Upper Hunter

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 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.

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8 Nestled in the rugged high country of New South Wales, Barrington Tops National Park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a captivating escape for nature enthusiasts seeking a unique cold-season adventure. Spanning over 70,000 hectares, this pristine wilderness boasts snow-dusted landscapes, pristine alpine meadows, and a serene atmosphere that beckons visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty. Winter’s Blanket: A Snowy Spectacle As winter descends upon Barrington Tops, a magical transformation blankets the park in a layer of snow, turning the landscape into a picturesque scene straight from a postcard. The eucalyptus trees, usually adorned with vibrant green leaves, now wear a coat of white, creating a surreal contrast against the deep blue winter skies. The snow-covered ground invites visitors to leave their footprints in a pristine canvas, adding a touch of adventure to the tranquillity of the park. Outdoor Adventures in a Frosty Wonderland Winter in Barrington Tops National Park opens up a plethora of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. The park’s extensive network of walking trails, normally traversed in warmer months, transforms into snow-laden pathways, offering a unique and challenging hiking experience. The Antarctic Beech Forest walk takes on a fairytale quality, with the ancient trees standing tall and majestic, adorned with snow crystals. For those craving an adrenaline rush, winter brings the opportunity for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Barrington Trail, winding through the heart of the park, becomes a winter playground for enthusiasts eager to explore the snowy expanses in a more dynamic way. Wildlife Encounters in the Frosty Silence Winter is a season of tranquillity in Barrington Tops, as the park’s diverse wildlife adapts to the chilly temperatures. Lucky visitors may catch glimpses of wallabies, wombats, and kangaroos foraging in the snow-covered meadows, their fur coats contrasting against the white backdrop. Birdwatchers will find the park transformed into a haven for feathered friends, with crimson rosellas and king parrots adding vibrant splashes of colour to the winter scene. Cosy Retreats and Fireside Tales After a day of exploration, Barrington Tops offers a range of accommodation options to warm up and unwind. Cozy cabins and cottages provide a rustic retreat, where visitors can relax by the fireplace and share stories of their winter adventures. The park’s campgrounds, though chilly, offer a unique camping experience for those seeking a closer connection with nature. Preserving the Winter Wonderland As visitors revel in the winter magic of Barrington Tops National Park, it is crucial to remember the importance of responsible tourism. Respecting the fragile ecosystems, sticking to designated trails, and adhering to Leave No Trace principles ensures that future generations can continue to marvel at the park’s winter wonders. Barrington Tops National Park in winter is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The snow-covered landscapes, outdoor adventures, and unique wildlife encounters make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a winter escape immersed in the beauty of the Australian wilderness. So, don your winter gear and embark on a journey to experience the enchantment of Barrington Tops National Park in its frosty glory. EXPLORING THE OF BARRINGTON TOPS NATIONAL PARK

9 Established in 1988 Nestled in an ancient landscape, the Two Rivers Vineyard is bordered on two sides by the Hunter & Goulburn Rivers. Growing classic varietals, Two Rivers produces wines that are fresh, aromatic and full of flavour. Drop into the Cellar Door; indulge in a wine tasting or relax on the patio area with a bottle of your favourite Two Rivers wine whilst enjoying a cheese or antipasto platter featuring local produce from around the region. Whichever you choose, your time at Two Rivers will be unforgettable. 2 Yarrawa Road, Denman 2328 P: 02 6547 2556 E: sales@tworivers.com.au 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 • elfo_extreme@hotmail.com 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 Established in 1988 Nestled in an ancient landscape, the Two Rivers Vineyard is bordered on two sides by the Hunter & Goulburn Rivers. Growing classic varietals, Two Rivers produces wines that are fresh, aromatic and full of flavour. Drop into the Cellar Door; indulge in a wine tasting or relax on the patio area with a bottle of your favourite Two Rivers wine whilst enjoying a cheese or antipasto platter featuring local produce from around the region. Whichever you choose, your time at Two Rivers will be unforgettable. 2 Yarrawa Road, Denman 2328 P: 02 6547 2556 E: sales@tworivers.com.au W: tworivers.com.au

10 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


12 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 info@smllforest.com.au 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

13 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

14 The Denman and Districts Heritage Village Museum is the newest attraction to the Upper Hunter’s places to visit, and it host an amazing eclectic collection of curiosities. The new museum is located next to the Old Denman Football Grounds. Many of the items on display are owned by Jeff Wolfgang, who has been collecting for many decades. Being able to display his extensive collection has a been his dream for some time. The display has a little of something for everybody, showcasing items from pioneers and early settlers, and then through the ages to highlight how things have progressed. The new museum is a living and tangible door to the history, identity, and uniqueness of the Denman district. For a gold coin donation, visitors can take a step back into the past and experience the history of the region in one magnificent location. New Museum Showcases Collection of Days Gone By

15 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.

