For tasting local sweet treats

Spencer Cocoa chocolate Easter Bunny Mudgee Region NSW 2

1. Indulge in Mudgee’s finest chocolate

First up on any Easter feast menu is chocolate. Decorating, hunting and of course, eating. Thankfully, there are plenty of locales to do the latter in the Mudgee Region. The local family-run business, Spencer and Cocoa, has been producing bean-to-bar chocolate for over 10 years. After volunteering in the Solomon Islands, owner Luke Spencer, discovered a new passion and with it, a ripe opportunity. The now-celebrated chocolate business simultaneously supports families in Vanuatu and crafts sustainably produced, premium chocolate in Australia. Stop by the Mudgee Visitor Centre to stock up on their Easter bunnies and bars.

For hand-made Belgium chocolate with an artisan twist, wander along Market Street to Judy’s Chocolat shop. Located next to Cade Kitchen and Bar, Judy’s sells a range of traditional and unique chocolates, from peanut brittle to honeycomb-infused milk chocolate.

The Country Plate Rocky Road Mudgee Region NSW

2. Discover the region’s rocky road

Legend proclaims that rocky roads came from Europeans mixing their spoiled confectionery while travelling to Australia in the 1800s. Supposedly dubbed ‘rocky road’ after the undulating journey to Australia’s gold fields, it’s only fitting that the Mudgee Region – home to the former gold rush town of Gulgong – boasts two rocky road connoisseurs.

In the town of Rylstone, a 40-minute drive from the centre of Mudgee, The Country Plate sells small-batch hand-crafted treats, including four varieties of rocky roads. In Mudgee, Pebbly Path’s rocky road range is equally as impressive. Check out both local businesses to compare tasting notes. You can never have enough chocolate at Easter.

Three Tails Brewery Mudgee Region NSW

3. Sip chocolate-flavoured beverages

Have you ever tried a chocolate-infused beer? At the Mudgee Region’s Three Tails Brewery, you can swap chocolate for a “cheers”, over the brewery’s quirky collection of cold ones. Load up your tasting paddle with the Milky Bar Kid – a chocolate brown ale – and the Easter special, the Hot Cross Bun. And that’s just two of the 21 beers on tap. While you taste your way through a collection of ales, your nose will no doubt lead you to the counter of Smokin Bro and Co, an authentic Texan barbeque eatery that serves melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked meats at Three Tails Brewery’s trendy shared venue.

Baker W Illiams Distillery Mudgee Region NSW

4. Or sample sweet spirits

The term small-batch has been popping up around the Mudgee Region like blossoms in spring. This labour-of-love approach is indicative of the region’s sustainability that is palpable from organic wineries to farm-to-fork restaurants and at Mudgee’s very own distillery, Baker Williams. Situated next to Vinifera Wines, Baker Williams invites you to sample their range of small-batch liqueurs overlooking the vines. Those with an Easter sweet tooth have been known to fall head over heels for the Butterscotch Schnapps. Among their classic menu of liqueurs sit unique drops including their Mudgee Shiraz Gin – winner of the 2022 Australian Distilled Spirit Awards Silver.

Lawson Park Easter Egg Hunt Mudgee Region NSW

5. Join the annual Easter hunt

For families with kids in tow, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned Easter egg hunt. Every year, the Mid-Western Regional Council, in collaboration with Real FM, brings the Easter Bunny to all corners of the region. The first hunt to kick-off is hosted in Kandos, a 45-minute drive from Mudgee next to the town of Rylstone on Monday, 3 April. Gulgong’s Easter Egg Hunt, a 25-minute drive west of Mudgee, will be held on Wednesday, 5 April. The finale will be hosted in Mudgee’s Lawson Park on Thursday, 6 April. All hunts are free to attend; simply bring a basket and let the race begin.

For the romantics

Balloon Aloft Mudgee Region NSW

6. See Mudgee from above

To mark the special weekend, a hot air balloon experience with Balloon Aloft is a surefire way to create fond, romantic memories. The flight takes off around dawn, just in time to watch the sunrise peek its head over the horizon, illuminating the landscape with golden hues. Ascending 2,000 feet (609 metres) into the blue sky, your balloon drifts past the region’s towns, rolling hills and vineyards. Keep your eyes peeled to spot resident wildlife, including hopping kangaroos. After one hour of ogling at the views from above, sit down for a gourmet breakfast at the locally celebrated Cade Kitchen and Bar in the heart of Mudgee. Talk about starting your day on a high note.

Zin House Mudgee NSW

7. Sit down for a fine-dining feast

What better time to gather your family and friends for a feast? For a fine dining affair, book a table at Lowe Family Wine Co’s Zin House Restaurant. This modern restaurant is known for its biodynamic and organic dishes, crafted with fresh ingredients from the onsite Tinja Farm. Expect dishes like twice-baked cheese souffle; rhubarb sorbet paired with Spencer Cocoa white chocolate ice cream; and Tinja beef paired with truffled cauliflower puree. Wash it down with Lowe Family Wine Co’s fabulous range of wines.

Logan Wines Mudgee Region NSW

8. Discover picturesque wineries

Going to the Mudgee Region without tasting wine is like avoiding skiing in the European Alps. With over 35 cellar doors in the region, picking just a handful can be a difficult feat, so why not let someone else do it for you? With Mudgee VIP Tours or Mudgee Wine Explorer Tours, you’ll be chauffeured to some of the best wineries in the region, leaving you to relax and taste wine to your heart’s content.

