Marinating in Mudgee: A Besties’ Breakaway

Picture yourselves here

Established about three and a half hours northwest of Sydney, the wine region that is Mudgee is low-key legendary. And it’s that low-key vibe that has me excited to visit, taking along my bestie Lena for some girls’ vino-style R&R and checking out the newest in glamping at the storied Parklands Resort. Honestly, whoever came up with the whole concept of glam camping is a dead-set genius. I’ve peeped the website, and the soft-walled abode that awaits us comes with a beautiful four-poster king bed that faces the outdoors, a TV (we’ll never turn it on), a modern bathroom, a balcony with chairs for enjoying the ombre lavender sunsets and (yay) aircon. THIS is my style of “outdoor living”.

The stories these skies have heard

We make it out of Sydney later than we’d intended to, but it’s no matter because the M8 is brilliant and gets us ahead of the game quickly, depositing us on the other side of Sydney where traffic goes to die. The scenery is lovely, pastoral even, and we fill most of it with chatter … you know those deep convos you have that shall never leave the car? Those. There’s a reason we need to stay close to friends.

And, it’s autumn! I’m a junkie for the season – the soothing sunshine more a glow than a fire, and the mornings with their frost and fog turning the landscape into a jewel; it’s in full bloom here. Our first stop is Rylstone, about two hours and 45 minutes from Sydney. We can’t wait to visit French-focused De Beaurepaire Wines. It’s not one of your run-of-the-mill churn-and-burn producers; this one is a 55-hectare single-estate vineyard sitting, quite uniquely, on a limestone vein. Richard and Janet De Beaurepaire pioneered the wine region here, and he wasn’t worried about their location far from the maddening crowd. ‘Build it, and they will come… if it’s any good,’ he tells us with a smile. Spoiler alert: It’s good, it’s SO good and yes, they came. Accolades came their way too, many of them, and after one visit to this gorgeous boutique vineyard retreat, I learned more about wine here in two hours than I have at any tasting – ever. I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who truly appreciate the finer points of oenophilia.

We get back in the car with our eight bottles of wine (Note to self: Join the wine club) and continue our journey another 40 minutes to where we’ll be based for the weekend, the new luxury glamping tents at Parklands Resort. The location is perfect, caramel-coloured “tents” sitting to one side overlooking fallow pasture, a world unto their own for privacy and tranquillity, and for long overdue catch-ups. We park (tip: use the gravel lot to park in front of your room, if you get there at night, it can be hard to see) and use our key to enter tent number four.


Inside, it’s cosy, a warm hug of soft furnishings, lamplight and sculptural chandelier. We gawp a bit, then drop our stuff off and head back to the resort’s main building for dinner at the on-site restaurant, Vine. Service is friendly and efficient; there’s a large party here tonight, over a hundred folks who are club afficionados of the Jaguar – the car, not the jungle cat. We’ve managed to nab an early dining booking, which means we can enjoy dinner and still have time in our tent to enjoy some of our wine from today.

Vine is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The inside is nothing extraordinarily fancy, but what Executive Chef Bidal brings out food-wise will knock your socks off. The barramundi? Yes. The prawns? More, please. Lena said the lamb was a winner, and I’ll take her word for that since I was too stuffed to try any. After dinner with wine pairings, we had back home for the night and after hot showers and sleep like babies on (I’m calling it) the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever laid down on.

The next morning, it’s off to Lowe Wines for a tasting (the Lowe Flow) that’s totally different from the one before at De Beaurepairs. Lowe’s is the home of Zin House (all the cool kids know it) but we’ve opted for a hamper to share instead. We also got lucky; it’s a dog-friendly spot and the resident doggo chooses ME for a while to throw his ball back and forth. (#iloveyourdog) After a loooooong easy afternoon, we pack it in and head back to Glamping Central at Parklands. Tonight, we get a chance to enjoy the property and appreciate how close it is to the town centre. It’s whisper quiet …bar the sneaky little critters that make midnight their noon, and Lena and I both melt into the bed, talked out and exhausted in the best way. She’s on her iPad (great WIFI here, btw), and I’m going old school with my latest book. We fall asleep early; slumber is the ultimate luxury.

In the morning, at the stroke of nine, our stunner of a breakfast basket arrives with granola, yoghurt, fresh fruit, pastry and a French roast plunger. We pounce on it delicately enjoy a leisurely morning drinking coffee and making the most of the bounty before packing up to return to Sydney… and the daily grind. All good things must come to an end.

Lazy mornings are good for the soul

Plan your own girlfriend’s getaway at Parklands resort and explore Mudgee while you’re at it.

Parklands Resort (Mudgee Retreat Glamping Tents) 121 Ulan Road, Mudgee NSW 2850 (02) 6372-4500

Ivy and Selena were guests of the Parklands Resort. All opinions are their own. (They’re some picky customers, too, just saying.)

About the author

Ivy believes in the power of the perfect cupcake, and drinks her Pinot Noir with an ice cube. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she knows a thing or two about hospitality and that the word ‘y’all’ will never completely disappear from her vocabulary. Happily settled in Sydney, she’s always up for an adventure and a long black with oat milk. When she’s not travelling, she’s practicing Pilates, reading or kissing strangers’ dogs on the mouth. Especially if it’s a rescue dog.


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