16 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.

17 In the realm of aviation enthusiasts, there exists a magical event that transports attendees back in time, allowing them to witness the power and grace of vintage aircraft. Warbirds Over Scone is an airshow that brings together a dazzling array of warplanes from different eras, showcasing the rich history and technological evolution of aviation. This event is not merely a display of machines; it’s a celebration of the spirit and ingenuity that defined pivotal moments in aviation history. The roar of radial engines and the distinctive silhouettes of iconic aircraft create an atmosphere unlike any other. The event typically features a diverse lineup, ranging from World War I biplanes to Cold War-era jets, all meticulously restored to their former glory. Enthusiasts and families alike gather to witness these flying legends take to the skies, their engines singing the songs of a bygone era. One of the highlights of Warbirds Ove Scone is the opportunity for attendees to get up close and personal with these vintage marvels. Aviation history comes alive as spectators walk among the aircraft, meeting passionate pilots and dedicated restoration crews who have breathed new life into these mechanical time capsules. The stories behind each plane, from daring wartime missions to post-conflict service, add depth and meaning to the experience. The airshow itself is a breathtaking display of skill and precision. Aerobatic manoeuvres, formation flying, and simulated dogfights demonstrate the agility and power of these warbirds. The sight of a squadron of P-51 Mustangs thundering across the sky or a graceful Spitfire executing barrel rolls evokes a sense of awe and nostalgia. Beyond the aerial displays, the event fosters a sense of community among aviation aficionados. Enthusiasts swap stories, share restoration tips, and forge connections that span generations. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of vintage aviation, bringing people together to celebrate a shared passion for history, engineering, and the thrill of flight. Warbirds Over Scone stands as a testament to the timeless allure of vintage aviation. This gathering of warbirds not only showcases the impressive machines that once ruled the skies but also honours the men and women who flew them. As the engines roar and the aircraft dance through the clouds, attendees are transported to an era when the skies were the ultimate theatre of heroism and innovation. A CATALYST FOR COMMUNITY GROWTH A PROSPERITY In the heart of New South Wales, lies the Upper Hunter region, a picturesque landscape known for its sprawling countryside, charming towns, and vibrant communities. While its natural beauty is undeniable, the region’s true dynamism comes to life during major events, serving as a catalyst for community growth and prosperity. The Upper Hunter’s calendar is dotted with a diverse range of major events that draw locals and visitors alike, creating a tapestry of cultural, sporting, and economic significance. Major events play a crucial role in putting the Upper Hunter on the map, attracting tourism, and boosting the local economy. Major events in the Upper Hunter are more than mere gatherings; they are the lifeblood of a thriving community. From celebrating local produce to fostering a sense of pride and identity, these events contribute to the region’s growth and prosperity. As the Upper Hunter continues to evolve, its commitment to hosting and supporting major events ensures that its unique charm and vibrancy will be shared with the world, creating a legacy for generations to come. IN THE UPPER HUNTER Major Events MARCH23RD – 24TH A spectacular display of vintage aviation excellence: WARBIRDS OVER SCONE