For a different perspective, rent e-bikes from Ezyride Mudgee to hop between cellar doors on two wheels. Brett, the owner, has a reputation for going the extra mile (pun intended) to ensure your day out is as seamless and enjoyable as it should be. Whichever option you choose, you can look forward to awe-inspiring hilltop views from Logan Wines, First Ridge and Moothi Estate; unique flavours at Lazy Oak Wines and Pieter van Gent Winery; and idyllic scenery at di Lusso Estate, Rosby Wines and Cellar by Gilbert.

For learning something new

Gulgong Gold Experience Mudgee Region NSW

9. Swap chocolate for gold

If there’s one thing that’s more popular than chocolate, it’s gold. Once you’ve thrown in your Easter egg basket, it’s time to venture over to Gulgong’s Gold Rush Experience for a friendly-friendly trip back in time. In 1870, a man called Tom Saunders first discovered gold on Gulgong’s Red Hill and from then, Mudgee’s gold fields era began. Step into a time capsule at the Gold Rush Experience, where life on the gold fields is revealed through audio, photographs and historic remnants, including the original mine shaft. Those feeling lucky can learn the art of gold panning and try their luck! Note, that the Gold Rush Experience is not open on Good Friday.

The Little Cooking School and Commissary Mudgee Region NSW

10. Learn how to bake hot cross buns

If there’s anything better than eating a hot cross bun, it’s the dulcet, perhaps nostalgic scent of freshly baked buns wafting through your kitchen. Little Cooking School Mudgee is hosting two Hot Cross Bun Baking workshops on Friday, 29 March and Saturday, 30 March. Join passionate Chef, Tamara, for a morning of coffee, chatting and cooking. You’ll leave with a dozen hot cross buns, an age-old recipe and a ticket to being the most popular person in your household.

Centennial Hotel Gulgong Mudgee Region NSW

11. Have a yarn at a local pub

For a small town, Mudgee is abundant with pubs to sink a cold one, sway to live music or settle in for a friendly yarn. The Centennial Hotel is Gulgong’s oldest operating hotel, known for its presence on Australia’s first $10 note and more recently, its charming character meets cosy pub food. A stone’s throw away lies the Prince of Wales Hotel, a historic pub that has caught the hearts of locals and travellers alike since 1872, and never stopped. If live music and cocktails are on your agenda, don’t miss the Easter fun at Kelly's Irish Bar or the Woolpack Hotel. No matter where you take a seat, you’ll no doubt learn something new about Mudgee, its locals, or maybe even yourself. If you don’t think you like cocktails, the Balcony Bar – upstairs from Kelly’s – might just change your mind.

For family fun

Mudgee Water Park Mudgee Region NSW

12. Cool down at the Water Park

Make a splash with your family at the region’s collection of swimming pools, located in Mudgee, Gulgong and Kandos. In the centre of Mudgee, the buzzing vibrations of kids zipping down waterslides, dodging water buckets and running amid spray cannons is evidence of the fun to be had at the Mudgee Pool and Water Park. Next to the park lies an enormous heated swimming pool, picnic tables, amenities, and when your group's energy needs a top-up, an on-site cafe.

Cudgegong Waters Park Lake Windamere Mudgee Region NSW

13. Spend the day at Cudgegong Waters Park

If the great outdoors is your family's cup of tea, swap the town centre for the blissful surroundings of Cudgegong Waters Park. This popular centre is perched on the foreshore of Lake Windamere, 30 minutes from Mudgee and three hours from Sydney.

Wrapped with shady trees and wide green lawns, locals flock here to enjoy the small things in life: a cool breeze with a view, cheese and crackers with a side of Mudgee chardonnay, and the cooling sensation of water splashing your skin. Cudgegong boasts the only boat ramp access to the dam, making it a water sports hot spot, too. Rent kayaks from Midwest Kayak and Adventures or enjoy a refreshing swim. Lake Windamere also has a plentiful stock of fish, from Murray cod to eel-tailed catfish and golden perch. Pick up bait from the on-site kiosk and get ready to cast a line.

For nature and heritage

Southern Cross Kayaking Ganguddy Dunns Swamp Wollemi National Park Mudgee Region NSW

14. Kayak next to giant pagoda rocks

Not to be confused with Cudgegong Waters Park, Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp (or Ganguddy), is another of the region’s beloved hangout spots. Don’t let the name fool you. This picturesque waterway on the Cudgegong River lies within the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park and its diverse flora and fauna are just one of the reasons why it has long been a significant site for the local Dabee Aboriginal People. Join an informative kayaking tour with Southern Cross Kayaking to gain further insight into the natural heritage of this spectacular waterway. Shouldered by beguiling rock escarpments and pagoda formations, you might find yourself a little dumbfounded.

The Drip Goulburn River National Park Mudgee Region

15. Discover the Drip Gorge Walk

For those sought-out moments of peace, there’s no better companion than nature. The rustling of leaves in the breeze, wildlife crunching under the forest’s canopy and the distant acoustics of bird songs. You can experience it all around Mudgee’s collection of nature walks.

As far as short walks go, The Drip Gorge Walk is up there with New South Wales’ best. This 3.5km cultural trail begins off Ulan-Cassilis Road and zig zags through the Goulburn River State Conservation Park, towards the peaceful ‘Great Dripping Wall’, aptly named after the rainwater that trickles over sandstone moss-coated rocks. The gorge, enveloped by apple gum trees, orchids and tree violets, is rich in cultural heritage and of great significance to the local Aboriginal Wiradjuri People. Nearby, lies the sacred ‘Hands on the Rock’, an ancient Aboriginal rock art site where over 100 red hand stencils of women, children and motifs adorn the rock face.