Red wine, roaring fireplaces and undulating landscapes kissed with a gold hue. Love is most definitely in Mudgee Region’s crisp winter air.
“Sweetheart, would you like more wine?”, you ask from the sun-drenched balcony. Meanwhile, your other half slides further and further into the warm, bubbling waters of your private hot tub; so relaxed, they’re almost unaware of your prompt for a top-up. Of course, the mere mention of Mudgee’s smooth shiraz gets their attention. Before you can ask again, you’re toasting one another in the tub while the sun melts over the horizon. How romantic.
The Mudgee region sits 3.5 hours from bustling Sydney. It’s both close enough to easily escape and far enough to feel like you’re treading a new path – one where the air is alpine fresh, charming wineries are abundant, and the views soothe your soul as much as the seasonal fare that fills your belly. Could this be the ultimate recipe for romance? From the busy lanes of your daily life, where your mind races as fast as a dog to a bone, the road snaking through Mudgee’s hills is where the reset – and romance – begins.
Love is infused into the Mudgee region, from the locals who lovingly share their craft to the way the landscape invites you to disconnect, in order to reconnect. The latter comes easy at Mudgee’s eco-glamping retreats, Sierra Escape, Glenayr Farm and Evamor Valley. These gorgeous escapes have a few things in common: private outdoor bathtubs, crackling campfires and picturesque wilderness on their doorsteps. For those who seek romance under a sky full of stars, Bubbletent and Hideaway Domes offer a unique perspective of nature – a scene that can’t help but draw couples together like magnets. At the region’s charming modern cottages, including Canguri and Owl Head Lodge, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the region with the comforts of a fully-kitted, self-contained cabin.
After a night of sleeping beneath a star-lit sky, the region’s celebrated wineries begin to whisper your name. From the slopes of the Great Diving Ranges to tucked-away pastures in the middle of Mudgee, this region is brimming with boutique cellar doors, humble vineyards and flourishing restaurants. One of the most scenic is arguably the Barn at Blue Wren Farm. This seasonally-inspired restaurant flows out to a garden dotted with wooden tables and vibrant green fields showered in pastel-coloured flowers. You’ll also find yourself swooning over food and wine (and naturally, each other) at the paddock-to-plate Pipeclay Pumphouse, another of Mudgee’s award-winning establishments that has captured the attention and hearts of Australian foodies.
Nothing says winter romance like sipping cool-climate wines, whether in a bathtub or gazing over the vines at a whimsical winery. Cue Logan Wines, a celebrated winery and tasting room where rich, fruity wines are produced with a European twist. Owner, Peter Logan, prides himself on his creative winemaking – from selling wine in kegs to putting his own spin on the winemakers ‘rule book’. And then there are the views. The belvedere building was designed by Buzacott Architects to overlook Mudgee’s mountains like one big bold magnifying glass. Peter says, “Our modern cellar door looks out to the world, not inward”.
One person who certainly thinks outwards is Pieter van Gent, owner of the charismatic Mudgee winery, which is now run by his son, Philip van Gent. Not too far away, Pieter created the first Australian chardonnay wine in 1971 at Mudgee’s oldest vineyard. Pieter’s passion and talent for wine-making are evident in his collection of medals, including the Adelaide Wine Show’s Montgomery Trophy in 1974 for Best Burgundy. What really sets this vineyard apart is its cellar door – a cask hall lined with gigantic wine barrels and antique furniture. Not to mention their selection of ports, which includes a unique honey-like white variety that’ll warm you both up beneath the stars.
Of course, a romantic winter escape can’t come without the sweetest ingredient: chocolate. In typical artisan fashion, Spencer Cocoa takes no shortcuts when it comes to crafting chocolate. Their bean-to-bar approach begins in a small village in Vanuatu and ends in Mudgee, where beautiful bars of dark, milk and white chocolate are sold and savoured. As for drinking chocolate – a true splendour of winter – Coco Mudgee’s extensive range spans from chilli-infused to dreamy seven-spice chai.
When it’s too early for wine (is it ever?), a piping hot cup of chocolate is always a cosy alternative to sip on while you watch kangaroos hop around the meadows. Then there’s the great novel you’re ready to lose yourself in – that’s if you’re not completely distracted by the fairy-tale scenery and seductive sensations of Mudgee.
So, is the Mudgee region NSW’s most romantic winter retreat? We don’t sip and tell. Come out for some country air and find out for yourself.
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