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Feast from the Hawkesbury to Mudgee

Shields Orchard, BilpinCREDIT: Destination NSW

Family enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin.

#feelnewsydney

Feast from the
Hawkesbury to Mudgee

Shields Orchard, Bilpin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Family enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin.

#feelnewsydney

Hashtags #feelnewsydney

Take a sensory journey from the food bowl of the Hawkesbury northwest of Sydney, through the back roads of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains to the Central West wine region of Mudgee. Dine on hyper-local meals, savour fine wines and fresh-pressed cider straight from the orchard, and immerse in rugged natural beauty on an epic road trip to remember.  

Eat your way through the Hawkesbury 

Indulge in the fresh produce of farms and orchards grown in the rich soils of the Hawkesbury riverine region, just a 50-minute drive from Sydney, for the perfect start to an epic gourmet road trip. Immerse in Sydney’s colonial past in heritage towns such as Pitt Town and Ebenezer before stopping in historic Windsor for lunch at the welcoming George St Loft café, where most dishes feature locally sourced ingredients, or the Lime and Coconut Cafe, which works closely with local farmers and producers. Or stay on the road until you reach Lochiel House in Kurrajong Heights to savour dishes showcasing native Australian ingredients, such as salt and pepper squid with kutjera (bush tomato) remoulade.  

Forge a deeper connection with the land and its farmers by picking your own fruit straight from the tree. Commune with the soil as you select your own citrus fruit at Anderson Farm in Sackville (from July to October), or book ahead to harvest apples from late summer to early May at Shields Orchard in Bilpin, a town famous for its orchards full of Granny Smith, Fuji and Pink Lady apples and other varieties.  

Swap the crunch of a freshly picked apple for the refreshing tartness of a cider at Bilpin Cider Co., where you can choose from 11 varieties, including four non-alcoholic versions. Stick around for live music and roast pork rolls with Pink Lady apple sauce during its monthly Thirsty Third Sunday gigs, or wash down wood-fired pizzas with a cider at Hillbilly Cider’s rustic shed, also in Bilpin.  

Soak up the stunning scenery of the Blue Mountains National Park as you continue along Bells Line of Road towards the Great Western Highway, pausing in the industrial town of Lithgow to refresh with a coffee or a snack at Lithgow Tin Shed, a renowned champion of local ciders and wines from the region.  

Hawkesbury River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Hawkesbury River. This is the high res copy of this image.

#feelnsw

Hawkesbury River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Hawkesbury River. This is the high res copy of this image.

#feelnsw

Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights.

#feelnsw

Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights.

#feelnsw

Graze all the way to Mudgee 

Heading west from Lithgow, turn off the Great Western Highway onto Castlereagh Highway to discover charming country towns and a thriving food and wine scene. Stop in at Jannei Goat Dairy, around a five minute drive after the turn-off onto Castlereagh Highway, to steep yourself in slow-food culture as you pick up sublime goat’s cheese to pair with Mudgee region wine. 

A further 20 minutes down the road brings you to Capertee and the second largest canyon in the world, where you can soak up the glorious views of rugged natural wonderland from one of Bubbletent Australia’s clear inflatable glamping tents.  

Rising refreshed and rejuvenated from a night communing with the stars, head back on the highway for the 20-minute drive to the start of the Bylong Valley Way, a scenic drive passing through picturesque towns such as Kandos before arriving in the heritage village of Rylstone in time to devour a lunch of dumplings, steamed buns and Chinese tea at 29 Nine 99 yum cha restaurant and tea house. 

After lunch, swap aromatic teas for French-style wines at De Beaurepaire Wines, a 10-minute drive out of Rylstone. Immerse in single-estate wines inspired by the Burgundy-like terroir of the hills outside town as you take in sweeping views from the vineyard’s historic cellar door. 

Strap in for the hour-long drive on a winding road back to Castlereagh Highway and on to Mudgee. One of the first signs you’re in serious wine country is the all-glass tasting room jutting out over a vineyard at Logan Wines, on your left as you approach Mudgee. Savour its bold wines before dropping into nearby First Ridge Wines to taste Italian varietals at its architecturally striking cellar door made from shipping containers. 

Maintain your inner glow with a leisurely lunch or dinner at wineries around the region, such as Lowe Family Wine Co., where you can savour organic drops under the shade of wisteria trees before sitting down a memorable meal at its on-site restaurant, The Zin House. Sit back and relish fresh-grown flavours from an expansive kitchen garden, orchards and grazing farmland — as well as producers based throughout the region.  

Explore the family-owned winery and chat to the knowledgeable winemakers at Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard, before nibbling on the house-made charcuterie and a menu of home-grown dishes matched to wines from the estate at its Pipeclay Pumphouse restaurant. Or take a deep dive into the region’s diverse wine offerings at Roth’s Wine Bar in town, where the tapas menu showcases local ingredients and you can choose from around 100 regional wines. 

For a breakfast to remember, soar above the region’s mountains and beautiful valley on a sunrise flight with Balloon Aloft before descending for a decadent champagne breakfast. Stay grounded with a breakfast bowl stacked with locally produced mushrooms, smoked bacon and salsa verde at Alby & Esthers, a favourite regional haunt located in an inviting laneway. Or set yourself up for a busy day of discovery with a satisfying breakfast and excellent coffee from The Coffee House at Parkview

Cleanse your palate for an afternoon of wine tasting with a craft ale at Mudgee Brewing Company, which is housed in a 100-year-old red brick wool store in the centre of town. Sip its signature stout, Mudgee Mud, as you listen to the intriguing story behind the name. Or head five minutes out of town to try butterscotch schnapps, Orancello and other small-batch spirits at Baker Williams Distillery.  

Bubbletent Australia, Capertee Valley CREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman enjoying Bubbletent Australia's outdoor bathtub with scenic views over the Capertee Valley.

#feelnsw

Bubbletent Australia, Capertee Valley CREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman enjoying Bubbletent Australia's outdoor bathtub with scenic views over the Capertee Valley.

#feelnsw

Logan Wines, Mudgee CREDIT: Destination NSW

Man enjoying views across the vineyards at Logan Wines, Mudgee.

#feelnsw

Logan Wines, Mudgee CREDIT: Destination NSW

Man enjoying views across the vineyards at Logan Wines, Mudgee.

#feelnsw

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