It is time for a road trip to the Upper Hunter!
As spring starts to come around, the nights get warmer and the skies are clear making it the perfect time to hop into the car and head to the Upper Hunter. Whether it is a midweek escape from your busy day to day life or a weekend getaway. The Upper Hunter is only 90 mins from Newcastle and 3 hours from Sydney, making it the ideal location for a true country experience. With so many amazing experiences to enjoy in the region, we have done the hard part for you! Here are our top eat, drink, stay and play picks for a couples retreat or a girl’s getaway.
WHERE TO EAT
The Cottage, Scone
A beautifully restored cottage built in the 1860s and nestled in the main street of Scone is the home to one of the Upper Hunter’s award winning restaurants – The Cottage. You instantly feel as though you have walked into a top restaurant in Sydney, the stylish furnishings and décor perfectly set the scene for something special and the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcomed. New Zealand born chef, Colin Selwood, serves up his signature dry aged, hormone-free, grassed-fed beef, which has won many awards including ‘Best Regional Steak Restaurant in NSW’. When possible The Cottage sources from local producers and supports other businesses in the region and works with local farmers to deliver the quantity and quality the restaurant demands. This is definitely the place to book for that special occasion.
The Cottage, Scone
195 Kelly St, Scone
Tuesday to Wednesday – Dinner only
Thursday to Saturday – Lunch & dinner
Vines Restaurant at Hollydene
Vines Restaurant is more than just a place to eat, it is an inviting environment with a relaxed atmosphere, a delicious seasonal menu, great wine straight from their winery, craft beer and one cracker of a view overlooking the vineyard, Coolmore Stud and the rugged hills of Wollemi National Park. The award winning Vines Restaurant serves a fantastic selection of modern and rustic cuisines to complement their delicious wines. The bar area provides wine tastings with an inviting lounge area and a prime spot for those spectacular views while you chill out and sample the local wine. Enjoy the fresh country air and dine out on the beautiful outdoor alfresco area while indulging on buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. Hollydene have recently installed a new Tesla Supercharger station so you can take the opportunity to recharge while enjoying the Estate.
Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate
3483 Golden Highway, Jerrys Plains
Monday to Thursday – Lunch only
Friday to Saturday – Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Sunday – Breakfast & lunch
Eat @ 153
After something a little more laid back? We hear you! If you come up to stay in the country a good quality cafe is most likely on the bucket list. T take a scenic drive along the Golden Highway, into the country town of Merriwa, past the 10m high sheep in red socks frolicking on the silos, to the main street where you will discover Eat @ 153. This fantastic little café is a hive of activity with a delicious menu to please everyone. The friendly environment and cute décor is popular with locals and visitors alike. This country cafe will not disappoint you!
Eat @ 153
153 Bettington Street, Merriwa
Monday to Friday – 6.00am to 3.00pm
Saturday & Sunday – 7.00am to 2.00pm
WHERE TO DRINK
They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink! At The Thoroughbred, this will never be a problem as they have an extensive wine list with Hunter Valley’s famous wineries featuring prominently. They also have 8 beer taps including Stone & Wood craft beers and locally made cider or choose from our delicious cocktail list. The hand crafted Carrara marble bar is a top spot for afterword drinks or our large beer garden area is ideal for a relaxing drink with friends on those balmy summer nights. Undergoing a major facelift throughout 2016 The Thoroughbred has been lavishly refurbed in top class fashion. The Thoroughbred now features a gourmet bakery and cafe, upmarket Steakhouse styled dining and bar areas. Relax and take a walk down memory lane of Scone’s rich thoroughbred heritage whilst enjoying a cold beverage.
222 Kelly St, Scone
Open 7 day 6.30am til late
A new generation of Hotel & Accommodation with an award winning a la carte restaurant and wine bar. Perfectly positioned in the heart of Muswellbrook and walking distance to hotels, clubs and sporting facilities, The Remington offers guests and locals the combination of both luxury and affordability with their dining. With a fully licensed bar and stylish modern Australian cuisine restaurant serving award winning locally sourced produce, a comprehensive hand selected wine list and a selection of cocktails & cold beverages to quench anyone’s thirst. There is always a tasty cocktail of the month which can be enjoyed with the live entertainment on the alfresco deck. Make sure you check their Facebook page for upcoming performances.
28-32 Maitland St, Muswellbrook
Open 7 days for breakfast lunch and dinner
WHERE TO STAY
Portman House – self contain.
Portman House serviced apartments are centrally located in the heart of Scone, horse capital of Australia. Portman House is perfectly situated when it comes to dining. Scone’s spectacular restaurant The Cottage is directly opposite, it is a must if you are entertaining or travelling with someone special. Plus there are plenty of cafes nearby for breakfast and coffee. The apartments are also in short walking distance to some of Scone’s entertainment venues such as new White Park Arena and the gorgeous Scone Arts and Crafts Hall. Check out our events page for upcoming events in Scone. If you’re driving a Tesla, Portman House offer free charging to guests, enquire when booking.
205 Kelly St, Scone
Cherson Cottage is a boutique four bedroom country cottage nestled beside the river in the hills of the Upper Hunter, near Moonan Flat, providing a secluded and quiet country stay. Through the use of carefully designed interior and exterior finishes Cherson Cottage evokes a sense of comfort and luxury within the country. There is indoor and outdoor dining areas, a well equipped kitchen and a practical yet comfortable sitting area. There is also a quaint outdoor fire pit area for those cold nights under the stars with a glass of local Upper Hunter wine. Located 3.5 hours from Sydney and a beautiful 30 minute drive East of Scone, this cottage is the perfect romantic getaway or girl’s weekend away.
