurs have been looking closer to home, collaborating with the region’s restaurants, cafes and pubs to create menus that showcase their ‘low-mileage’ produce. When Racquel and Steve Goodchild began planting their 26,000 olive trees on Pukara Estate near Muswellbrook two decades ago, raising sheep wasn’t in their mind. They introduced a flock simply to reduce the need to slash. Then something deliciously unexpected happened… When the sheep began eating the trees’ suckers, lower leaves and fallen olives, they found that their diet enhanced the flavour of the lamb’s meat. “The health benefits of olive oil are well known,” said Racquel Goodchild. “So, it really wasn’t surprising that our lamb meat is so flavoursome.” Their award-winning extra virgin olive oil goes into almost every Pukara product – vinegar, condiments, even a skin care range. They’re available from a retail outlet in Muswellbrook and shipped around Australia, as well as to New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Fifth-generation Upper Hunter dairy farmer Geoff Chesworth and wife Tania have the same commitment to value-adding and excellence. In 2008, they purchased a small cheese-making business and transformed it into Hunter Belle Cheese. Today, their son Jason and wife Annie oversee the making of the family’s medal-winning range of soft and hard cheeses while they look after the wonderful Hunter Belle Café and their retail business. Among these producers’ biggest supporters is Steve Shaw, manager of Muswellbrook’s Royal Hotel. Their produce features on the Royal’s everyday menu and are among the stars of its Producers’ Dinner, where Pukara lamb, oils and vinegar, Hunter Belle cheeses, and local Wagyu are paired with wines from throughout Australia and NZ. Not surprisingly, tickets sell fast. Black garlic butter (sensational on rare steak) and a dessert featuring honeycomb will also be on Royal chef, Raj Shrestha’s next Producers’ Dinner menu. Both are lovingly produced at the two centuries-old Pickering Homestead outside Denman, where Donna Cooper is an avid supporter of sustainability and the low food miles and slow food movements. “We don’t have gaming machines, so we rely on the quality of our food,” Shaw explained. “By showcasing the very best of our local produce and demonstrating what a talented chef can create with it we’re proving just how much the Upper Hunter has to offer.” Tantalise THE TASTE BUDS
32 MAJOR EVENTS OF THE UPPER HUNTER FEBRUARY MARCH ANNUAL EVENT Olympic Park Muswellbrook ROCK’N THE BROOK ANNUAL EVENT Lake Liddell Recreation Area DUBS BY THE LAKE MARCH MARCH MAY ANNUAL EVENT Muswellbrook Showground UPPER HUNTER SHOW BIENNIAL EVENT Every two years: 2024 - 2026 - 2028 Scone Airport WARBIRDS OVER SCONE ANNUAL EVENT 10 Day Festival SCONE HORSE FESTIVAL JUNE JULY ANNUAL EVENT First Weekend In July Jefferson Park - Aberdeen ABERDEEN HIGHLAND GAMES ANNUAL EVENT Every June Long Weekend Merriwa - Main Street MERRIWA FESTIVAL OF THE FLEECES SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER BIENNIAL EVENT Every two years: 2023 - 2025 - 2027 Muswellbrook Showground THE GREAT CATTLE DOG MUSTER BIENNIAL EVENT Every two years: 2024 - 2026 - 2028 Muswellbrook Showground TV & MOVIE NOSTALGIA FESTIVAL ANNUAL EVENT Rosedale Complex- Murrurundi KING OF THE RANGES MUSWEL L BROOK
33 The Upper Hunter offers four scenic self-drive touring routes based around Murrurundi, Muswellbrook, Sandy Hollow and Scone that will take you through some of the Upper Hunter’s most charming towns and villages. Each route will let you explore the rich variety Upper Hunter Country has to offer, regardless of where you’re staying. Our region is big, so there’s much to explore - approximately 18,000 square kilometres of rich farming land, mountains, and National Parks. The magnificent scenery, with its many brooks and streams, starts in the surrounding mountains and winds through beautiful valleys to the Hunter River. Native flora and fauna abound in the many local ecosystems found throughout the region, which is dotted with historic country towns, villages and hamlets. An A3 copy of all drives and a map showing all 4 drives is available at all Upper Hunter Visitor Information Centres. Self Drive DRIVE 1 Distance 210 kms (104 kms gravel road, suitable for all vehicles) Driving Time 3.5 hours Note: In winter, some roads within Barrington Tops National Park may be closed temporarily by snow. Check with Scone Visitor Information Centre, NPWS or police if in doubt. Features • Barrington Tops National Park and World Heritage Wilderness Area • Magnificent forests • Wildlife • Spectacular sweeping vistas • Picturesque rivers Route Scone – Gundy – Belltrees – Moonan Flat – Barrington Tops Circuit – Moonan Flat – Belltrees – Scone • Historic Homesteads • Pastoral views • Horse Studs • Tiny hamlets • Delightful picnic areas • Diverse walks ITINERARIES Spectacular Barrington Tops
34 ITINERARIES Distance 136 kms (30kms gravel road, suitable for all vehicles) Features • Historic rural towns, villages, and homesteads • Horse Studs • Pastoral Scenery Route Murrurundi – Timor – Gundy – Scone – Towarri National Park – Wingen – Burning Mountain – Murrurundi • Picturesque river valleys • National Parks • Burning Mountain • Wildlife SELF DRIVE DRIVE 2 Upper Hunter Horse Studs Driving Time 2 hours and 20 minutes Distance 150 kms (All the roads are sealed and all weather) Features • Spectacular scenery • Picturesque farming countryside • Historic country towns and villages Route Muswellbrook – Jerrys Plains – Denman – Wybong - Muswellbrook • Open cut mines • Wineries • Camel Farm • Horse Studs Driving Time 1 hour and 50 minutes Distance 150 kms (Some 30km of gravel roads between Honeysuckle Creek picnic area and the Merriwa side of the Goulburn River National Park, but suitable for all vehicles) Features • Spectacular scenery • Sandstone escarpments • Goulburn River & Wollemi National Parks • Wineries Route Sandy Hollow – Baerami – Wollembi & Goulburn National Parks – Merriwa – Sandy Hollow • Country towns • Rural villages • Wildlife • Horse studs Driving Time 3 hours DRIVE 3 Upper Hunter Vineyards DRIVE 4 Goulburn River National Park
