The Weekender: Hunter Valley, NSW
Besides the creamy, decadent cheese and the extraordinary wines – the Hunter Valley region boasts their whimsical views from sunrise to sunset regardless of the season that guests visit in.
Sitting just three and half-hours out of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is the perfect getaway. More popularly known as ‘Wine Country,’ Hunter Valley in Pokolbin New South Wales is a must for any weekend getaway.
Binnorie Cheese Dairy Factory
Expect smelly, fresh, creamy and revolutionary cheese that will surely change your life. Cheese lovers will feel right at home once entering the renowned Binnorie Cheese Dairy Factory in Lovedale. Sitting just a 10-minute drive out of Hunter Valley’s city centre; Binnorie takes pride in their locally sourced milk that’s found in their well-known products. Definitely get your hands on a jar of their famous Labna that’s marinated in rosemary, chili and garlic ($15).
Binnorie Cheese Dairy Factory – Cnr of Lodge Rd and Lovedale Rd, Lovedale
Enzo Hunter Valley
Since its opening in 1996, Café Enzo has been a stopping point for any guest travelling through wine country. Surrounded by an enchanting courtyard and a decadent Italian menu, Italian food lovers will soon understand the hype. With locally grown produce, homemade meals, and excellent coffee; Enzo’s will soon be a favourite for the next visit to Pokolbin. Opt for the Linguini with Tiger Prawns that’s served with fresh chilli, baby tomatoes, chorizo, lemon butter sauce and shaved parmesan ($32).
Enzo Hunter Valley – Broke Rd and Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin
Pairing day wine tours with a visit to Muse Restaurant located within the Hungerford Hill Winery will definitely have visitors embracing the sweet and finer notes. Boasting their blossoming produce that supplied from all the way up the Central Coast, to across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand; every bite will have guests tantalised. Considering their alliance and passion with the freshest ingredients used, it comes to no surprise that the contemporary Australian menu is seasonal for the purest and most luscious fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Muse Restaurant offers a four course set dinner menu ($105) which can also feature an optional wine pairing and an additional cheese course.
Muse Restaurant – Hungerford Hill Winery – Broke Rd, Pokolbin
In just a blink of an eye, visitors can easily miss the entry into Harkham Wines thanks to the breathtaking and whimsical views surrounding the understated winery. Sitting off road, the small winery will in no time be any wine lovers favourite stop throughout their visit in Hunter Valley. Embracing their history and wine production traits, the visit to Harkham Wines will feel more like a family reunion. The Harkham family being one of Israel’s wine region pioneers, since 1951 to present, Harkham Wines are family owned and operated. Despite their humbleness, the business crushes between 20 – 25 tones of grapes a year, that are sourced from their very own organic vineyards. From there they produce a 100% naturally, handpicked, fermented grape juice. For any chocolate lover out there, the Chocolate Dessert Liqueur ($35) will surely be a favourite topping for the next scoop of ice cream after dinner.
Harkham Wines – 266 Debeyers Rd, Pokolbin
Matilda Bay Brewhouse
It come’s to no surprise that Hunter Valley does indeed cater for the craft beer lovers out there – hence why Matilda Bay Brewhouse is somewhat central within the region. Expecting crowds is an understatement; Hunter Valley Resort is a stopover must for any weekend getaway. Originally titled as Bluetongue Brewery in 2001, today, Matilda Bay is known as Pokolbin’s first boutique brewhouse in the wine country area – considering they have a whopping amount of 12 craft beers available. With hearty pub food served, a laidback culture and the infamous Beer Tasting Paddles ($15) available, guests will surely feel the heartbreak leaving the venue. Pair your paddle with the Pork Belly that’s served with dutch carrots, spiced toffee apple and dirty granny reduction ($33).