18 Every year, the picturesque town of Scone, nestled in the heart of the New South Wales Upper Hunter Valley, comes alive with the thunderous hooves of majestic horses, heralding the arrival of the highly anticipated Scone Horse Festival. This equestrian extravaganza, celebrated with fervour and flair, pays homage to the rich horse breeding heritage of the region, showcasing a unique blend of tradition, culture, and the undeniable bond between humans and horses. The Scone Horse Festival, now in its fourth decade, is a testament to the town’s enduring love affair with these graceful creatures. Locals and visitors alike eagerly mark their calendars for this event, which typically spans a week and offers a diverse range of activities for horse enthusiasts and families alike. One of the festival’s highlights is the breathtaking horse parade that winds its way through the town’s streets. Magnificent breeds, from the regal Thoroughbreds to the sturdy Australian Stock Horses, proudly strut their stuff, their riders adorned in traditional attire that reflects the historical significance of the equine industry in Scone. Spectators are treated to a visual feast as the parade showcases the versatility and beauty of these incredible animals. For those seeking a more interactive experience, the festival offers a chance to witness the skills of talented equestrians in action through various competitions and demonstrations. Showjumping, dressage, and barrel racing competitions draw skilled riders from across the region, turning the festival grounds into a battleground of skill, agility, and precision. A unique aspect of the Scone Horse Festival is its commitment to education and community engagement. Workshops and demonstrations provide attendees with insights into the world of horse care, breeding, and training. Families can enjoy hands-on activities like pony rides for the little ones, fostering a sense of connection between the community and the magnificent creatures that play such a vital role in Scone’s history. Beyond the equine-centric events, the festival embraces the cultural tapestry of the region. The lively Country Music Night, featuring local and national talents, creates a festive atmosphere as people gather to enjoy live music and dance under the starlit Hunter Valley sky. Food stalls offering local delicacies and crafts add to the vibrant ambiance, ensuring there’s something for everyone to savour. The Scone Horse Festival is not merely a celebration; it is a living testament to the enduring spirit of a town that has been intrinsically linked to the world of horses for generations. As the sun sets on another successful festival, leaving behind the echoes of hooves and the laughter of families, it’s evident that Scone’s love affair with horses is not just a tradition—it’s a legacy that continues to gallop into the future. MAY10TH – 19TH Gallop into tradition: THE SCONE HORSE FESTIVAL

19 Every year, the picturesque town of Merriwa in the Upper Hunter New South Wales, comes alive with the vibrant colours of wool and the sounds of festivities during the much-anticipated Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces. This unique celebration pays homage to the town’s rich agricultural heritage, particularly its wool industry, and attracts visitors from near and far. For more than 30 years, the festival, has become a staple in the community, drawing together locals and visitors to revel in the region’s proud farming traditions. The event typically takes place in June, marking the beginning of winter, when the sheep are freshly shorn, and the wool is at its finest. This timing adds an authentic touch to the celebration, as it allows attendees to witness the entire wool production process, from shearing to the final product. One of the festival’s main attractions is the iconic Running of the Sheep. Picture a charming parade featuring hundreds of fluffy sheep trotting through the town’s main street, guided by skilled herders, and accompanied by cheering crowds. It’s a spectacle that captures the essence of rural life and showcases the importance of sheep farming in the region. The festival’s commitment to community engagement is evident in its diverse program of events. Families can enjoy a variety of activities, from sheepdog trials that highlight the intelligence and agility of working dogs to shearing demonstrations that provide insights into the art of turning fleece into wool. For the creatively inclined, there are workshops on wool spinning and knitting, allowing participants to try their hand at traditional crafts. Food and market stalls add another layer to the festival’s charm, offering a taste of the region’s local produce. Visitors can sample delicious lamb dishes, savour artisanal cheeses, and explore handmade crafts, all while enjoying the warm and friendly atmosphere that permeates the festival grounds. Live entertainment is a key component of the Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces, with local musicians and performers taking the stage to celebrate the region’s cultural diversity. From folk tunes to country ballads, the musical backdrop enhances the overall experience, creating a festive ambiance that resonates throughout the town. The festival’s success is not only measured by its ability to entertain but also by its positive impact on the local economy. Businesses flourish during the event as visitors flock to Merriwa, boosting tourism and supporting the town’s economy. Additionally, the festival promotes a sense of community pride, fostering connections between locals and visitors who share a common appreciation for rural traditions. In essence, the Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces is more than just a celebration of sheep and wool; it’s a heartfelt tribute to the town’s agricultural roots. As the festival continues to grow and evolve, it remains a shining example of how communities can come together to celebrate their heritage, creating lasting memories and traditions for generations to come. Celebrating Rural Heritage: THE MERRIWA FESTIVAL OF THE FLEECES JUNE7TH – 9TH

