Murrurundi

Circled by the mountains of the Liverpool Range, the country NSW town of Murrurundi sits on the Pages River in spectacular country and, given its size, has a remarkable amount to offer grey nomads.

Located on the New England Highway, 40 kilometres north of Scone and 90 kilometres south of Tamworth, the small community is famed for its art galleries, quirky shops, historic buildings, a legendary country event, and a lot more.

The first European in the area was surveyor Henry Dangar in the early 1820s, and, among the early settlers here was Benjamin Hall, the father of the future bushranger, Ben Hall, who lived here until he was 13.

The district earned itself a reputation for producing high-quality wool and, although shale was mined here up until the First World War, this is very much an agricultural district with a distinctly rural ‘vibe’.

There are some lovely historic buildings for visitors to enjoy including Dooley’s Store, the White Hart Hotel, the Court House, Police Station and Gaol, St Joseph’s Church, and St Paul’s Anglican Church.

The heritage-listed Rosedale Cottage was built from 1845 to 1850, and the railway station, which opened in 1872, is also well worth a look. The Murrurundi Historical Society Museum encompasses three buildings: a pioneer cottage built around 1889; the Presbyterian Church which displays a range of historical exhibits; and the former Murrurundi Literary Institute, which is now the main museum building.

Murrurundi is home to many artists, and many art galleries. PIC: Cizza

The calm atmosphere and beautiful surroundings have helped persuade a lot of artists to make their home in the town, and the excellent selection of galleries and studios include; Michael Reid Murrurundi; the David Darcy Gallery; and the Chicken in the Window, which specialises in recycled tin work made on site.

The eye-catching steel ‘welcome’ sign on the southern entrance to town was actually created by local sculptors Fran Wachtel and Charlotte Drake Brockman, and depicts sheep leaping over the town name ‘’Murrurundi’’ while being herded by a cattle dog.

There are also some truly fascinating antique stores, including Fox’s Store, and Stone & Co Vintage Interiors. And just on the edge of this attractive town, which has a population of little more than 2,000, is the Magpie Distillery which produces and sells award award-winning gins and liqueurs.

The undisputed highlight of the events calendar is the King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival, which sees competitors test their skills in activities such as whop cracking and stock handling.

As previously mentioned, Murrurundi sits in some magnificent country and the nearby ‘Eye of the Needle’ walk offers some spectacular views, although it is a pretty steep climb to get up there.

About 20 kilometres to the south, is the Burning Mountain Nature Reserve, home to Australia’s only naturally burning coal seam, and a great place to walk and check out some stunning views.

Murrurundi is very welcoming to travellers and there are plenty of places to park big rigs, there’s a dump point at Wilson Memorial Park, and the Murrurundi Caravan Park is very well regarded.

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