Upper Hunter

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.