Upper Hunter

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.