A country retreat in NSW is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.
Europeans explored Mudgee in the 1820s, and in the 1840s a small town grew thanks to the discovery of gold quite rapidly until the 1850s. It is still a very interesting town with a thriving centre for local wineries, most of which are small and locally owned. Because Mudgee is at a higher altitude than the Hunter Valley, its harvest is later, around February and March.
The town's major annual event is the Mudgee Wine Festival, which goes through most of September, and the rural festival coincides with the welcome arrival of spring.
Mudgee is a popular place for country weekend getaways, and is close to the larger cities of Bathurst and Lithgow situated on the Cudgegong River.
The celebrated bush poet and author, Henry Lawson, spent most of his childhood around the area, and there is much evidence of him and the places he immortalised in his writings.
The Colonial Inn Museum recreates several rooms of a 19th century pub and has a large collection of wonderful old photographs. Many of the fittings are from the Budgee Budgee Inn, popularly believed to be the wine shanty in Lawson's very amusing story, The Loaded Dog.
A perfect place to stay and maintain the feel of the lovely town is Wildwood Guest House. Anne and Rob Krause decided to move from Sydney to Mudgee and establish their own vineyard, but when they saw Wildwood on the market, their plans changed.
The beautiful guesthouse is on 61 hectares, has four rooms, each with an ensuite. There is no television or video system, but there is a CD player in the lounge area for general use. Each room has French doors opening to a broad verandah, which looks across the property. The bedrooms have superb Damask linen, fluffy towels and sweet country soap. The lounge and dining rooms are spacious, and the lounge room has high, beamed ceilings and a comforting, wood-burning fireplace.
There are vases of fresh flowers everywhere, and platters of fruit, vegetables and nuts. It just feels as though you are visiting friends in the country!
The house is made of rammed earth. This method is to erect a frame and ram earth into it to form a solid wall. The inside walls of Wildwood are a wonderful earthy colour, and the natural mud gives excellent insulation.
You are likely to see wallabies, kangaroos, rabbits, foxes, echidnas and the property's deer and lovable Labrador, Henry. Wild birds are prolific, and they provide most of the noise you will hear during your stay.
Breakfast includes delicious fruit and nuts grown by Anne in her orchard, and can be taken indoors or outdoors. The Krauses will arrange dinner to be prepared by a local French chef who loves to use local produce. At least four days' notice is required.
Groups can hire the entire house and self-cater if they wish. You can invite a wine maker to dinner, or just for a tasting. The idea of Wildwood is for a relaxing, unwinding, fun stay in the beautiful bush of Mudgee.