Author Archives: I Love Mudgee

Making the most of your home equity

Have you owned your Mudgee home for a number of years? If so there is a good chance that you have saved up a reasonable amount of home equity.

What is home equity?

In a nutshell, home equity is the difference between a property’s market value and the outstanding amount owed to the bank. It can increase over time if a property’s value goes up or if its loan is paid down.

It is essentially the amount of your property that you “own” and is therefore a valuable asset. 

How it works?

To calculate your equity you need to subtract the amount you owe from the value of your home.

So, for example, if your property is worth $500,000 and you owe $200,000, your equity is the difference between the two figures – being $300,000.

Keep in mind however that while you may have $300,000 sitting in total equity, banks will generally only let you take out 80% of the value of your home, less the debt you still owe against it. This is referred to as your useable equity. 

For a home worth $500,000 with a $200,000 mortgage:

  • Property value: $500,000
  • Value of property at 80%: $400,000
  • Minus amount owing on mortgage: $200,000
  • Useable equity = $200,000 

Your bank may allow you to borrow more than this amount however you will need to take our Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). There may be other factors that the bank will take into account too, such as your age, income and any outstanding debts. 

Using your equity

The more equity you have the better, so some people may prefer to build on it rather then spend it. The best way to build your equity is to pay down your loan as quickly as possible.

Your equity can be put to good use for a variety of things though, from property investment to renovations, or other types of investments.

Using equity for investment purposes can be a great way to grow your wealth. Don’t forget that if you already own an investment property you can draw on the equity from this as well.

Before taking out your equity it is always worth getting financial advice. Equity isn’t free money. You will still need to be able to afford your repayments and you are taking away a financial buffer that could be used for a rainy day.

Live and Local on Church Street

Church Street will come alive with the sounds of music next month, as part of a new Live and Local street event.

Cafes, restaurants, pubs and outlets will be transformed into temporary live music spaces for the event, giving people the chance to discover Mudgee’s local music scene.

Set to take place from 4pm to 8pm on Saturday 17 March, the event will conclude the 2018 Food and Drink Trail. Visitors will get the opportunity to see Church Street like they’ve never seen it before, with an abundance of local musicians, an art and craft market and a ‘youth stage’ for emerging artists.

‘Live and Local’ is a new concept funded through Create NSW’s Live and Local grant funding program. A number of councils throughout the state are getting on board with the program and sharing in a $150,000 funding pool for 2017/18, including Orange, Newcastle, Tweed, Wagga Wagga, Kempsey, Armidale and Tenterfield.

The program aims to promote live music in local communities by bringing together venues, local businesses, musicians and the public. It will help create employment and cultural development, and it might even help uncover the next big thing in music.

To find out more about the event, contact Mid-Western Regional Council’s Events Team at or call 02 6378 2850.

Should you buy or rent in 2018?

Would you be better off renting, or should you take the leap into the property market and buy?

Whether to buy or to rent is a dilemma faced by many Australians, and the answer is not always simple. While purchasing a home can be a smart investment in a person’s future, in some circumstances renting can make more financial sense.

So which option is better for you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros of each scenario.

Why you should buy

Rising property prices – The reason why many people choose to buy over renting is to take advantage of rising property prices. Homebuyers can make significant profits if they hold onto a property long enough for it to go up in value, or if they make value-adding improvements.

Of course some property transactions can result in a loss, but if you purchase in the right area, buy with a long-term outlook and make the effort to maintain your asset then there is a good chance that you will benefit from buying.

Enforced savings – “Rent money is dead money”, or so the saying goes. However there’s no denying that if you put money towards your own home then you will be putting money away towards your own investment.

While many can and do save while they rent, it may be harder to have the same level of discipline.

Greater sense of security – When you own a home you have more control. There is no risk that you might need to move out if your landlord decides not to renew your lease when your rental agreement ends.

Can make it your own – Want to make changes to your property? No problem! You can make your home your castle and renovate it to suit your individual needs, no permission from your landlord required.

Why you should rent

Less upfront costs – Buying can be an expensive endeavour and if you don’t have the capital behind you then renting can be the better (or perhaps only) option.

Renting can also leave you with more available funds from week to week, allowing you to invest elsewhere.

Less maintenance worries – Renting means you don’t need to have money saved away for when maintenance, repairs or other property issues come up.

Flexibility – You don’t need to commit to a property long term when you rent, you can simply pack up and move on when your lease agreement ends. This can be useful if your lifestyle dictates that you need to move around or you simply get bored of staying in the same place too long.

Your budget or the area you want to live in may dictate whether you want to buy or rent, but one isn’t necessarily better than the other. You need to do what suits you and your lifestyle.

If you’re looking to move to the Mudgee region and would like advice about buying or renting, contact McGrath Central Tablelands.

