A long weekend escape to the Hunter Valley was just what was needed, after several months of craziness at work. How crazy was it? Like being on autopilot, going in day after day, battling tasks, deadlines and problems. Some days I thought ‘did I put on deodorant today??’… see, that kind of crazy.
We have been to the Hunter before, a few years back with family from overseas. That trip, we did a gourmet food and wine tour, so got to see a number of the larger wineries. This trip, it was just the two of us and we stayed at different accommodation, and did our own thing as we wanted to explore more of the boutique wineries.
We arrived at around 11am on the Friday, having endured a relaxing (!!!) drive through Sydney. Half freeways, half surface roads. Thanks GPS, but we’ll just stick to the M7 on the way back.
So Friday was a day of exploring antique wares, wineries, lunching, smoke houses, chocolate factories, cheese factories, and honey sellers. Phew!
We checked in to our accommodation, the Tuscany Wine Estate Resort, and snapped a picture of the gorgeous vine filled view from our room.
You know you are in wine country when there are picture postcard vineyards at every turn, and the main road is called Wine Country Drive.
Dinner that night was at the Matilda Bay Brewhouse, just a 2 minute walk from where we were staying, and included beer tasting from a paddle. Some great beers to be had, including one called I.G.P. (itchy green pants) which I will now try and seek out. It was light and refreshing with great flavour.
Saturday morning was a VERY early start. Try 4am! The reason for our early wake up call was there was a larger than life hot air balloon waiting for us. Have you ever seen a basket this big?? The balloon ride was amazing. Such a fantastic way to explore the Hunter, and meet a ton of friendly people. Plus there was a champagne breakfast waiting for us at the end of the ride.
The rest of Saturday saw more wineries, a distillery, gourmet cafes, jam sellers, a local markets (where I bought the best pesto), and yep… more wineries. We dined that night at the bar at the Tuscany Wine Estate, and enjoyed two of the best pizzas in ages.
Sunday saw the loading of the boot of the car. Really a game of tetris, which included finding cosy storage for our bottled babies. Our haul included reds, whites and some local sparkling. Plus some other tasty morsels.
Tastings (and purchases) of note included a sweet Shiraz from Irongate Estate, the Super Tusker Sangiovese from Piggs Peake, basil pesto from Pure Greed, and a goats cheese with herbs from Binnorie Dairy.
Have you been to the Hunter?