Southern Highlands
Spring Run to Mudgee

Photos by Syd Reinhardt

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Spring Run to Mudgee Report

Day 1

Embarking on our first rally was slightly daunting, when considering Nicky and I had not driven the ’68 Karmann Ghia cabriolet further than 120kms on a single expedition.

So, the prospect of driving to Mudgee (via Goulburn, Oberon and Bathurst) was met with a little trepidation (work commitments forbade us from leaving with the main body of rally cars, travelling via Blue Mts), mixed with a good dose of excitement.

It’s Nicky’s vehicle, so I was relegated to the passenger seat where I was to listen acutely for any foreign sounds, squeaks or groans emanating from the Greg Mackie restored Ghia. Apparently, the only unusual noises were actually being articulated by me, as my wife negotiated yet another curve at full throttle.

The weather Gods however, had graced us with an amazing display of crystal blue skies (without the usual Southern Highlands gale force winds), which made the journey even more enjoyable. A wrong turn at Bathurst (yes, totally my fault) found us negotiating a dirt road as we drove through the ‘time warp’ known as Sofala.

Finally, Mudgee loomed large in the windscreen. We soon checked into the hotel, eagerly awaiting 6pm and the opportunity to meet our fellow intrepid travellers.

Our first evening and meal, held at Kelly’s Irish Pub, went off without a hitch thanks to the organisational skills of Peter and Jane Stockel. In fact, the entire 3 day itinerary was a most enjoyable experience, with venues and activities that we would not have normally have discovered. Many thanks to the Stockels!

Day 2

This began with the Robert Stein Winery and Vintage bike exhibition. Meanwhile, the more “serious” of us (“we haven’t got a problem”) tasted and purchased some remarkable white wines.

A cheese appreciation followed shortly after at High Valley Cheese. We now had some cheese to go with the Riesling we’d just purchased!

Lunch and wine tasting at Lowe Winery was truly spectacular with majestic views over the vineyards, combined with fabulous antipasti platters, the afternoon was a huge success. More wine tastings, followed by additional purchases (“we haven’t got a problem”), found us quickly running out of space in the Ghia….. maybe we could just drink a few bottles to make room?

A photo shoot back in town at the Heritage Railway Station, preceded our visit to the Honey Haven. (Did we really need the Honey Mead??)

The evening meal at the Mudgee Brewery (not more alcohol?) ensured that we all received enough “fuel” for a good nights sleep, in preparation for our “big day out”.

Day 3

Yet again, the weather Gods were smiling upon us as we set out on our next Mudgee experience. A short 30km drive to historic Gulgong, a town of meandering, narrow streets, culminated in a 2 hr exploration of the Gulgong Pioneers Museum. (Anyone wishing to visit this time capsule of history, allow 3-4 hrs!). A fascinating collection of history that prompted Greg Mackie to query whether Gulgong “actually had a tip”?. OK, I’m happy to admit that there did appear to be an enormous number of items of limited intrinsic value. Then again, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, Greg!

Some of us visited the Opera House in Gulgong, which hosted Dame Nellie Melba in its heyday.

We then set off on an 80km drive to Rylstone to enjoy some of the best Yum Cha I have experienced. (Totally unexpected in a small country town….). Good food, fine wines and life stories was the theme for the afternoon, as we sat under Asian parasols in the sunny courtyard.

Although the enormous amount of road kill forced those of us driving convertibles to often hold our breath, the trip back to Mudgee was relaxing. Meanwhile, Doug was taking a shortcut and holding his breath as he pushed his Porsche around the backroads behind Windamere Dam.

Our final meal and farewells were held at Wine Glass Restaurant (appropriate, as drinking was the main theme!), where we all agreed that ‘small group’ rallies were a success.

The food, the drink, the company and the landscape of Mudgee will forever ensure that this will not be our last rally with the Vintage Sports Car Club. (Did I just hear a few of you groan??)

Until next time……

Phill Cormie

Participating cars and attendees

Brett and Wendy Blackmore 1924 3Lt Bentley

Greg Mackie 1938 Morgan 4/4

Brian and Norma Boardman 1957 Jaguar XK 150

Terry and Helen Healey 1967 MGB GT Mark 1

Phill and Nicky Cormie. 1968 Kharmann Ghia Conv:

Don Young and Sandy Collins 1970 MGB

Syd Reinhardt and Deborah Frank 1984 Porsche Carrera

Henry Walker and Rhonda Calcott 1993 Jaguar XJS 4Lt Conv:

Peter and Jane Stockel 1993 Bentley Brooklands

Doug McKay 1997 Porsche 911

Peter and Janny Riley Modern car

Haydn and Sandra Ashley from BDC QLD riding with the Stockels.