Uncover Mudgee’s food and drink hotspots

Take yourself on a culinary journey through Mudgee by hitting this year’s Mudgee Region Food and Drink Trail on March 17 and 18.

The trail will take foodies on a gastronomical adventure through Mudgee where there will be an abundance of fresh produce and delectable drink options on offer.

Destinations throughout the region will be serving up the perfect pairings of food and drink, likely to be a sample of local wine, beer, spirit or other beverage, alongside a regionally inspired small dish.

There will be over 15 unique stops and experiences to choose from, with something on offer for everyone’s taste.

A trail pass will be the key to your food adventure. It will contain 5 x vouchers, with each being able to be exchanged for one food and one beverage sample at participating venues.

More details are still to be released but last year’s event was a huge success. It included everything from cellar doors and farms to orchards, cafes and a distillery.

Out of town visitors should ensure they have accommodation booked for March 17 and 18 as early as possible if they don’t want to miss out, as the event is likely to draw in plenty of visitors from near and far.

Stay up to date

To ensure you don’t miss out on this food and drink experience, check back in regularly at for all of the details.

Time to register for the Mudgee Relay for Life

Preparations are now underway for the 2018 Mudgee and District Relay For Life set to take place on April 7-8.

Officially launched last weekend, the Relay For Life is an event that raises vital funds for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention, information and support services.

The Relay is also an opportunity for the Mudgee community to get together and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, and honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer.

It is hoped that through the event funds will be raised to help save more lives. 

Information sessions

If you’re interested in taking part in the event there will be two information nights held, with the first one taking place tonight.

The information sessions give participants the chance to find out more about the event by asking questions and receiving information. Participants will also be able to meet fellow Relay participants and discuss fundraising initiatives.

The information sessions will be held tonight (Wednesday 7th February, 2018) from 6pm and again on Wednesday 7th March, 2018 at 6pm. Both sessions will be held at the Mudgee Golf Club.

The main event

The Mudgee and District Relay For Life will take place over the weekend of April 7-8 running from 10am on the Saturday until 10am Sunday morning. It will be held at Victoria Park in Mudgee.

To register or to find out more head over to

You can also follow the event on Facebook at


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Get set to cycle at Mudgee Bike Muster

Get your bicycle into gear and register for the 11th annual Mudgee Bike Muster to be held from March 30 to April 2.

Held every year over the Easter long weekend on the grounds of the Australian Rural Education Centre, the Bike Muster is an opportunity for those from near and far to take part in a family friendly celebration of recreational cycling.

Unlike other cycling events, kids are encouraged to take part, with plenty of opportunities to ride around the site without having to venture out onto any roads with traffic. There are also fun activities besides cycling including kite flying, face painting and treasure hunts.

As well as being family friendly, the event is suitable for all levels of cyclists. Participants can choose how often and how far they want to ride over the four days of the event. They can also choose to camp on-site and enjoy nightly entertainment.

The first ride of the weekend will be a “One in All in Get to Know you Ride” suitable for all levels of riders and approx. 25km in length. It will be a great way to have a cruise around town and get to know the other riders.

Lunch is held at a different venue each day, with this year’s program featuring Ernest Schuetz Estate and Vinifera Wines & Baler Williams distillery.

Visit the Mudgee Bike Muster website – – for the full event schedule.

There is a lot of interest in the Mudgee Bike Muster every year, meaning that numbers need to be capped, so if you want to join in on all the fun then be sure to register as soon as you can.

Need to know:

When: March 30 to April 2 2018 (Easter long weekend)

Where: Based at the Australian Rural Education Centre

More info:

All about the First Home Super Saver Scheme

Those looking to buy their first home can now get help saving for their deposit by taking advantage of the First Home Super Saver Scheme that was passed in federal parliament in December 2017.

What is the First Home Super Saver Scheme?

The scheme allows eligible individuals to make extra contributions into their superannuation account that can later be withdrawn and used towards a first home deposit.

The new scheme is not to be confused with the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme or the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, which are also available to help first home buyers break into the property market.

How does the scheme work?

First home buyers can make voluntary contributions to their superannuation account, to boost their savings for a home deposit. This allows first home buyers to save part of their deposit inside a lower-taxed environment.

A maximum contribution of $30,000 over two years can be made, with contributions capped at $15,000 a year. These contributions are then invested according to the individual’s super account instructions.

Only voluntary contributions can be used by the scheme. Compulsory contributions made by employers remain reserved for retirement.

When can you make withdrawals?

Any voluntary contributions made into a super saver account can be withdrawn anytime after 1 July 2018 through an application to the ATO.

Those making a withdrawal have up to 12 months once the funds have been released to sign a contract to buy or construct a home.

To find out further information about the scheme visit the ATO website.

For those looking for first home opportunities in the Mudgee region, contact McGrath Central Tablelands.

