There’s no doubt that Sydney is an incredible city. However, it can certainly prove to have that bubble-like tendency which makes you never want to leave it. With a constant line-up of exciting events, beautiful beaches and endless new places to visit, why would you?
I would highly recommend bursting this Sydney bubble and heading over to Hunter Valley. Whether just for the day, or an overnight stay, it truly is the perfect getaway (no poetry intended).
When planning a visit to the Valley there is a myriad of options to consider, which can be a bit overwhelming, as I discovered firsthand. From finding a bargain Groupon offer that will transport you to and from Sydney for a day of wine tasting, to driving down to join a tour and booking local accommodation (no one wants to be designated driver), to stay at one of the beautiful vineyards themselves.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, just a couple of key deciding factors, namely; timeframe and budget.
I decided to go for the medium-time/medium-budget option and drove down with two friends, booking into a motel for one night – admittedly it was a little strange – but cheap, so not complaints.
The next decision is to tour or not to tour. I have previously been to two wine tasting regions: Marlborough NZ and Margaret River WA. In Marlborough, myself and a friend chose one lovely winery where we sampled their cellar door wines and treated ourselves to a fancy lunch. In Margaret River, myself and my family booked on to a day wine tour which took us around multiple vineyards to sample their produce and included a buffet style lunch.
Both experiences were enjoyable, but to cut to the chase, the more vineyards you visit, the more wine you can consume. Also, the wine tour guides are generally very knowledgeable when it comes to the local area, so chances are they will take you to the best places in the region – saving you a lot of prior Googling!
After some deliberation, we settled on doing a half-day wine tour with Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tours. For a very reasonable $60PP this included pick up and drop off within the region, a visit to three cellar doors and a quick stop at the infamous smelly cheese shop and chocolate shop for some tasters.
The vineyards visited are subject to change on the tours – and can easily be influenced by your preference. The three we visited were:
This vineyard provided a very generous tasting, offering up to 18 different wines including the best Moscato you’ll ever try! It also had a delicious range of chilli products and jams to sample.
This vineyard is situated amongst gorgeous grounds and certainly makes for a scenic sampling. If it’s a leisurely wine-fuelled lunch you are after, I would highly recommend coming here.
No joke, I genuinely can’t remember or track down the last vineyard we visited. Not that it was un-memorable, it just happened to be the last we visited (bearing in mind we kicked off the tour with 18 different wine samples…)
One thing I do remember is that whichever vineyards you visit and whichever way you choose to do your trip, two undeniable facts remain. The wine is delicious. And the region is stunning.