20 Australia, known for its diverse cultural landscape, plays host to a unique and vibrant celebration that transports attendees to the Scottish Highlands. The Aberdeen Highland Games, nestled in the heart of the Upper Hunter, has become a standout event, blending traditional Scottish heritage with the Aussie spirit. This annual extravaganza attracts both locals and visitors, offering a day filled with athletic prowess, cultural displays, and a lively camaraderie that echoes the spirit of the Highlands. The picturesque town of Aberdeen, with its rolling hills and charming rural setting, provides an ideal backdrop for this transcontinental homage to Scottish traditions. Held annually, the Aberdeen Highland Games have become a must-attend event for those seeking a taste of Scotland right in the heart of Australia. One of the main draws of the Highland Games is the impressive display of strength and skill in traditional Scottish athletic events. The caber toss, a crowd favourite, sees competitors hoisting and tossing massive logs end over end. The tug-of-war, a test of teamwork and sheer strength, pits teams against each other in a battle of wills. Attendees marvel at the athleticism of the competitors as they partake in events like the stone put and weight over bar, showcasing the enduring legacy of these ancient Scottish competitions. Beyond the athletic feats, the Aberdeen Highland Games offer a rich cultural experience. Bagpipers fill the air with the haunting melodies of Scotland, providing a sonic backdrop that transports attendees to the misty Highlands. Traditional Scottish dancers, adorned in colourful kilts, grace the stage with intricate footwork, adding a touch of grace to the rugged festivities. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, donning tartans and kilts as they join the revelry. The event doesn’t just cater to the athletic and cultural enthusiasts; it also welcomes families with open arms. A dedicated children’s area ensures that the younger attendees are entertained with face painting, storytelling, and interactive activities, fostering a love for Scottish culture from an early age. The Aberdeen Highland Games truly embody the spirit of inclusivity, creating an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. Local vendors line the grounds, offering a tantalizing array of Scottish and Australian delicacies. From haggis and meat pies to traditional Aussie barbecue, the culinary offerings mirror the fusion of two rich cultures. Attendees can indulge in a feast of flavours while enjoying the festivities. The Aberdeen Highland Games are a testament to the enduring global appeal of Scottish traditions. This unique event seamlessly combines athletic prowess, cultural richness, and a welcoming atmosphere, making it a standout on the Australian events calendar. As the sun sets over the picturesque town of Aberdeen, attendees depart with a shared sense of camaraderie, having experienced a day that beautifully bridges the gap between two distant lands. The Aberdeen Highland Games are more than an event; they are a celebration of heritage, strength, and the enduring spirit of cultural exchange. JULY6TH A Spirited Celebration Down Under: ABERDEEN HIGHLAND GAMES

21 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

22 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

23 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 | reception@theremington.com.au 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!

24 EATING OUT Upper Hunter              € ‚   ƒ „  † †  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 theteam@doublepicc.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

25 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

26 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


28 Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Upper Hunter, Two Rivers Wines in Denman stands as a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship that defines Australian winemaking. With its rich history, breathtaking vineyard landscapes, and an exquisite array of wines, this boutique cellar door has become a hidden gem for wine enthusiasts seeking a unique and authentic tasting experience. Two Rivers Wines is situated on the banks of the iconic Hunter River, providing an idyllic setting for the cultivation of premium grapes. The vineyard’s name pays homage to the two rivers – the Goulburn and the Hunter – that converge nearby, contributing to the distinct terroir that shapes the character of their wines. This confluence of natural elements creates a microclimate that is ideal for producing high-quality grapes, resulting in wines that are a true reflection of the region’s unique geography. One of the hallmarks of Two Rivers Wines is their commitment to sustainable and environmentally conscious winemaking practices. The team takes great pride in maintaining the ecological balance of the vineyard, ensuring that the land remains vibrant and healthy for future generations. This dedication to sustainability is not only evident in their vineyard management but also in the winemaking process itself, where innovation and tradition coalesce to produce wines of exceptional quality. Two Rivers portfolio showcases a diverse selection of varietals, each expressing the unique characteristics of the terroir. From the crisp and refreshing Semillon to the bold and robust Shiraz, Two Rivers Wines offers a spectrum of flavours that cater to a range of palates. Their flagship wines, such as the Reserve Stone’s Throw Semillon and Reserve Hidden Hive Verdelho, have garnered acclaim for their complexity and balance, capturing the essence of the region in every sip. The cellar door at Two Rivers Wines provides an intimate and inviting space for tastings, where visitors can savour the fruits of the vine in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide guests through the tasting experience, offering insights into the nuances of each wine and suggesting pairings that enhance the sensory pleasure. Beyond the exceptional wines, Two Rivers Wines hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including wine dinners, parkrun, “Carols in the Vines” and many beautiful weddings. With guest accommodation onsite, these occasions offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the vineyard, creating lasting memories against the backdrop of the stunning Hunter Valley. Two Rivers Wines stands as a beacon of quality and authenticity in the world of Australian winemaking. With its commitment to sustainability, picturesque surroundings, and a portfolio of exceptional wines, this boutique vineyard and cellar door invites both novices and connoisseurs alike to savour the artistry that defines each bottle. A visit to Two Rivers Wines is not just a wine tasting – it’s an exploration of the beauty and passion that make Australian wines truly exceptional. THE ESSENCE OF TWO RIVERS WINES IN DENMAN Discover