35 A lifestyle brand made country tough for wherever life takes you. www.MJCLOTHING.online email@example.com 2/29 Bridge Street, Muswellbrook NSW 2333
37 WALKS AND HIKES Explore HISTORICAL WALKS Aberdeen Town Walk Historic Aberdeen was one of the first settlements in the Upper Hunter Valley. By 1840 there was a mill and an inn near the banks of the river (both still in existence today), however within two decades the town boasted a post office, school, three inns, several shops, a mill and two churches. Exploring Aberdeen on foot today, one can still see glimpses of early Aberdeen. A brochure and map available at all Upper Hunter Visitor Information centres denote 16 historical plaques set in the town’s footpaths and on its buildings Class 1. Distance: Variable Scone Town Walk The town of Scone was laid out in 1837, taking in the area between the Kingdon Ponds and the Great North Road – now the New England Highway. Pick up a map showing 36 points of historical interest from the Scone Visitor Centre, located at Hunter Warbirds, 1 Walter Pye Ave. Class 5. Distance: Variable. Class 5. Distance: Variable Muswellbrook Heritage Town Walk This 4.5k walk throughout Muswellbrook CBD includes 40 different items of historical significance. You can start and stop at any point and pick up again later where you left off. Fine old buildings dating back to the mid-1800s, grand residences, and community precincts are testimony to the town’s good times and hard times, but all significant in the development of Muswellbrook. A copy of the Muswellbrook Heritage Town Walk is available from Muswellbrook’s Visitor Information Centre - Weidmann Cottage, 132 Bridge Street. Class 5. Distance: Variable Merriwa Historical Town Walk Early settlers in search of good grazing land arrived in the Merriwa district in the late 1820s, with the first town lots released for sale in October 1840. The first church was built in 1850; the first schools were erected in 1849 (private) and 1850 (state), and a hospital in 1883. Rail reached Merriwa in 1917, followed by electricity in 1937. A map depicting 26 points of historic interest is available from the Merriwa Visitor Information Centre in Vennacher Street. Class 5. Distance: Variable It’s time to explore your adventurous side with invigorating walks and hikes that offer something for all ages. Discover Upper Hunter Country on foot while you take in our historic buildings and magnificent natural beauty. *See page 39 for Class Key
38 Explore WALKS AND HIKES NATURE WALKS & HIKES Burning Mountain (Wingen) Start at Burning Mountain Rest Area carpark and follow a well-constructed track to the active vent. Panels along the route offer information about the area, and there are conveniently placed seats to rest or take in the views. See the geological effects of the naturally burning coal seam and its effect on the local plant communities. The seam is currently burning 30 metres below the surface and moving south at just over one metre each year. Class 3. Distance: 4.6k return Paradise Park – Eye of the Needle (Murrurundi) The walk starts at a signboard at the far end of Paradise Park (on Paradise Rd, approximately 1k past Murrurundi Golf Club). It is a constant uphill climb, through a jumble of massive granite boulders and on into the ‘Eye of the Needle’, a deep narrow crack in the cliff, almost so tight you can barely turn around. Continue upwards where you can choose to head either left or right to a rocky outcrop, overlooking the town below. Class 3-4. Distance: 2.5k; 1.5 hours Washpools (Towarri National Park) From the Washpools Picnic Area take the steps down to Middle Brook, then follow the edge of the creek upstream for about 250m, until you come to a natural square-shaped cutting in the rocks. Sheep graziers once washed their sheep here prior to shearing, hence the name. The water is usually crystal clear, making small fish and tadpoles visible. But take care: The rocks can be slippery when wet. There are a number of pools big enough to have a dip in hot weather and kids love splashing about in the shallow sections. As you walk, listen for the chorus of birdsong. Class 3. Distance: 250m one; return the same way; 10 minutes Denman Nature Trail The Denman Nature Trail is situated approximately three km from Denman, on Rosemount Rd. There is a parking bay on the right at the intersection of Rosemount Rd and Reg Thornton Drive. The Nature Trail is 1.5km each way (about 30 minutes) to the lookout and has steps in steeper sections. The walk is entirely through bushland and has a wide range of bird life. The lookout gives a commanding view over Denman township, surrounding farmland and distant mountains. There are toilet facilities at the start of the walk. Class 3. Distance: 1 hour return Giants Leap (Sandy Hollow) The imposing sandstone cliffs that form Giant’s Leap offer an exhilarating and rewarding climb. A return trip to the top takes 90 minutes. But, if you’re not feeling quite so energetic, a 10-minute walk will still reward you with fine views over the valley. The walk is not signposted but there are a number of well-trodden trails to follow. Keep the village of Sandy Hollow in your sights to keep your bearings. The summit has views to Mt Dangar, Goulburn River National Park, Bylong Valley Way, vineyards, farmland, and native woodland. The area is of significant interest because of its biodiversity and is popular with nature lovers and adventurers Class 6. Distance: 2kwww.upperhunter.nsw.gov.au