Stay in this unique Mudgee train carriage
It’s not every day that you can escape the rat race, pack a bag, and call converted old red rattler train carriages home for the weekend. Not unless you’re staying at the off-the grid Morrigan Station located at Aarons Pass, a 40 minute drive east of Mudgee.
You feel a sense of being ‘away’ the minute you turn down the driveway, where old gums cast shadows across the dirt, and could tell you a thing or two along the way. Depending on your time of arrival you may hit peak hour traffic of the woolly, hooved variety. A welcomed distraction from the usual four wheeled and exhaust fumed travel we grow so accustomed to, the sheep take their time to get from paddock to paddock.
As you drive along, you can start to make out the shape of the carriages arising from the hill. They make a grand statement against the backdrop of the typical landscape of this area. Suddenly the reality hits, that this is a truly unique type of accommodation- next stop, escapism.
So how exactly did a pair of red rattler train carriages become one of the Mudgee regions most popular places to stay?
Morrigan farm began in 2009, with the name stemming back to Norse origins. Owner’s Susan and Craig expanded the farm family with the addition of the carriages in 2019. Keeping in theme with the farm name, Morrigan Station was born.
The carriages were purchased in one of the region’s toughest periods amidst the bushfires and drought of 2019. But through the challenges of this period, they still managed to take on this extraordinary project and make it into something special for others to enjoy in the future.
Constructed by Tulloch in Newcastle, the carriages were brought to life in 1954 and spent most of their time working the Penrith to Central station journey. In 1980 their signature “red rattler’ windows and shutters were replaced with aluminium windows, preparing them for their transformation as classrooms at the Kambora school.
Being able to walk around and look under the carriages is a perspective even the most seasoned commuter would not be familiar with. It really does display the sheer size and power behind these majestic structures.
Take a walk up the stairs and you will notice the decking which overlooks the property. It is fitted out with a bbq and chairs and tables. This is prime real estate views, and the ideal spot to pour a glass of something special from the local vineyards, kick back and watch one of the spectacular sunsets light up the sky with its magenta beauty.
The front door opens up into an entryway vestibule with the first bedroom to the right. It houses two single beds and suitcases full of games, and an array of other fun activities to keep you occupied during your stay,
To the left you will walk into the main living space, including a compact kitchen, dining table, lounges and a wooden stove to keep you warm during those chilly Mudgee evenings.
The kitchen has everything you need, with a gas stove top, pots and pans (and a few cookbooks to help boost your cooking inspiration) all ready to whizz up a meal.
The next section is the bathroom, which is a cosy toilet, sink and shower space. Surprisingly the shower has plenty of room and the loo overlooks the paddock, a stunner of a view at sunrise.
There’s another vestibule space that proceeds into the main bedroom space. The bed is super comfy and is just the place you want to curl up and relax after a day of exploring the region.
Once you’ve nestled in and made yourself feel at home, it’s time to hit the road and discover some of the marvels nearby.
Morrigan Station is also pet friendly, making the ideal stay to friend your four-legged pal along for the adventure.
If you really want to get a feel for an area, chatting to the locals is one of the best ways to get some tips on where to go, what to see and what to do. These are some of Susan and Craig’s top ideas on what to do when staying at Morrigan Station.
● Dunns Swamp for a swim
● Fern Tree Gully
● Fishing at Windermere Lake
● The Drip, Ulan
They also suggest taking time to visit some of the smaller townships of Kandos, Rylstone and Gulgong, gorgeous rural country town destinations that deserve articles of their own.
Wide country roads, a pub on the corner, crepe myrtle trees dropping their petals like confetti at a wedding, Rylstone is a modest belle of the ball. With all the comforts of cafes, homeware stores, and of course the famous 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha & Tea House all waiting to be explored.
It is surprisingly busy for a small town. There’s the locals and their dirt clad utes, with a kelpie in the front seat,head out the window, loving life, mixed with the out of towners, phone in one hand camera in the other, not quite sure if they’re walking in the right direction.
Take the detour and go visit.
There’s a step back in time to a movie-set feel about the streets of the village of Gulgong. It hasn’t shed the facades and structures that were pivotal to the gold rush days. It has several signature pubs to check out, old-school butchers, a museum and walking tours of the town.
It is full of character and one that the history buffs and fans of traditional architecture will appreciate.
Less than a four hour drive from Sydney, but feeling like you’re another world away, there’s no surprises why Mudgee has won the prestigious title of top tourism town in Australia for two years in a row. It’s an combination of grassroots rural with a side of inviting country charm and hospitality.
Meander through the countless award winning wineries, grab a bite to eat and savour the moment. There are such a variety of wineries to select from, but some which stand out from the crowd include Logan Wines, Walter Wines and Moothi Estate.
Mudgee Brewing Co is a top spot to visit for a bite and a brew. The microbrewery is home to many local performances, and has a sunny little courtyard that is pet-friendly. The food is modern and generous in serving sizes.
The town itself is brimming with architectural beauties, with laneway cafes, classic pubs and boutique stores around every corner. Take some time to stroll away and discover. Check out one of the many local markets that are also held in parks and halls throughout the town centre.
How to stay
There are a couple of ways you can book your getaway at Morrigan Station and here’s how:
As for future plans for Morrigan Station, Susan is looking to put a roof over the deck to add some extra shelter, with potential grand plans for putting in a Swedish hot tub. While Craig would like to expand the accommodation offerings by converting an aeroplane or double decker bus.