31    Stay at Scone’s only officially rated 4-star accommodation... www.sconemotorinn.com.au | relax@sconemotorinn.com.au 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

32 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 ACCOMMODATION Where to STay

33 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 isismotel@yahoo.com.au 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 | lyn@strathearnparklodge.com.au www.strathearnparklodge.com.au Unwind in Scone's Premier Accommodation... 205 Kelly Street, Scone NSW 2337 (secure car parking entrance from Kingdon Street) Exclusive serviced apartments in the heart of Scone. With the perfect combination of service, privacy, space and functionality, whether for business or leisure, your stay at Portman House will be memorable for all the right reasons. For more information or to book phone 02 6545 9726 or visit portmanhouse.com.au PORTMAN HOUSE

34 ACCOMMODATION Where to STay 0427 463 123 www.cccottages.com.au cc.cottagescontact@gmail.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 cc.cottagescontact@gmail.com | www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/23133745


36 THE CHARM OF MURRURUNDI Discovering Nestled in the heart of the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, Murrurundi stands as a testament to the timeless beauty of rural Australia. This quaint town, with its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm community spirit, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by avid travellers seeking an authentic Australian experience. Murrurundi’s history dates back to the early 19th century when it was established as a stopover point for travellers and stockmen navigating the vast landscapes of New South Wales. Today, the town maintains its historical charm, evident in the well-preserved colonial architecture that lines the streets. The Murrurundi Heritage Walk takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing landmarks such as the historic railway station, the picturesque St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the Pioneer Cottage, and the charming local pubs that have been serving the community for generations. Some of the towns stand out attractions include, the Fox’s Store, an eclectic experience of a Greek Milk Bar, Medical Muesum and Vintage Antiques all under the one the roof. Murrurundi’s newest attraction is Magpie Distilling, their award-winning range of Gins incorporate distinctly diverse blends of locally sourced fruit and botanicals, which are carefully combined 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, along with their Blackbird Coffee Liqueur. The boutique distillery is now firmly entrenched on the Upper Hunter’s tourist trail as a stopover for tastings and sensational grazing boards. For those seeking outdoor adventures, be sure to check out the “Eye of the Needle” Nature Walk. It is a is steady uphill climb through a jumble of massive granite boulders and onto the Eye of the Needle, a deep narrow crack in the cliff, almost so tight you can barely turn around. Then continue upwards to the rocky outcrops that overlook the town below. Murrurundi is also renowned for its vibrant arts and cultural scene. The local galleries and studios showcase the work of talented regional artists, such as David Darcy and Michael Reid, who capture the essence of rural life through paintings, sculptures, and crafts. The Michael Reid gallery is a unique regional destination for exhibitions of contemporary Australian art. It’s also a great place to enjoy some fine food & coffee surrounded by their beautiful gardens. Each September the town hosts the “The King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival”, a widely enjoyed agricultural and community event showcasing the traditional skills of Australian Stockmen and women. The event is thrilling to watch and also includes markets, a whip cracking school, bush poetry, billy boiling competition, goat races, damper making, and much more. When it comes to culinary delights, Murrurundi offers a delightful array of options that showcase the region’s fresh produce. The local markets, held regularly, feature an abundance of artisanal products, organic fruits and vegetables, and handmade crafts. Visitors can savour the flavours of the Upper Hunter at the town’s charming cafes and eateries, where farm-to-table dining is more than a trend—it’s a way of life. Murrurundi is nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and surrounded in natural beauty. At night, the sky comes alive with a dazzling display of stars. Away from the bright lights of the city, stargazers can marvel at the clear night skies and constellations that have guided travellers for centuries. The tranquil atmosphere and crisp country air make it the perfect setting for a peaceful evening under the stars. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Murrurundi offers a unique blend of experiences that capture the essence of rural Australia. As Murrurundi celebrates its past, it also embraces the future with open arms, welcoming travellers to discover the warmth and charm that make this town a true hidden gem in the Australian countryside.