Exploration and settlement of the Hunter River began within a few years of the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove and, as a consequence, the region is rich in early colonial history. And Merriwa, a small town in the western reaches of the Hunter, is no exception.
You’ll find some of the better examples of early buildings on the historic walk through Vennacher, Bay and McCartney streets and the local museum is housed in a cottage built in the 1850s. Although it was built as a private residence, the cottage housed a succession of banks for the best part of 100 years and doubled as a dance venue in the 1920s. By the late 1960s it had been reduced to a near ruin and it took some sweet-talking by the ladies of the town to save the building from the wrecker's hammer. It has since been restored.
The Tourist Information Centre also includes a Bottle Museum. Nearby Goulburn River Park is a designated gem-fossicking zone. One of the few remaining convict-built roads runs the 25km between Merriwa to Gungal, while The Dip picnic area lies another 15km further on in the Goulburn River National Park.