Veer left off the Hunter Expressway, and you will come across a small country town that stands proudly in the beautiful Hunter Valley region. Surrounded by untamed bushland, Kurri Kurri holds on tight to times passed. Originally a mining community, Kurri Kurri has maintained its strong working-class culture with sports a binding force – from the motorsports at the local speedway to the impressive rugby league talent that the town has produced.
The streets of Kurri Kurri are filled with large colourful murals (over 55 to be exact) that depict the towns history, local watering-holes with cast-iron lacework and nostalgic shops fronts. Miners cottages, some are beautifully restored while others are ripe for renovation, just add to the charm. The locals know they’re part of something special and they play up to it at the annual Nostalgic Festival which features rock ‘n’ roll dancing, hot rods and bike shows. Keeping the theme going year-round is the Heddon Great Drive-in, and the annual mural art show is always a crowd pleaser.
With Newcastle within easy driving distance one way and the wine region the other, Kurri Kurri is well-positioned, and people are tapping into that. More and more developments are popping up in surrounding areas and with that comes new energy, but it does little to detract from the old-school country town vibe that locals hold so dear.