Moo Much Fun in Mudgee // Old Bara

Beautiful Old Bara cows

Raffles and Sugarpuff love a road trip, and when that road trip comes with the promise of a farm stay at the other end, their excitment is off the scale. The only catch is that this particular driving holiday coincides with the youngest of said kids announcing that, “I’m never wearing nappies again”.

Now let me tell you, there is nothing quite like being cooped up for hours and hours in a small car with a smaller child and her very fickle bladder. In this case what should be a scenic four-hour drive from Sydney to Mudgee becomes a six-hour festival of wee, with Sugarpuff demanding we stop every ten minutes or so to try her new travel potty, and our patience. But, with all due credit to our piss-taking princess, we do eventually arrive at our destination, happily accident free.

In historic Mudgee’s pretty town centre we stop for a toilet break, of course, before we head another half an hour (and another toilet stop) out-of-town to test our car’s off-road skills down several kilometres of dirt track.

Old Bara at Mudgee

We drive past posses of cows eyeing us off suspiciously, to Old Bara – a sprawling working cattle farm and the guesthouse which will be our home for the next few days.

past posses of  cows eyeing us off suspiciously, to Old Bara - a sprawling working cattle farm and the guesthouse which will be our home for the next few days.

The spacious self-contained four-bedroom guesthouse is surrounded by verandas that take in spectacular views of the surrounding property and a curious bull in the neighbouring paddock.

Old Bara Homestead, Mudgee

Inside there’s a well-equipped kitchen that I immediately develop a crush on, while Mr Eats World falls in deep smit with the outside BBQ area. In the fridge there’s a platter of Old Bara Grass Fed beef rissoles, steaks and sausages waiting so we prepare a bovine feast and, as Mr Eats World barbecues and I sip (and by sip I mean guzzle) a glass of Mudgee wine, the kids play happily on the swing and slide they’ve found in the huge garden area.

Old Bara Grain fed beef at Old bara Homestead Mudgee

After scoffing the succulent steaks we’re visited by Tippo, the farm’s resident quad-bike riding kelpie, who becomes a swooning Raffles instant BFF.

Tippo on the back of  quad bike

Meanwhile Sugarpuff, who has made herself quite at home, vanishes into the homestead long enough to find a cricket bat and ball and remove all of her clothing in preparation for a game of nude cricket.

In fact, we’re all feeling pretty at home here, though most of us in a fully clothed kind of way.

The following day we head to town to give Sugarpuff the opportunity to water every public facility in Mudgee. But also to grab a few supplies, and by supplies I mean alcohol. Our first stop is Leaning Oak Dairy where we fill the car with and a bottle or two of cheeky Shiraz, freshly made labne, creamy artisan goat’s cheese and cajeta, a Mexican style goats milk caramel. While the kids grope some of the much-loved animals they came from. Baby goats are petted, the resident dog pounced upon and some teeny tiny kittens came out for a cuddle with my pet-loving pair.

Groping goats at Leaning Oak Dairy, Mudgee

At Lowe Wine, one of the most beautiful, family friendly and inspired vineyards I’ve ever come across, we sample a drop or two (and by drop I mean bottle) of their grape juice.

Lowe Wine, Mudgee

Feeling peckish (which in Eats World speak translates to ravenous) we devour a tasting platter packed with fresh local cheeses, fruit, olives and salads.

Grazing plate at Lowe WinesAnd another of fresh-baked potato and rosemary bread, horseradish and herb mayo, rustic turkey terrine, sausage, glazed ham and the most incredible pork rillettes. All prepared to sublime perfection.

Grazing plate with incredibly pork rilettes at Lowe Wine

Afterwards we walk (stagger) it off along the cycle trail.

Lowe Wines

This gives the kids even more opportunities to molest unsuspecting animals including the lovely Luis, a rambunctious six-week-old puppy who accompanies us, chewing bits off the children all the way… but nothing that won’t grow back.

Raffles and Luis "play" at Lowe Wine

There are also chickens to meet and eggs to gather, a job Sugarpuff takes very seriously indeed. And then there are the donkeys, one of which my little dude commandeers.

Donkey ride at Lowe Wine

We make a pitstop at Mudgee Honey Haven to stock up on luscious raw honey and sticky fresh honeycomb while the kids take on their dad in a round of mini-golf. Then its back on the road to Old Bara for the dusk drive of a lifetime.

As we reach the dirt road back to the farm we’re greeted by the ladies of the moo posse. Only this time they have company.

Dusk at Old Bara Mudgee

Either it’s the animal apocalypse or some recalcitrant teenage ‘roo has posted a party on critter Facebook while his parents are away because literally hundreds of kangaroos, wallabies, and wallaroos bound past the car.

Kangaroos at dusk at Old Bara Homestead Mudgee

Wiley foxes (obviously smuggling the booze) scarper between the trees and dozens of wild hares surreptitiously pop their ears out of the long grass to make sure we’re not the cops ready to shut down their party.

An old man wombat out for an evening stroll stops to say hello – oblivious to the shenanigans going on around him.

Old man wombat at Old Bara, MudgeeAnd, what should have been a five-minute bash down the dirt road to our digs, turns into an hour-long DIY Australian wildlife documentary. It’s an incredible sight and we’re squealing as loudly as the kids as yet another ‘roo or ten cruises by.

Over the next few days Mudgee in all its family friendly glory beckons, but the kids have fallen in love with Old Bara.

SUgarpuff exploring the farm at Old Bara

And its lovely lady residents.

Old Bara Cattle

Not to mention the space, the landscape, the beautiful sunsets, the BBQ, the swings, and the games of nude backyard cricket.

Sunset at Old Bara Homestead, Mudgee

So we decide to embrace its simple pleasures and just hang out and relax until we have to say our farewells to the farm and Raffles new buddy, Tippo, who is a frequent visitor to our little homestead.

Raffles and Tippo at Old bara Homestead, Mudgee

We pack our teary kids in the car, squeezing them in somewhere between the boxes of wine and an esky full of cheese and honey, for the drive home. But we quickly realise that with Sugarpuff’s new found lavatory love and both their long faces, the scenic Bells Line Road is more likely to become the long and whining road. And so we factor in a pit stop at historic Rylstone for lunch at the fabulous 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha, knowing that if there’s one thing guaranteed to put a smile on Raffles and Sugarpuff’s faces it’s a bowlful of dumplings!

Under the umbrellas at 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha, Rylstone

As we relax under the bright red umbrellas nestled among Rylstone’s historic sandstone buildings and devour plates of some of the best steamed dumplings I’ve eaten this side of Hong Kong, the kids smiles quickly return.

DUmplings at 29 Nine 99 Yum Char Rylstone

But Tippo is not forgotten, his name dotting their conversation as often as Sugarpuff asks to pee… which is often as we drive… in staccato stops, wee, wee, wee all the way home.

7 Comments on Moo Much Fun in Mudgee // Old Bara

      April 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm (10 years ago)

      Thanks Elise. He was kind of cute

  1. Bec @ The Plumbette
    April 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm (10 years ago)

    Yum, those cheese platters look divine! The whole trip sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to do I liar ones with my family in QLD. Love the toilet humour too:)

    • Bec @ The Plumbette
      April 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm (10 years ago)

      Omigosh! I liar is meant to be similar!! Freakin auto correct on the iPad!!

      April 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm (10 years ago)

      When you have small people around toilet humour is the only way to go 🙁

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    April 15, 2014 at 9:58 am (10 years ago)

    We loved our stay in Mudgee and did similar things to you. How great are those dumplings on the way home too?

      April 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm (10 years ago)

      Best dumplings I’ve had in ages…


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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