An Extended Summer in Mudgee

Photo by Kate Freestone
Photo by Kate Freestone

When I first arrived in Mudgee seven years ago, my husband told me that we would just be here for six months to get experience in the mines and then we’d move back to Wollongong. With our exit plan in mind, we moved into a spare bedroom in someone’s home and tried to acquire as little as possible.

However, when you live in the Mudgee Region, it’s difficult to not consume what the town has to offer. Our six-month end date arrived and my husband and I both didn’t really want to leave yet so we said we’d give it another six months. Fast forward six years and we’ve acquired more than we could ever have imagined. From friends to appreciation (some might argue an addiction) for Mudgee wine to precious memories of our babies being born in Mudgee Hospital to my Australian Citizenship granted to me last year in Rylstone, the life Mudgee has given us is something I will be forever grateful for.

I think a lot of people have a concrete idea of what they want their life to look like. They know the city they want to call home, the house they want to live in, the car they want to drive. At 21, I was one of those people. But then one day I met a dashing boy from Oz who swept me off my Cherry Chapstick feet to the Southern Hemisphere. To be completely honest – it was hard. I was homesick. I was scared. I suddenly didn’t know my game plan. Australia was a stranger to me. My car wanted me to do everything opposite. Job applications seemed daunting.

Luckily for me, I found myself in Mudgee within the year of migrating to Australia and things started happening that made me realise I could never have imagined my life looking so good. We made the type of friends who became our family, we found careers that allow us to live the type of lifestyle we cherish, (Recreational eating, wine tastings, fitness and running opportunities, events for kids and community involvement.) and have learned to accept that we simply don’t have a long enough commute to invest in a morning podcast.

I’ve also learned a lot: I now know that you must earn a Magpie’s trust, check under the toilet seat before you wee, never wear UGGs in public, don’t say that you’re, “a massive star fisher,” because it doesn’t mean you like to hog the bed in these parts… I’ve also learned to put on an Australian accent when ordering a Sprite at Maccas or asking where the “ice” or “apple sauce” is in Coles.

I sound like I’m bragging, don’t I? I don’t mean to! I’m just feeling all sorts of sentimental because Mudgee Regional Council asked me to MC their Australia Day Ceremony next week. You might be thinking I’m Australian enough, but Judy Nunn and Bruce Venables are the Ambassadors so I promise there is going to be enough Aussie energy present to keep the balance. There will be fun free activities from 9am- noon for the whole family as well as the presentation of the 2018 Australia Day awards, a citizenship ceremony, and appearances by Judy and Bruce plus a free BBQ breakfast and live music.

Summer Land is the author of Summerlandish: Do As I Say, Not As I Did. You can get a signed copy of her book at and see her at her next event on February 28th at The Cellar by Gilbert Family Wines for the Mudgee Readers’ Festival event, What I Learned From My Mother, with authors, Lauren Sams and Meg Mason. Tickets on sale now.