Located midway between Scone and Muswellbrook, 267 kilometres north of Sydney, is the New England Highway town of Aberdeen. The town developed on the site of the Upper Hunter River ford used by pioneer settlers in the early 19th century.
Only a short drive from Aberdeen are the famous Scone thoroughbred studs, which were among the first to bring highly successful stallions from Britain, Europe and the US to enrich Australian bloodlines. Not, in a heritage sense, that one of the studs, Kia Ora needed all that much enriching. Established in 1912, Kia Ora has produced seven winners of Australia's greatest horse race, the Melbourne Cup.
Another highly successful thoroughbred stud, Segenhoe Estate, located on the northern fringes of the town, has played a pivotal role in the development of the area since the early 1830s. In its time, the original Georgian homestead has hosted many a passing dignitary and the guests who have watched the sunset from the bull-nosed verandah have included explorers Allan Cunningham and Edmund Kennedy, and Sir Richard Bourke, who was Governor of NSW from 1830 to 1837.
Aberdeen is situated on the Upper Hunter Wine Trail, which runs from Scone in the north down to Muswellbrook and Denman in the south, along which you'll find some of Australia's most well-known vineyards, such as Rosemount Estate and Arrowfield.
While not as populous and developed as the Lower Hunter, the Upper Hunter is fast gaining recognition for its wines, and in addition to tasting the region's best many of the wineries provide for the visitor with restaurants and picnic and barbecue facilities.
Driving north-east of the town the Rouchel Road scenic drive will take you past beautiful scenery, the Hunter Valley Museum of Rural Life and the remains of a mill believed to be the oldest surviving structure of its kind in Australia.
Further on, you will find the tourist hotspot of the region, the large expanse of Lake Glenbawn. The lake, whose shores are well-equipped with barbeque and picnic facilities, draws watersport enthusiasts from far and wide. Anglers for one are attracted by the bass, golden perch and catfish lurking in the depths.