Matilda Bay Brewhouse – Cnr Hermitage Rd and Mistletoe Lne, Pokolbin
Tempus Two Winery
With nine vineyards stretching out all the way from Barossa Valley in South Australia, to Tumbarumba in New South Wales and then up north to Hunter Valley; Tempus Two Winery in Pokolbin will definitely have any wine lover travelling through the nine regions within each sip. Founded in 1997 by renowned wine family, the McGuigans – their previous 128-year winemaking experience has created Tempus Two to become one of Australia’s most favourable wines. With their distinctive, cutting edge, wine techniques and flavours – a trip to the Pokolbin Tempus Two Winery will surely be celebrated. Known for their unique range available, visiting their cellar door guests are encouraged to purchase one of their UNO Series that are created in small batches and only exclusively sold in the Hunter Valley.
Tempus Two Winery – Cnr Broke and McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin
Hunter Valley Resort, is definitely first preference when wanting to choose an activity for the odd occasion of when we dismiss a glass of wine. From a wine school, to candy making and even a cooking school – the resort is renowned for their infamous Grape Stomping ($35). Whether you’re a stomper, a jumper or a twister; this will surely be a lot of fun with a lot of laughs. Squashing the grapes with your feet in the oak barrel is a great way to learn how the magical fruit was turned into wine before compressing and extracting machines were used.
Hunter Valley Resort – Cnr Hermitage Rd and Mistletoe Lne, Pokolbin
Hunter Valley Gardens
Sitting on 60 acres with 6000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and over a staggering 1 million ground plants, on top of the statues, murals, waterfalls and mazes, the Hunter Valley Gardens ($30 per person) is the perfect day trip regardless of the age group. With an enchanting, meticulous and quintessential approach to every garden or grotto – guests will be in a guaranteed state of awe as they walk their way through one of Hunter Valley’s many landmarks. Featuring the Storybook Garden, an Italian Grotto, a tantalising Lakes Walk and even a very peaceful yet magical Oriental Garden.
Hunter Valley Gardens – Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Hot Air Balloon with Beyond Ballooning
After exploring majority of the Hunter Valley region, it comes to no surprise that a view from up above is guaranteed to bring a more breathtaking perspective. Starting from $249, Beyond Ballooning accommodates for groups as small as two, to as big as 16 people. Regardless, the hour-long Hot Air Balloon ride will be a surprising, charming and bewitching encounter. Reinventing the meaning of a one in a kind experience – there’s no doubt that a Hot Air Balloon ride will be the highlight of your visit to the underrated Hunter Valley wine region.
Beyond Ballooning – Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley – 430 Wine Country Dr, Lovedale
Kirkton Park Hotel
Stumbling across Kirkton Park Hotel (from $166 a night) that sits in the heart of Pokolbin, guests will be able to dive into a complete state of relaxation and quality service that’s all housed within the modern, eccentric Hamptons style décor walls. Surrounded by a mouthful of 70 acres of rural gardens and walking trails, Kirkton Park Hotel is a necessity for any wine country visit. With a handful of dining and bar options available on site, guests can also enjoy the tennis courts, the indoor heated pool, a gaming room and even a library to flick your way through.
Kirkton Park Hotel – 336 Oakey Creek Rd, Pokolbin
Travelling up the bewitching driveway that’s encased by a paralleled row of trees, leading up to the front fountain of The Convent in Pokolbin; guests will be stuck in a state of magical trance throughout their visit. One of Hunter Valley’s most picturesque venues, The Convent is a delightful stay regardless if it’d be for one night or a week. Housing renowned restaurant Circa 1876, guests are also welcome to roam the premises, especially their meticulous gardens. Starting at $259 a night, The Convent is perfect for those who appreciate elegance and passion.
The Convent – Halls Rd, Pokolbin
Sitting on a private 25-acre vineyard, wine enthusiasts will surely feel like The Longhouse is more of a haven. The serviced apartment has a long line of history with its 130-year-old timbers that encase the modern minimalist décor that’s housed inside. Starting at $375 a night, The Longhouse boasts their iconic views which is easy to encapsulate from every major living area. With opening glass walls that soak in the stunning sunrise to sunset, guests at the Longhouse will fall more in love with the Broken Back ranges than ever before.
The Longhouse – 385 Palmers Lne, Pokolbin