Moss Vale Rd, Moonan Flat
Murrurundi Caravan Park
Murrurundi – the crown of the Hunter and an art lovers delight! Murrurundi Caravan Park is surrounded by breathtaking mountainous scenery – nestled at the base of the Liverpool range and the Great Dividing Range. The park offers all sorts of sites, each designed with your convenience in mind. Catering for single travellers, couples and families, Doug and Carol will help in any way that they can. Our caravan park is conveniently situated an hour away from Tamworth and two and half hours from Newcastle on the New England Highway. This is place to stay when the Murrurundi King of the Ranges Festival is on in February.
Murrurundi Caravan Park
11 Bernard Street, Murrurundi
WHERE TO PLAY
Aussie Ark & Barrington Tops
Want to get up and close with our Tasmanian devils? Well now you can.
Aussie Ark’s “Devils in the Wild” tours are available monthly throughout the year. The tour is fully escorted by an Aussie Ark keeper and runs for 2.5 hours and starts off with an introduction of the project and the Tasmanian devil at the Interpretation centre. The tour will then take you on a journey where you will see the devils in the free-range enclosures. You will enter a huge free-range enclosure and experience a rare opportunity to really get up close and personal in the devil’s natural enclosure to witness a communal feed to encourage wild behaviour. Finally, depending on the time of year you visit, you will even get the chance to hold and interact with the newest devil joeys. https://www.aussieark.org.au/tours/
After the tour, spend the rest of the day exploring the magnificent World Heritage listed Barrington Tops. Experience one of the many walks or hikes on offer throughout the park, ranging from easy strolls to more difficult treks. https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/barrington-tops-national-park
Tastes of the Upper Hunter – Hunter Belle, Two Rivers and Pukara Estate
Eat and drink your way through the Upper Hunter by sampling our award winning produce.
Hunter Belle Cheese Café – First stop is Hunter Belle Cheese Café at the north end of Muswellbrook. Hunter Belle Cheese has a large variety of cheese to suit your taste. Whether it’s a creamy Camembert, punchy blue, or crumbly cheddar they can provide the perfect cheese for any occasion! The café has viewing windows into the cheese making room, maturation room and packing room, allow visitors to understand how cheese is made, while a wall mural shows the entire production line of the dairy industry. The main attraction however is “Bessie” a life-size fiberglass cow that can be hand milked, showing first hand exactly where milk comes from. http://www.hunterbellecheese.com.au
Pukara Estate – Between Muswellbrook and Denman is one of Australia’s finest olive oil companies, Pukara Estate. 300 acre property with frontage to the Hunter River, the farming enterprise comprises of, 20 000 olive trees, fat lambs and prime Lucerne Hay production. Pukara Estate’s extra virgin olive oils are made from the finest olives, sustainably grown at their grove located right here in the Upper Hunter. The Upper Hunter is the original tasting room and home to the Grove and Production facility. This tasting room offers you the full Pukara experience where you can enjoy a complete tasting of all products. Enjoy a coffee and cake in the quiet surrounds of the grove. Take the opportunity to see and learn more about the olive press and vinegar production. https://www.pukaraestate.com.au/
Two Rivers Wines – Continuing on to Denman, Two Rivers Wines is an absolute must when visiting the Upper Hunter. Two Rivers draws its name from its unique position on the Hunter and Goulburn Rivers, which also ‘come together’ near the edge of the famous Two Rivers vineyards. Two Rivers have been making quality and award winning wines from premium grape varietals since 1988.The cellar door is the ideal place to relax and unwind with a beautiful outdoor area, sandstone sculpture garden and stunning views over the surrounding valley. Enjoy a glass of Two Rivers wine while sampling one of their cheese and antipasto platters, full of delicious locally sourced produce. www.tworivers.com.au
Are you interested in art, antiques and cafes or just finding some local eclectic pieces for your home? Then the Upper Hunter may be just what you are looking for. Resident Artists, galleries and frequent workshops add to the allure of Upper Hunter region, a haven for artists escaping the frenzy of city life. We start with Murrurundi, the art capital of the Upper hunter and two must see galleries in Murrurundi are David Darcy’s Darcy and the Fox and Michael Reid Gallery.
David Darcy started painting only a few years ago and was a finalist in the 2018 and 2019 Archibald Prize for his portraits. Just recently, David’s 2019 Archibald entry won the People’s Choice Award, a huge achievement for the young artist. Before picking up a paintbrush, David had a successful career in photography, publishing and film. Now that he has taken up painting, he feels Murrurundi is the perfect place to have a studio and work in a community he is passionate about. Drop in and see David in his studio: Darcy and the Fox, 37 Mayne St, Murrurundi. http://www.mongrel.com.au
Michael Reid Gallery might only be open Friday to Sunday but the gardens and buildings are pieces of art in their own right and well worth a visit. Michael Reid Murrurundi was established in 2006 and strives to showcase the best in contemporary Australian and Aboriginal art. In late 2017, Michael Reid Murrurundi expanded into a new exhibition space constructed adjacent to the original gallery and the homestead Bobadil House (1842). With the addition of the new gallery, the old gallery housed in the former convict cellblock was turned over to our coffeehouse and retail space. Over the last two years, the Murrurundi gallery has extended its own retail brand, Big Brown Dog to include everything from candles to clothing, Michael Reid Murrurundi has grown ever greater. Cnr Boyd and Mayne Streets, Murrurundi. https://michaelreidmurrurundi.com.au/
It’s not just Murrurundi that is home to some amazing galleries, Muswellbrook Regional Art Centre is a must see for any art lover. It exhibits traveling exhibitions, local exhibitions and art prizes (including the biennial Muswellbrook Open Art Prize), along with periodic selections from the Max Watters and Shire Collections. https://muswellbrook.nsw.gov.au/index.php/mrac-home