The Hunter Valley – A ‘Grape’ Escape

The Hunter Valley has long been a popular choice for a weekend getaway or a destination in it’s own right when visiting Australia, so I thought I’d highlight my recent visit and let you know some of the truly awesome things that you can get up to whilst you’re there.

 

STAY

With over 140 varied accommodation options, there truly is something for everyone. We stayed this time at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in 2 x 3 bedroom villas. Perfect for families or a groups hitting the Hunter for the School Holidays, Bucks/Hens Weekends or just for some fun away with your friends.

The property has plenty of facilities to entertain the entire clan including a pool, gym, day spa, golf, bike rental, conference/team building facilities and much much more. It’s also in a great location within the valley, and accessible to some of the best wineries and outside dining options.

If you’re looking for something a little more intimate or to Luxe it up a bit, then Spicers Vineyards Estate is a beautiful property. Nestled between the property’s private, eight acre vineyard and natural bushland, each of their rooms comes complete with en suite spa and an open, wood-burning fireplace. Bliss! The perfect space for you to relax, un-wine-d (get it?) and enjoy every moment after a day of wine tasting.

DISCOVER

Again, with over 150 wineries and cellar doors in the Hunter Valley it’s hard to know where to start, so you can either pick up one of the many wine tours on offer to explore the Hunter region or do what we did… pick your favourites and commandeer a maxi taxi for the day.

The destinations of choice for us were diverse, as we aimed for a mix of boutique wineries, larger well known options, something a little different (it’s not all wineries you know) and great dining, so our visit included:

1. Peterson House in Pokolbin – The Hunter Valleys premier specialist producers of sparkling wine. It would be amiss to start our day with anything BUT their signature bubbly breakfast and wine tasting experience. https://petersonhouse.com.au/

2. Audrey Wilkinson – Pioneers of the Australian wine making industry, the Wilkinson’s acquired their land and started making wine back in 1866, and believe it or not Audrey Wilkinson was a man! Left to run the winery at age 15 after his father passed away, he began collecting awards around Australia for his for his hock, claret and fortified wines. https://www.audreywilkinson.com.au/

3. Bimbadgen Estate – A larger estate set high in the valley, this winery is known for hosting the popular ‘Day on the Green’ wine and music festival events annually. As well has having a large spacious tasting area, they run a cafe, restaurant and accommodations. Joel (the sommelier) talked us through a large range of their wines, which enabled us to choose our favourites to take home with us.  http://www.bimbadgen.com.au/

4. Tempus Two – With their mission statement being to combine the essence of tradition with the magic of innovation, Tempus Two do just that with their impressive architecturally designed cellar door. Set in the rolling vineyards of Polkobin in the heart of the region, Tempus Two come from one of Australia’s most well known wine making families ‘The McGuigan’s’ and you can see that their sense of style and looking good is just as important as the taste of their wine.

After you’ve visited their cellar door you can relax in the restaurant or cocktail bar (which is also just as impressive), explore the cheese shop and kick back listening to the live music they host frequently. Another location for ‘Day on the Green’ events, this is one impressive winery, and as they say it’s for the person who appreciates the finer things in life. http://www.tempustwo.com.au/

5. Harrigan’s Irish Pub – One of the livelier venues in the valley is the ever popular Harrigan’s Irish Pub. Surrounded by vineyards, manicured gardens and mountains, get a taste of true Irish hospitality here where you can relax in the restaurant, beer gardens and stay in their 4* accommodation. The kids can be entertained too, so kick back, have a Guinness and just take it all in. http://www.harrigansirishpub.com.au/

6. Hunter Distillery – It’s not all wine in the Hunter Valley, so check out the Hunter Distillery. It’s the only locally owned and operated distillery in the valley, where they use raw, organic ingredients to create award wining, top shelf spirits such as Gin, Vodka and Schnapps. With products like Chocolate Vodka,  Blackberry Schnapps and their connoisseur range of ‘Copperwave Gin’ a visit to this distillery is the perfect way to end the day, and pick up a few after dinner treats.

http://www.hunterdistillery.com.au/index.php

GETTING AROUND

As mentioned unless you have yourself a designated driver (and seriously…. you’re in the Hunter Valley, so I’m not sure who’d want to be!), it’s best to either arrange for a private wine tour, where you can choose your favourite wineries and locations, or do what we did and use a Maxi Taxi to get you around.

There were 11 of us in total, and it was about $40-50 in total between each location, so you’ll find that overall it works out a lot cheaper than paying upwards of $100++ per person for a tour, plus you can move at your own pace.

BUT, If you don’t want the hassle of waiting for a taxi and you want to keep moving, check out the links below for some of the regions most popular wine tours.

http://www.bespokehunter.com.au/

http://www.huntervalleywinetastingtours.com.au/

http://twofatblokes.com.au/

EVENTS

The Hunter Valley is often host to a range of events including Food and Wine festivals, Farmers Markets, Music events like ‘A day on the Green’ and much much more.

For more specific information check out the Vist NSW website under the Hunter Valley tab for all of the upcoming events in the region. Here is the link  http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/hunter/hunter-valley

*******

With plenty more to do in the Hunter (if you have the time or aren’t rolling drunk from all the wine tasting) then you can discover other activities such as Hot Air Ballooning, Gourmet food tours and cooking classes, Mountain biking, nature walks, Golf, Day Spa’s and the list goes on.

PHOTOS

Take a look at just some of our snaps from the weekend, and you’ll see why the Hunter Valley certainly is one of Australia’s premier destinations, and I hope that this helps you to discover some of the fabulous local wineries and businesses that are worthy of a visit the next time you’re looking for a ‘grape’ weekend escape.

Have you been to the Hunter Valley? Which is your favourite winery and why? Any other hot tips for the region that we should know? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for checking out my post, and if you’d like me to style you a Hunter Valley escape, then get in touch. I’ve got more insider info to share with you and exclusive rates at some of my hand picked properties (that may or may not include a cheeky bottle of wine to get you started).

Contact – kate@richetravel.com.au

Kate xx

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