Nothing seems to have changed in the atmospheric town of Wollombi, 24 km (15 mi) southwest of Cessnock, since the days when the Cobb & Co. stagecoaches rumbled through town. Founded in 1820, Wollombi was the overnight stop for the coaches on the second day of the journey from Sydney along the convict-built Great Northern Road—at that time the only route north. The town is full of delightful old sandstone buildings and antiques shops, and there's also a museum in the old courthouse with 19th-century clothing and bushranger memorabilia.
Wollombi Tavern. Wollombi's local pub, the Wollombi Tavern, serves its own exotic brew, which goes by the name of Dr. Jurd's Jungle Juice. The pub also scores high marks for its friendliness and local color. Old North Road, Hunter Valley, NSW, 2325. www.wollombitavern.com.au.
Avoca House. The century-old Avoca House, set on a 67-acre farm a mile out of Wollombi, is the perfect place to chill out. 2683 Wollombi Rd., NSW, 2325. www.avocahouse.com.au.
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