We spent the week before Christmas with the Snook’s parents up in Eungai. It was a nice, relaxing break. One day we went to the Gladstone Markets and then had lunch at Smoky Cape Retreat, which we hadn’t visited since we stayed there when I ran my marathon four years ago. Another day we drove north: honey lattes at the Honey Place, then lunch and antique shopping in Sawtell, and finishing with a choc-covered frozen banana at the Big Banana. The highlight of the trip for me though was definitely our visit to the Bago Maze.
The Snook somehow found the Bago Maze online recently and suggested we stop. It’s at a vineyard near Wauchope, and it’s meant to be the largest hedge maze in New South Wales. (It was only finished a few years ago, which is why we hadn’t heard of it before.) We drove down there on Christmas Eve, stopping off on the way for Fredo Pies and scones at Ricardoes. Bago Vineyard is pretty far off the highway, and we laughed nervously as we ventured farther and farther down hilly dirt roads through a forest with no other cars in sight. (“Maybe it’s all a trick to kidnap hipster cityfolk and steal their organs!”) Eventually we crested a hill and saw the most beautifully situated, practically hidden little vineyard complete with hedge maze. The cellar door is at the top of a hill with a stunning view out over the vines and maze. (It would be gorgeous spot to hold a wedding or party.) The sky was grey and drizzly though, and we were the only people there. We paid our $10 and headed for the maze.
It was raining a little bit as we took a selfie from the top of the hill, but thankfully it stopped for most of our time in the maze. We were given a code that unlocked the entrance gate, as well as a list of secret items to look for and tick off. It’s a very well done maze! You can’t see very far in advance, and it’s not at all obvious which turns will be dead ends. The paths all curve too, which means you can’t necessarily pick one based on which direction you want to head. We went with the strategy of trying the left-most option each time and backtracking where needed. We found our way to the first tower pretty easily, which includes a bridge and some fun recycled bells to play. We found the second tower soon after, and the Snook spent some time playing the “Thongophone” beneath it. (There’s also a large Chinese gong you can whack. Very satisfying.) We picked our way through the mud on the sunken path, finding some more secret treasures from our list. In under an hour, we stumbled upon the exit door… but we weren’t ready to go yet. We backtracked a bit to search for some more items from our list. The rain started back up though, so we eventually decided to head out. I think we were in the maze for about 45 minutes total, and we’ve still got a few items left to look for next time. Afterwards we tried some of the Bago wine and ended up buying half a case, as well as a platter of local cheeses and meats. The Bago Vineyards and Maze are well worth a stop if you’re in the area!