The Upper Hunter trail

As the ‘horse capital’ of Australia, the Upper Hunter has many famous horse studs as well as the annual Horse Week festival. There are so many other unique aspects of the Upper Hunter; the world heritage listed Barrington Tops, the never-ending burning coal seam of Burning Mountain, and the picturesque landscape within Goulburn River National Park.

Located at the northern end of the Hunter Region, The Upper Hunter Shire is an amalgamation of Scone, Merriwa and Murrurundi Shire Councils.  The gateway to the Upper Hunter, New England or Central West is Muswellbrook. This shire is located just three hours’ drive from Sydney and two hours from Newcastle. The absolute must see of the town is the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre. Originally established as a gallery in 1976, it was converted to a modern regional gallery in 2000. It houses a large permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, local exhibits and art prizes, and is the cultural hub of the area.

From Muswellbrook, you can travel north on the New England Highway to Scone, or west along the Golden Highway. 

Scone has more than just equine adventures on offer for the intrepid visitor. Amongst its special experiences is Scone Museum. If you want the authentic regional historical experience then this is the place to visit. Here you’ll see memorabilia of times past and find out how life was like for your great grandmother and grandfather. The museum collection includes dolls, toys, war memorabilia and domestic displays.  

Brochures and further information can be obtained from the Scone Visitor Information and Wine Centre.

Half an hours' drive north of Scone is Murrurundi. A picturesque town, with a population of 1 000, it is nestled on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. Murrurundi has plenty to recommend it: The Norvill Art Prize, which is the highest art prize for landscape paintings outside metropolitan areas, is held in October every second year and attracts entries from all over Australia. The town is also covered with heritage sites including the delightful Pioneer Cottage.

If, instead of traveling towards New England, you travel west along the Golden Highway towards Dubbo you will hit the little town of Merriwa.  

The town is an ideal base for experiencing the outdoor and cultural attractions of the Upper Hunter. These include the Upper Hunter Wine Trail and access to Goulburn River National Park – just 22 km south-west of Merriwa. There’s also two great little museums: the Merriwa Colonial Museum and the Merriwa Railway Museum.   

The Railway Museum captures an era of train travel through regional NSW that has sadly died. The first train ran from Muswellbrook to Merriwa on 29 October 1917. The line closed on 10 February 1988, with the last wheat train.

Train lovers cannot miss this. The entire Railway site is a museum with rooms set aside in the Station building for items of interest. The site has the original Station, Goods Shed. Gantry, Water Tower and Turntable.

To find out more about accommodation and vineyards in the area go to Visit NSW. To find out about arts and culture visit

  • Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre

    The Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre presents travelling exhibitions, local exhibitions and two significant art prizes ...

    Corner of Bridge and Williams Streets, Muswellbrook, NSW, 2333, Australia
  • Scone Museum

    Discover bygone times at the Scone Museum. Learn about Scone and district, the history, the ...

    43-47 Kingdon Street, Scone, NSW, 2337, Australia
  • Murrurundi Historical Society Museum

    The museum encompasses three buildings: a pioneer cottage, a church used as the museum's ...

    127 Mayne Street, Murrurundi, NSW, 2338, Australia
  • Merriwa Colonial Museum

    Merriwa Colonial Cottage Museum presents a collection of items sourced mainly from local residents.

    The ...

    Bettington Street, Colonial Cottage, Merriwa, NSW, 2329, Australia
  • Merriwa Railway Station

    Merriwa is on the Golden Highway about 60 kilometres from Scone in the Hunter Region ...

    Corner of Brisbane and Roach Streets, Merriwa, NSW, 2329, Australia

Museums & Galleries of NSW helps small-medium museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres create exciting experiences for visitors and, through this, thriving local NSW communities. We don't run museums, galleries and cultural centres but we care about those who do. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

Museums & Galleries of NSW is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

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