Bago Maze and Winery

NSW First spoke to Bago Maze & Winery Landscape Architect Ian Mobbs about why the business is involved with the program.

Bago Maze and Winery

Business profile

Established in the early 1980s, Bago Maze & Winery is a third-generation family farm celebrating local wine and produce. It is located in Wauchope, a four-hour drive north of Sydney or a short 30-minute drive from Port Macquarie.

Bago boasts acres of vineyards, a winery, cellar door and one of the world’s largest hedge mazes, encompassing 2000 metres of pathways. Visitors can enjoy a wine tasting at the cellar door and buy local produce such as cheese, macadamias and relishes. Bago also offers immersive experiences, taking guests behind-the-scenes with its owner on a tour of the winery, vineyards, chocolate shop and maze before finishing with wine, cheese and chocolate tastings.

Quick facts

Product type: Attraction & tour

Focus: Food & wine

Location: Wauchope, Mid-North Coast

Destination Network: Destination North Coast

Bago Maze & Winery Landscape Architect Ian Mobbs discusses the benefits of joining the NSW First program.

Ian Mobbs - Landscape Architect, Bago Maze and Winery
How did you start working with Destination NSW and the NSW First program?

We were encouraged by our local council to attend a NSW First workshop on inbound tourism.

How did the NSW First workshops help your business?

The workshops made us realise that we had a product that was of interest to international travellers and gave us confidence to develop packages to target them.

How did your business get started?

Bago started as a standard farming enterprise. There was never an intention to become a tourist operation, it just evolved. Initially the farm produced a variety of grain crops but, as happens with farming, prices and demand changed and throughout the 1980s the farming focus shifted several times to try and find something that worked. We tried raspberries, kiwifruit, market gardens and then wine grapes.

The wine grapes led to the establishment of our winery and cellar door and the beginning of our tourism venture. The winery was the main focus of the business, then our hedge maze was designed and planted in 2006 with the aim of attracting a wider variety of visitors. Since then, the combination of the winery and maze has worked well, attracting both wine visitors and other people who might not otherwise have ventured out to us.

What do you wish you knew when you started?

That being successful in tourism is going to take time, but you don’t need to stress about creating something brand new, because what you already do is pretty amazing. You just need to lay it out so other people can see that too.

Bago Maze & Winery
Why do visitors enjoy your product?

People can often see how much hard work has gone into every aspect of our business. Visitors are impressed that we grow and produce everything ourselves and offer local products that are specific to our area and region. We offer a unique combination of activities - wine and maze - that people enjoy.

To make the experiences special for inbound travellers, we included an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with one of the owners and makers, which is not available to the general public.
Who is your target market?

We are most suited to the self-drive market from Europe, the United Kingdom and United States, who are predominantly young families and couples. This market often takes advantage of all that we offer, both the wines and maze.

What are your top tips for new tourism businesses?

You will need:

• Patience

• Persistence

• A staff member to follow up all the leads.

How did you develop a bookable product?

To create our bookable packages, we bundled products and experiences together that we were already doing well and offering to our standard customers separately, such as wine tasting, maze admission and cheese platters. To make the experiences special for inbound travellers, we included an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with one of the owners and makers, which is not available to the general public.

Why did you develop this product?

We developed our packages because they each bundle experiences that our two target markets -families and couples - currently enjoy when visiting us. They also give our visitors more guidance than they would receive if they were to visit us without booking, adding value to their experience.

What opportunities or challenges are you looking forward to?

We are looking forward to continuing to operate a working farm while further developing the tourism activities and contributing to our region’s goals of greater international visitation.