Date ideas for Valentine’s Day in Mudgee

Love is in the air in Mudgee!

If you’re looking to whisk your Valentine away for a special romantic date this year then there will be a few spots in town where you can win their heart.

Valentine’s Day @ Parklands

Feel the love at Parklands Resort where they will be hosting a Valentines dinner on Wednesday 14 February.

Enjoy a glass of bubbly on arrival and choose between either a two-course ($48)

or three-course ($55) option.

The dinner is bound to be popular so be sure to book ahead. For further information or booking call 02 6372 4500.

Romantic movie night @ Bunnamagoo Estate Wines

For something a little different, head to Bunnamagoo Estate on Saturday 17 February from 6pm for a screening of The Wedding Date, starring Debra Messing, Amy Adams & Dermot Mulroney.

There will be a variety of food and drinks available on the night including a sausage sizzle, cheese plates, movie snacks, Bunnamagoo wines, various beer, cider, soft drinks and bottled water. Guests are asked to BYO food if you have any special dietary requirements, however note that the event is being held at a licensed venue, therefore you cannot bring outside liquor on the premises.

Bring along your own chairs, picnic blankets or bean bags. Admission is $25 per person and transfers can be arranged to and from the event using Mudgee Explorer Tours at a cost of $10 each way. Book directly with them on 0474 971 785.

Contact Bunnamagoo Estate Wines on 02 6373 3046 to find out more.

Harvest Tours @ Lowe Wines

While many will be enjoying a glass or two of wine on Valentine’s Day, you can take it a step further by discovering how wine is made at Lowe Wines.

Join David Lowe as he takes you on a tour to see the wine process first hand. Visitors will be able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste as organically grown grapes are transformed into award winning wine.

The tours will take place from 12th February until 16th March 2018 so there is plenty of time to join in if you aren’t free on Valentine’s Day. Head along weekdays at 11am or weekends at 11am and 3pm. The tours take 45 minutes and are free to join. Enclosed shoes are required.

To RSVP text “”Harvest Tour!” to 0438 188 043 with the date, time, your name and number of guests.

Tips for saving water at your Mudgee home

There’s no denying that it’s been a sweltering hot summer in Mudgee. Due to the extremely hot conditions throughout the region the Mid-Western Regional Council  advised locals to restrict the non-essential use of water earlier in the month.

According to the Council’s Facebook page: “This will reduce the strain on Council’s water treatment plants. In order to help, residents are requested to please restrict the use of water during the day and use fixed hoses and sprinklers between the hours of 8.00pm and 8.00am only”.

By reducing the use of water, residents can help alleviate the need to impose water restrictions across the region.

Hopefully there will be no need to impose water restrictions, but if you want to reduce your water use, below are some tips to help:

  1. Fix leaky taps – even a slow drip can be a huge water waster!
  2. Invest in water-efficient products for the home such as taps, showerheads, washing machines and dishwashers.
  3. Try to limit shower time and don’t leave the water running while brushing teeth (just turn it on when you need to rinse).
  4. If you have a single flush toilet, consider upgrading to a dual flush system.
  5. Only turn on the dishwasher or washing machine when there is a full load.
  6. Consider installing a rainwater tank to store water.
  7. Plug the sink or use a bowl when washing fruit or vegies. The water collected can be used to water the garden.
  8. Similar to the above, don’t waste cold water in the shower while you wait for it to heat up. The water saved can be collected in a watering can for the garden.
  9. If you have a pool, use a pool cover to reduce evaporation.
  10. Try to be more conscious of your water use and where water is used around your home. Most people can save litres of water a day by making simple changes.

Get ready for show season across the Mudgee region

Show season is about to kick off in the Mudgee region, starting with the Gulgong Show on Saturday 17 February.

This year the Gulgong Show is set to be bigger and better than ever as it celebrates its 130th year. In that time it has become an important local event, helping promote regional produce and the varying talents of our local craftspeople.

Some of this year’s features will include Rock and Roll Wrestling, Tractor Pull and the Beaut Ute Car Bike Truck and Machinery Show.

All of the show’s favourites will be back too, including animal shows, wood chopping, whip cracking, rides, fireworks and lots more.

Of course, there will also be lots of yummy local food and drinks on the day to enjoy too.

This year’s Gulgong Show will be an event not to be missed, so get the whole family together for a fun day out.

Tickets will be available at the gate at a cost of $10 for adults, $6 for pensioners, $5 for children and free for those under five years old.

Gates open at 6am for exhibitors and events will kick off at 8:30am. The day will conclude after the fireworks display at approximately 9pm.

For more details about this year’s show and to see the full program of events, visit You can also follow the Gulgong Show’s Facebook Page for updates.

Don’t forget to also mark the Rylstone Kandos Show on February 23-24 and the Mudgee Show on March 2-3 in your diaries.