Country Colours in New South Wales

Escape Sydney and head to one of these top regional centres.

Experience the striking landscapes of country New South Wales—its palette painting a canvas of golden, fiery hues. With their charming rustic towns, friendly country folk, vivid natural scenery, world-class wineries, fine gourmet cuisine, and fantastic festivals and events, the regional areas of the Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Bathurst and Orange are a playground for the senses and there has never been a better time to visit. So hire a car and take a scenic road trip of discovery, indulgence and relaxation.


Panorama of Mount View in the Hunter Valley (courtesy Mount View)
Panorama of Mount View in the Hunter Valley (courtesy Mount View)

Hunter Valley

With its lush vineyards, premium spas and incredible cuisine just a three-hour drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is one of the most popular weekend getaways for many city dwellers. As the oldest wine region in Australia, it’s home to more than 150 wineries, vineyards and cellar doors, providing ample opportunity to taste some of the country’s finest award-winning wines. Famous just as much for its food, the Hunter’s gourmet offerings can be enjoyed anywhere from charming country cafés and pubs to fine-dining restaurants, while an assortment of local delicacies such as jams, chutneys, chocolate, cheese and olive oil can be picked up from farmers’ markets. Plenty of activities will help balance out the indulging, such as bike riding through vineyards, guided walking tours through the historic towns, golf at world-class courses, horse riding through native bush and hot air ballooning for breathtaking views. Complete the day by pampering in a luxury spa or bliss out with a glass of the perfect drop as you watch the sun set behind the hills.


Mudgee blossoms around the clock tower in the city's centre (©Mudgee Tourism)
Mudgee blossoms around the clock tower in the city's centre (©Mudgee Tourism)

Mudgee

Just a 50-minute flight or 3.5-hour scenic drive northwest of Sydney, Mudgee welcomes you with its creative scene, friendly locals, rustic history and natural beauty. Renowned for its expansive vineyards, remarkable culinary offerings, fresh local produce and award-winning wines, the charming wine region spoils for choice with things to see, do and taste. Boasting more than 40 family-owned cellar doors, a distillery, brewery, fine restaurants, classic country pubs, cosy cafés, farmers’ markets and a thriving community of passionate artisans, Mudgee is a treat for the senses where you’ll discover many epicurean gems. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Cudgegong Valley, Mudgee’s enchanting town centre is best explored through a walking tour of its tree-lined streets, unique art and fashion boutiques, and heritage buildings. Browse the Farmer’s Market on the third Saturday of every month for local fresh and artisanal produce, cycle around the vineyards, take a picnic to the stunning Dunns Swamp in Wollemi National Park, or take a short road trip to one of the surrounding historic townships of Gulgong, Rylstone and Kandos, each unique in its own right.


 

Mount Panorama racetrack and views over Bathurst (©Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW)
Mount Panorama racetrack and views over Bathurst (©Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW)

Bathurst

As Australia’s oldest inland settlement and site of the country’s first
 gold discovery, this quaint country town oozes history and character.
 Its historical attractions, colonial buildings, museums and nearby former gold rush towns, tell the story of Bathurst’s past as “Gold Country”. These days however, Bathurst is more famous for its annual Bathurst 1000 motor race, held on the iconic Mount Panorama Scenic Drive, which is open to the public when not closed for racing. Enjoy incredible views during a leisurely afternoon drive and visit the National Motor Racing Museum’s impressive collection of memorabilia. Historic town open days offer a rare opportunity to walk through some of the oldest buildings in the country, Bathurst Slow Food Winter Winery Wander showcases the region’s wine and cuisine, while the Bathurst Show entertains the whole family.


An orchard in Orange (©Destination NSW)
An orchard in Orange (©Destination NSW)

Orange

While it may be a small country town, Orange is by no means a sleepy one, with its bustling boutiques, cafés and restaurants, impressive wineries and thriving community. Often referred to as Australia’s 
“Colour City”, the town’s landscapes glow with vibrant hues of gold, red, and orange. Its stunning natural beauty and variety of events make it popular to visit. Thanks to its cooler climate, it produces some of the best wines in the country. Explore the Orange Heritage Trail; browse the various markets, boutiques and galleries; take a hot air balloon ride at nearby Canowindra; enjoy a good old fashioned hearty pub meal or spend evenings by an open fire at a charming bed 
and breakfast.