The Hunter Valley, north of Sydney in New South Wales, is one of Australia’s major wine regions, with a viticultural history dating back to the early 1800s. Known for varietals such as Semillon and Shiraz, it’s home to numerous wineries, including world-renowned brands and family-run boutique operations. Most are located south of the Hunter River and offer cellar door wine tastings and vineyard tours. (Cellar Doors is the name in Australia for winery/vinyard!)
Early European Settlement. Lieutenant John Shortland was the first European in 1797 to discover the region by chance during a search for escaped convicts. The Hunter Valley was initially established as a source of timber and coal for Sydney and its surrounding areas.
There are 4 main varieties that we tried…
Shiraz (pronounce differently than “normal” put the emphasis on the RAZ)
Breakfast – trying Vegemite
I had to! It was just as my face states below. Later I learned I put it on too strong and I needed to just use a little bit with butter.
Hunter Valley Wine Tour
After much research back in the States I decided to go with Divine Wine Tour as they seemed the most locally owned and had a really great video on their site.
1st Stop – Gundog
Local flair in what seems in the middle of nowhere!
Derek spotted our first wild kangaroo sitting!!
2nd Spot – Vinden Estate
Cellar Door Dog Ellie
3rd Stop – Lunch at Emerson’s Restaurant
The olive oil came from these trees that we were looking over…
With the temperate rising to almost 40 C bush fires are a huge concern. We saw one start at lunch and it instantly took off
4th Stop – Chocolates at The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
Our favorite was the lime fudge – we had never seen fudge that wasn’t chocolate based. really refreshing
5th Stop – Adding on a bubbles tasting at
6th Stop – Tulloch
My favorite place as they had port and it was fantastic!! We got two bottles so family get ready!
7th Stop – Cheese! at Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Kitchen
They call ketsup tomato sauce!!
8th and our final stop – De iulliis Wines
Bush fire getting worse…
Diving by hydro golf – like a driving range but you try and hit it into buckles. I believe top prize is around $1000 for the furthest/smallest bucket
Dinner – The Cellar Restaurant
We got this recommendation from a local – he said it is where the locals go…it was very good! Derek had kangaroo (sorry Steve – it was before we knew we shouldn’t have it)
Hunter Garden Lights
We then headed over to the Hunter Garden Lights – what was suppose to be the tourist attraction of the town – drawing hundreds in from all over Australia. I don’t know if it was the 90 degree heat, the full tummys, the day of drinking or what, but this was horrible! Kids were everywhere, nats and bugs were swarming around our face, they had rides and were trying to get a buck out of anything and everything. We walked through very fast and the only really neat thing we saw was the Sydney opera house lights and the kangaroos instead of reindeer on the Santa sled. People told us that you can see this display from space, so maybe we were expecting a lot….we were disappointed but glad we got 50% off from our hotel which was right next to the garden
Off to bed as we had a LONG day of driving to Byron Bay the next day (7 hours)