On Saturday morning, Elly and I were checking out some photos on the Street Machine Facebook page of some of the cars in the show and shine at the Mudgee Motorfest which was put on by the Cudgegong Cruisers car club. We had originally planned to head to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, but decided on impulse to book a room in Mudgee for Saturday night and make the drive out to check out the cars and the town on Sunday.
We packed up some clothes, grabbed the Nikon D3s, and jumped in the truck. The drive out to Mudgee was beautiful. We headed down the Northern Road, up the Blue Mountains over Mount Victoria, and out through Lithgow. Heading over Mt Victoria, there was even snow on the side of the road from the previous (12/10/2012) cold snap. Some of the houses had what looked like 6 inches of snow on their roofs.
We stopped for a stretch and some snacks about 50km out of Lithgow and snapped the following photograph. It’s just amazing scenery all around this area and really lends itself to landscape photography. The shot was taken at about 6pm, just as the sunset started to colour the sky. From that point on, all the way into Mudgee the light was just phenomenal. If we didn’t have to get to the motel by a certain time (they closed reception), we would have had the opportunity to stop at more than a dozen amazing scenic locations on the way.
The town was pretty well booked out, but we managed to find a room at the Ningana Motel for $120 - bargain! The room was really quite nice, and even though it was on the main street of Mudgee it was pretty quiet. The fridge had a bit of a rattle, but I turned the temperature down and it seemed to behave itself from then on.
This was a 30 second exposure out the front of our room. I took a few and let the Nikon meter the light, but it struggled. So out came the Sekonic L-358, metered off the back of the truck above the numberplate, shot the D3s in manual mode with the aperture and shutter speed from the Sekonic, and bingo! the perfect exposure straight up.
We had a well earned sleep, and got up to head out to AREC (Australian Rural Education Centre) in the morning, where the Cudgegong Cruisers car club was holding the Mudgee Motorfest. Saturday was the main day for the show, and many of the cars had headed home on Saturday night so that they could get back in time to get to work on Monday morning. But even so, there were still a good number of cars on display, and we quickly found two favourites.
Elly had her mum make her a Holden Torana SLR5000 birthday cake for her 16th birthday to celebrate getting her “L” drivers licence. We have both always loved the LC/LJ and LH/LX shaped Toranas. I’ve always been partial to the A9X SS race cars, and while it may not have been an original A9X this was a very tidy example.
Speaking of the A9X, I can highly recommend watching this video of Peter Brock steering his 1979 A9X Torana around Bathurst. It’s the last 2 laps. He was driving with Jim Richards, and they won the event by 6 laps. Peter Brock set a 2.21 final lap time which I believe was the fastest lap of the whole race - on the last lap! The A9X is extremely rare and quite expensive these days. Even the SS hatch commands a high price on the 2nd hand market. But they are one of the classic cars of that era that haven’t aged, and still look as good today as they did back then.
Of course, who doesn’t love the shape of the Ford Mustang! This one was absolutely gorgeous. I recently considered buying a Mustang to restore and build in to a cruiser, but we decided that we had given material possessions and experiences enough of a go for a while, and we made the decision to travel instead - hence our “Lap of Australia”.
There was also a beautiful SS Torana hatch outside. Coincidentally it was the same two tone black and blue as the 4 door SLR5000 inside, but the owners didn’t know each other.
After the show we leisurely headed back out of town to come back home. As with many animals in spring the sheep have been hard at work making babies, and when your wife cries out “awww how cute are the baby lambs”, well you just have to pull over and have a look! The little lambs were absolutely adorable, and we tried our best not to frighten them off as we had a stickybeak. This is real Aussie countryside, and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
A bit further down the road we saw this nice Vineyard and pulled in. Burrundulla Wines has been around since 1821, and their saying is “history in a glass”. History was the first thing we experienced when we walked through the door after the cellar gentleman informed us that the meaning of Mudgee is “nest in the hills”. You only have to spin around 360 degrees to see the surrounding scenic hills for yourself to know this to be true.
We sampled a few Burrundulla wines for my brothers birthday, tasted some local olive oil and a delicious pomegranite balsamic vinegar, and bought everything we tasted! They were presents for my parents, but I’m sure we will get a taste when we have dinner next time we are there.
Again, the countryside in Mudgee is just amazing. This shot of the Burrundulla Cellar Door is straight out of the camera - absolutely no editing has been done. No increased saturation, no clarity, no cropping. This is just Elly at her best behind the camera.
We left Mudgee behind and headed back toward Lithgow. We planned to head into Wollemi National Park and have some lunch there. We turned left at Lithgow and ventured down Bells Line of Road for a while until we came across the signs to the Glow Worm Tunnel. Well, once we were in Newnes State Forest there was no chance we were going to get to the Glow Worm Tunnel, because we just had to explore every side road.
The Hema maps made light work of showing us some good spots to check out, and we found a beautiful spot to have lunch.
This was the entry road coming into Newnes State Forest. The scale of the rock face is lost in a photograph, but it was pretty awe inspiring to be parked next to these monster cliff faces. There were a number of caves in the rock too, and we wondered if there was any way to get up into them - next time!
While El was putting some food out for lunch the artist in me decided to explore. I found these 3 gum trees, and in true artist fashion of naming photographs and artworks in the most mundane and boring way possible, I hereby title this piece: “The 3 Gumtrees”.
We had a fantastic weekend out at Mudgee, checking out the Cudgegong Cruisers car show, sampling some tasty food at Burrundulla Winery and otherwise enjoying the great Australian scenery. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in everyday life and stay in your own local area. I’ve certainly been guilty of it many times. The best thing to do to break the curse is to just up and leave! In the space of 10 minutes we had gone from planning to have dinner in a local Mexican restaurant to phoning and booking Mudgee accommodation, packing the car, and driving out the gates. Country Australian towns like Mudgee are just beautiful - and if you give yourself a weekend to take your time and explore, I have no doubt you will have as much of a fun and relaxing time as we did :)