I am the first person to admit that I don’t deal with the cold weather well but after exploring Europe in winter I’ve realised the benefits of embracing cold climates instead of fleeing to the sunshine. Aside from there obviously being less crowds, when you venture to country towns in winter there are a whole lot of local treats that will warm you to the core. Here are my top 5 reasons why country New South Wales makes the perfect winter retreat…
TOP 5 REASONS TO VISIT COUNTRY NEW SOUTH WALES IN WINTER
5. COUNTRY COOKING
Creamy soup from Eltons in Mudgee.
There’s no better way to warm up quickly than with some country style cooking. Soups are always an absolute winner and if you are staying in accommodation with a fireplace be sure to bring the marshmallows! When it comes to dining at the local restaurants there will always be meals on offer to remind you of mum’s home cooking. Think lamb roasts, pumpkin soup and warm crusty bread. My favourite hearty restaurant in the Hunter Valley is Roberts Circa 1876 with its fresh market garden and French influenced menu.
4. SPECTACULAR SUNRISE AND SUNSET
A photo from my recent trip to Mudgee where every sunset was wonderfully vibrant.
There’s something in the country air that makes for beautiful sunrises and sunsets every day. The fact that there are no high-rise buildings to block the view is probably a good start and there’s also the morning fog that brings with it a beautifully soft colour palette. The wide open spaces allow you to see the landscape in layers that reach as far as the eye can see. I love the way that mountains in the distance create a natural ombre of colours. At night the sky glows with a blanket of stars that pierce the crisp winter air. It is well worth braving the cold to experience a night sky that no city lights can rival.
3. LOCAL PRODUCE
Wine and cheese. Just add chocolate and you’ve pretty much got my staple diet, ha ha. No seriously, a visit to the countryside is not complete without sampling the local produce for which it is known. In the Hunter Valley I make a visit to the smelly cheese shop, in Mudgee I like to try copious amounts of honey and in the Southern Highlands I pick up jams from Montrose Berry Farm. Most wine regions will specialise in a particular grape variety so if you are interested in wine tasting always ask to try something that is unique or associated with the local area.
2. MARKETS AND BOUTIQUES
No trip is complete for me without a spot of shopping. Country towns are renown for their antique shops and I love the fact that I can pick up something one-of-a-kind that I won’t find in a major city. Market days are also great for discovering local artists and designers and there will always be hot coffee on hand to keep you warm as you stroll around. The major country towns usually have markets that run during the winter months to satisfy us shoppers.
1. OFF-PEAK EVERYTHING
Cheaper room rates, no queues, no reservations needed. Need I say more? The most obvious reason why people visit country New South Wales in winter is that you don’t have to put up with the crowds and inflated prices of peak season. Plus it’s a welcomed change from the overcrowded beaches that everyone else is flocking to up north.
So now that I’ve convinced you to take a well-deserved break in the countryside there are no excuses for staying huddled up in bed ;-) Get out and explore the picturesque scenery that only a winter in Country New South Wales can produce. And if you know someone who may need a little more convincing make sure you share this post with them via the links below.