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MORPETH | History, discovery and romance

Morpeth is a town of full of history and discovery and the perfect place to spend a day or a romantic weekend away. Renown for being a popular tourist spot, Morpeth is also one of the Hunter's premium boutique shopping destinations.

Just a short drive from Wine Country and only 37 km from Newcastle, this charming and historic village is idyllically situated along the banks of the Hunter River and offers all the simple pleasures of a country village along with the opportunity of stylish shopping and dining.

Here visitors can combine the old with the new whilst wandering through the stone-paved streets, taking in the interesting assortment of sandstone colonial buildings now occupied by more than 40 specialty stores, cafés and galleries featuring everything from local craft, antiques, unique home wears to striking artworks, distinctive fashion, amazing jewellery designs and affordable accessories. Morpeth is a destination you won't forget, and one that you are sure to revisit.

With its unique combination of history, heritage and beauty, this bustling river town is the ideal base to explore what the Hunter region has to offer and has become a destination of note for speciality and high quality retail shopping. With a surprising diversity of shops and stores for such a small village, it is little wonder that Morpeth is such a busy little town.

Catering for the most discerning of all retail explorers, shopping in Morpeth is an intimate and relaxed shopping experience and a shopaholics dream. Mingled in between the village’s cafés and restaurants you’ll find a treasure tove of retail magic, where there is truly something for everyone. Whether you are looking for antiques, collectable books, unique jewellery, designer clothing and accessories, artworks, cheese or chocolate you’ll find the best of these and muchmore. After an active day of shopping, treat yourself to a riverside lunch with some local wine, or relax with a coffee and a locally made gourmet treat at one of the many tea-rooms, cafes or restaurants.

Alternatively, relax in the park on the riverbank by the old wooden bridge, take in the beautiful scenery or sip an ale in the country pub. Morpeth was founded in 1821 by Lieutenant Edward Close, who built his homestead fie years later and developed the town into a thriving river port for ships distributing goods both nationally and worldwide. In its day, Morpeth was the largest inland seaport of the new Australian colony and commercial icons such as Brambles, Sims Metal, Arnotts and Soul’s Pharmacy were all born in this wonderful town.

By 1890, Morpeth's days as a river port were effectively over, but the town's comparative isolation meant that its historic shopfronts, wharves and even the hitching posts along the main street have survived intact. The same bakehouse where William Arnott and his brother David ran their business during the 1860's still exists today and remains in the family with its current owner Stephen Arnott, but under the name Morpeth Sourdough. Stephen is a 6th generation baker and the great, great, great grandson of William.

Today, Morpeth is National Trust-classified and a wide-wake town crammed with restaurants, shops and a calendar full of annual events such as the annual Christmas Nativity Exhibition at Morpeth Gallery held throughout November and December, the Festival of Two Palettes held at Morpeth Gallery in March and the Morpeth Fiery Food Festival held in April at Morpeth Gourmet Foods.

Don't miss... This month Morpeth is once again holding their Art Bazaar at Closebourne, Cnr Morpeth Road and Tank Street, Morpeth on Sunday September 13th!

The Hunter Arts Network's (HAN) fourth annual Art Bazaar will display and sell handmade, original, high quality work by over 100 local artisians (Hunter and surrounds). Springfest - an evening of live and local music will be held at Morpeth School of Arts (High Street) from 4.30pm on Saturday September 26th. The event will feature an all night BBQ, and craft beer. Tickets on sale now! Call 0404 144 003 or message the organisers on facebook (search Springfest)

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