Road Trip: Sydney to Mudgee

Often the best part of an adventure is often the journey there. The promise of new discoveries, the freedom of getting away for a few days or a week of no work - bliss! Don't plan too much, let the road take you somewhere new. Having said that we also have some pretty great ideas about places to check out on the way to beautiful Mudgee. Three and a half hours north west of Sydney, Mudgee is a picturesque drive via the Bells Line of Road through the Blue Mountains, or a similar distance if you take an alternate route through Leura & Katoomba.

Before you leave the big smoke, we think a breakfast pit stop is in order to fuel you up for the coming trip. The guys at Bella Local Cafe are pretty fanatical about getting the best coffee possible to their customers, by using freshly roasted coffee beans and grinding them to order and employing only the best baristas to bring you the smoothest latte out. The all day breakfast boasts everything from Brekkie Rolls & Waffles, along with healthy options including enzyme rich Brekkie Parfaits or yummy Acai bowls. If you're passing by closer to lunch o'clock their burgers also really hit the spot. But don't over indulge yet, as there are a few more food-inspired stops along the way!

Next set your compass for Leura, your second stop is for a sugar hit. Kids in the car? I would never suggest to fuel their car trip crazy vibes with candy, BUT why not buy a big bag of bribery that gets awarded to the quietest passenger at the end of the trip!? The Candy Store in Leura is a proper old school lolly shop with specialty candies, lollies and confectionary favourites from all over the world. The walls are literally lined with jars and bags of every kind of confection imaginable. Stock up on loot, but don't spoil your appetite yet, because just around the corner is Solitary Cafe. Stop in for a traditional Devonshire Tea, or if it's closer to lunch time indulge in something from their seasonal menu highlighting the local produce and showcasing an array of modern fine dining options. Solitary is perched on the edge of a cliff over looking Jamison Valley where Mt. Solitary dominates the sweeping views. Between the food and the view, you can't go wrong. When you're done take a 5 minute drive around the corner to Echo Point where you can snap a few shots of the iconic Three sisters.

Alternatively, if you take the Bells Line of Road why not stop at the Bilpin Springs Orchard, where you can stretch your legs and your arms picking some fresh Bilpin Apples! Or pears, peaches and plums - it depends on the season really. Have a look at what's in season before you set off. Then once you've acquired a bit of a thirst and perhaps a rumble in the tum, track back literally 1 minute in the car for wood fired pizzas and a drop of local cider from Bilpin Afire. Formerly the Apple Bar, this is a local institution for beer and pizza on the weekend. If you have time to spare we also recommend stopping in at the Botanical Gardens at Mt. Tomah, it's the only botanic garden in a World Heritage listed area in the world, and is a truly breathtaking place to wander about and snap a few macro shots of their impressive flora on display.

Now, it may just be me, but no road trip is ever really complete unless you've stopped somewhere for a pie. Country NSW is no disappointment, and our pick of the trip is Bill's Old Fashioned Cakes and Pies in Lithgow which is your good old school pie shop circa 1972 where you can grab a few pies to go, along with a Neenish tart, a finger bun and 1/2 a dozen freshly baked scones. Pop those goodies on the back seat, and head north for 35 minutes to Pearson's Lookout over the Capertee Valley. Crack open a finger bun and marvel at the magnificent view!

You're on the home stretch to Mudgee, and probably itching to put the pedal to the metal and get there before the sun sets. However there is one more important stop and that is to grab a bottle of Shiraz and maybe even indulge in a platter of local cheese whilst taking in the beautiful view across the vineyards at Logan Wines. Taste a few wines while you're there (they're all very good) then bring home a few to your final destination at The Horatio in Mudgee, where you can unload all of your road trip goodies into your King Spa suite and share some stories by the fire with some of the other guests in the lobby. What a day!