Only a short 90 minute drive from Newcastle CBD and 3 hours from Sydney, the Upper Hunter Valley offers visitors a true country experience. If you are after a weekend break to escape the hustle and bustle of city life but don't want to venture too far then the Upper Hunter is the ideal location.
Most of the Upper Hunter's generous 18,000 square kilometres is devoted to national parks, nature reserves as well as rural uses like grazing, cropping, dairy farming and horse studs. Before you even leave the highway you will see cows, sheep and goats grazing and horse galloping in the fields.
We have an enticing selection of award winning and boutique epicurean food producers, wineries, cafes and restaurants. There is an annual calendar of festivals and events which includes many diverse horse activities to experience and enjoy.
The region is world famous as the horse capital of Australia and is home to many world-renowned horse studs, and the Australian Stock Horse Society National Headquarters.
The Upper Hunter is also the gateway to the wilderness of the Barrington Tops National Park where you can get lost from the outside world and embrace the rivers, forests and mountainous countryside. Lake Glenbawn also provides for fishing, water skiing and boating, with some gorgeous picnic spots to indulge in sampling the region's food and wines.
The region is one of the most diverse environments in Australia, from western grassland to alpine forests and subtropical zones. There are a wide variety of national parks ranging from comfortable family picnic grounds at Towarri National Park to wilderness areas of the Barrington Tops and Goulburn River National Parks. So whether walking, riding or four wheel driving, there's a place for you.
The Upper Hunter has a wide variety of accommodation from luxury B&Bs to award winning motels, caravan parks, cabins, farm stays and apartments.
Whether you are looking for a short break or a long stay, the region offers an enticing variety of activities. So pack the family, bikes and boats and come on up!
Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces is on this June Long Weekend!
Festival of the Fleeces is celebrating 25 years this weekend at Merriwa with 3 days of family fun and entertainment. The Festival is Merriwa's largest event attracting over 5000 visitors from all over the state who come to experience the country event. For the 25th year, the traditional Running of the Sheep will lead the Saturday parade which is a sight not to miss, with 200 hundred sheep in red socks run down the main street in Merriwa.
All day Saturday there will be plenty to do and see with exhibitions of knitting, wool spinning, shearing, vintage vehicle display, working sheep dogs and blacksmithing, team penning challenge, live music and around 150 market stalls including home made produce, arts and craft, face painting and food and coffee! There is also loads for the kids to do with the Kids Corner on the corner of Bettington & Vennacher Street. Activities for the kids include the ROAR Petting Zoo, GJ's Laser Tag, mini Jeep rides, jumping castle, reptile show, Sparkles the Clown and lots more. Saturday will end with Kaboom Fireworks around 6pm and afterwards it is the Battle of the Sexes Cut Out Competition.
Sunday starts off with the Sheep Yard Dog Trials and the Upper Hunter Team penning. At 9am enjoy the 2 hour entertaining Bush Poets Breakfast with the world's best Bush Poet Carol Heuchan. League Tag from 11am onwards will involve the Merriwa team taking on rivals Denman.
All of the money raised from the Festival is donated to the Westpac Rescue helicopter Service and Merriwa Volunteer Rescue Association who provide essential services in the region.
The full festival program is available at the Scone and Merriwa Visitor Information Centres.
For more information contact the Merriwa Visitor Information Centre on 6521 7046.
Hi there all, we are Terry and Denise Park from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Winning the Dometic Follow the Sun competition has given us the opportunity to explore this great part of New South Wales! Upper Hunter Country has so many surprises.
Sandy Hollow is a small country town in the Upper Hunter situated on the Golden Hwy. Sandy Hollow Tourist Park situated in the centre of town has the only entry to Giants Leap with dramatic sandstone cliffs that overshadow this quiet town. Terry along with myself a three mates attempted to climb these imposing sandstone cliffs, The boys made it to the top after about one hours climb but the girls were not as energetic and made it only half way before retreating back down.
The summit had great views to Mt Dangar and Goulburn National Park and the boys could see the town, caravan park and even a extremely long coal train meandering through the valley.
Sandy Hollow Tourist park is set in natural bushland a beautiful place with magnificent scenery. We have enjoyed the peace and relaxation in this spacious setting, the park has a large swimming pool as well as children's wading pool. Playground and fully enclosed trampoline and the large grassy areas makes for a great family stop over.
Great camp kitchen with two free BBQ areas. Guest laundry, internet access and a pub right across the road what more do you need!
The germination of an idea for a writers' festival began when I was unexpectantly invited to listen to some readings from the Warrah Writers' Group late last year. I had never attended one of these functions before and was relieved upon arrival to discover that I knew some of the others in the audience. As the afternoon progressed I was filled with wonder and admiration as people who I had known for years spoke so eloquently about the joys and hardships endured by all of us who live on the land.
The Scone Literary long Weekend is planned for 3 – 6 October this year. It will be the inaugural writers’ festival for Scone, the Horse Capital of Australia. Our mission statement is to promote books and nurture a love of literature, learning and writing. Our motto is 'Maintain the Page', a brilliant quote from Phillip Adams.
In this age of technology where the speed of communication is only restrained by the speed of light and visual images abound, the printed word has maintained significance. Printed words can define our sense of purpose, evoke forgotten memories or carry us away on fantastic journeys of escapism.
A group of like-minded individuals decided earlier this year to invite some authors to discuss their books over a series of literary lunches. Members from local writers’ groups in the Upper Hunter were invited to the discussions and the idea for a literary long weekend was put into action.
There will be a memoir writing course with Ben Taaffe on Friday afternoon at Scone Library followed by a panel debating ‘The Future of the Printed Word’ on Saturday morning.
ABC broadcaster Scott Bevan will officially open the festival on Friday night. He will also be speaking at a literary lunch at the Moonan Pub on Saturday.
Jane Rutter who enthralled the people of Scone a couple of years ago has been invited back to perform ‘An Irish Fantasy’ with flute and harp at the Gundy Hall on Saturday evening. Tickets for Jane Rutter's Concert will be on sale at the mentioned venues from this week.
Literary talks are planned at various food establishments and pubs in Scone on Sunday. Invited authors include Lisa Herbert, author of ‘The Bottom Drawer’ and Zane Hacker, author of ‘Antarctic Sundays’.
An historical walk, tracing the footsteps of Mark Twain, author of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ is planned for Sunday afternoon. Mark Twain caught the train to Scone in 1893, stayed at the Willow Tree Hotel and spoke at The School of Arts Hall. Local writers’ groups will have a reading of selected works in 'A Conversation' on Monday morning.
For more information visit: http://www.sconewritersfestival.com.au/
Anne Davies is a member of the organising committee for the inaugural Scone Literary Long Weekend.