When my family visits from out of town one of the first requests is a trip to Morpeth. With its unique village vibe, surrounded by green spaces and heritage, there’s no wonder they always want to go back. Whenever I drive into Morpeth I feel myself relax. It is a place where you can immediately forget life’s hustles and bustles.
Morpeth is home to a fantastic shopping district and Morpeth Gourmet Foods is always our first stop. Showcasing a variety of local culinary delights, partake in ginger beer tasting brewed on the premises at the Morpeth Ginger Beer Factory. Other fantastic shopping can be found up and down Swan Street including Guil the Bearded Woodworker, Miss Lily’s Lollies and for the style savvy a plethora of clothing and accessories can be discovered throughout Morpeth’s fashion hotspots. Princess Bazaar is a favourite with its striking fashion and accessories to match any mood.
Louise’s of Morpeth with its racks of simple yet elegant clothing also has a footwear selection that makes me swoon. Local handicraft, artwork, homewares and boutique goods all culminate to create a shopping experience of singular character and unique style. Walk down lane ways and cobbled sidewalks with the bready aromas from Morpeth Sourdough and the floral scents of Morpeth Flower Gallery. Be surprised with shopping destinations like the Australian Alpaca Barn, Cabinets of Curiosities and the shimmering Morpeth Antique Jewellery Gallery.
With so much shopping, shopaholics may need a pick me up. The variety of cafés in Morpeth can provide a caffeine boost whether that be a punchy short black, a comforting latte or a refreshing iced coffee, plus the essential side of cake.
I love listening to the click clacking of cars going over Morpeth Bridge which opened in 1898. For a closer look head down to Illalaung Park to the manicured seating area or head down the stone steps to walk under the bridge. If you’re interested in seeing more heritage buildings and uncovering history I’d recommend Morpeth’s Heritage Walk which includes 25 sites.
The picturesque Hunter River which flows through Morpeth is perfect for boating, kayaking and canoeing. Nova Cruises runs historic Morpeth cruises from Newcastle in which river farers can discover the history of this once busy trade port. Queens Wharf is the perfect spot for a riverside picnic with a jetty to launch your river adventure.
If you want to know more about this beautiful town or are simply looking for something fun to do, head to Morpeth Museum. For the tiny admission price of $2 per person (free for children) this museum shares the rich history of the area whilst preserving it for future generations. With interesting and continually changing exhibitions it’s a fantastic addition to the family Morpeth tour.
For those more in the mood for a luxurious tea experience The Bronte Boutique Hotel has you covered. There’s afternoon tea in a variety of styles, however, if you’re looking to add a nip to your tea, try the Gin Tea which gin lovers will adore. A short drive from Morpeth is Ducks in the Field with its quirky, colourful and lacey high teas in Duckenfield. The homemade punch, collections of
starters and sweets has provided me with some wonderful memories.
For lunch and dinner Morpeth has so many great options. Before deciding where to eat we have to make an essential stop at the Commercial Hotel home to Morpeth Brewery and Beer Co. If you visit when they’re putting down a brew you can smell the yeast which creates their distinct and delicious beers. If you can’t decide on one, grab a tasting paddle which will allow you to try four varieties. Living in a family of beer connoisseurs and brewers my father in law was impressed enough to buy a growler of his top pick. The Commercial Hotel also has a fantastic gastronomic menu and a gorgeous balcony delightfully called Miss Mullens Bar.
Another popular eatery is Morpeth Woodfired Pizza. A hybrid cuisine of both Italian and Indian food. We’ve tried their butter chicken and paneer pizzas as well as their traditional Italian pizzas. They also do fantastic curries and tandoori breads. I like to snuggle in right next to the woodfired oven in winter or out in the cool alfresco area in summer.
Further down Swan Street is the River Royal Inn which has the always faithful delicious pub grub and a fantastic fresh Thai food menu. My family always has a perfectly cooked steaks while my husband and I enjoy the vegetarian Thai menu.
At the end of any visit to Morpeth we leave full of food and having discovered something new. Its heritage charm and modern styles are like nowhere else.
Story by Genevieve Graham