First impressions

On arrival, I immediately recognise the motel's welcoming entrance. As it turns out, I had dined at the Winning Post’s restaurant, Charnwood Food and Wine, during my first Mudgee visit with friends years ago. I recall the meal being excellent, which fills me with excitement to check into my home for the following two nights.

I leave my car in the Winning Post’s car park before walking into the bright, modern reception area, where I’m immediately welcomed with a big smile and chit-chat with the easy-going receptionist. I relish the friendliness of the Mudgee Region as I relax into the conversation and attempt to leave Sydney’s bustle behind with a deep breath and a few laughs.

The abode

I’m booked in a Deluxe Room which grants me access to the Winning Post’s premium area around the back of the motel’s swimming pool. I hop out of my car, which is now parked directly in front of my room, where I see two chairs and a table sitting on my private verandah. When I open the door, my eyes widen as they look upon the humongous room. To my left is a long wooden desk with a sturdy, cushioned chair tucked underneath. To my right, a grey couch sits behind a marble coffee table. The queen bed faces a large TV, and the bathroom features a walk-in rain shower. Overall, the furnishings are modern yet comfortable, and the bed’s beautifully plush pillows are teasing me after my drive.

The Winning Post first opened in 1979 and apart from the old-world charm that permeates the main building’s stone walls, you wouldn’t know it. The Superior King and Queen rooms were only built in 2019, while the others – including the Deluxe Rooms, Family and Executive Suites and Self-contained Units – underwent renovations in 2018, giving the interiors a contemporary look and feel.

The locale

When it comes to location, it’s difficult to beat the Winning Post Motor Inn. Perched on Church Street, you can easily ditch your car for the morning to wander Mudgee’s quaint town centre. Just a four-minute walk away lies one of the region’s best bakeries. Althea by Zin is brimming with buttery pastries, moreish sausage rolls and quiches filled with the Zin Garden’s fresh vegetables. In the other direction, you’ll find the high street lined with boutique shops, country pubs and brilliant brunch spots like Cade Kitchen & Bar. When wine time arrives, the Winning Post Motor Inn is centrally located between the two cellar door districts.

Charnwood Food & Wine

If eating in is your thing, there’s no need to eat away from the Winning Post. If you’d rather roll out of bed into breakfast like I happily did one morning, the motel serves up a hearty hot and cold buffet breakfast with barista coffee available to order.

Come evening, the Charnwood Food and Wine restaurant – open seven days a week – serves a blend of sophisticated and quick dishes amid its sleek floor-to-ceiling windows and brick walls. In typical Mudgee fashion, Charnwood showcases the region’s produce; over 95 per cent of their wines come from local vineyards, including Charnwood Estate, known for its award-winning Shiraz and Merlot. Glancing through the drinks list, you may also recognise local names including Three Tails Brewery and Baker Williams Distillery.

On the last Friday and Saturday of each month, Charnwood serves Seafood Platters that are hand-delivered by the owner, Greg, directly from the Fisherman's Co-op in Newcastle. The platters have become so popular that pre-orders are required!

Open for all

Combining comfort with close proximity to the town, the Winning Post Motor Inn makes a relaxed stay for all travellers, from couples to professionals and families. The motel also specialises in group accommodation, including sports teams, weddings and social gatherings. The twenty-four-hour reception welcomes both weary and spontaneous travellers, arriving last minute or in the early hours of the morning.

Needless to say, I did not fit into the above category. Those crisp white sheets stole me away from the town’s nightlife for a peaceful night’s sleep. My two nights at the Winning Post Motor Inn were bliss.