Recently I was lucky enough to have a few days off work down in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but by no means disappointing! While we did make the mistake of starting our holiday on a Monday, not realising that the HV’s weekend is a Monday/Tuesday, we ate scrummy smelly cheeses, tasted locally brewed beers and sampled wines that we couldn’t afford.
Looking down over the Hunter Valley region
It could be assumed that the Hunter Valley region is aimed at those with some cash to burn. Given that the readership here at Brisbane Threads aren’t ALL as rich as I am (ha!), I thought I’d give you a taste of a few different price point options for a more affordable luxurious wine-filled holiday. I kind of did the old ‘stuff yourself sick during the day and snack at night’ thing. I found that a lot of the restaurants were pretty pricey for dinner in the HV region. If you’re down there on a budget, my advice would be to eat up big during the day and take home some quality stinky cheese, olives, sourdough and a local bottle of summin’ summin’.
I’m breaking this post up into TWO because there is just too much to cover. SO firstly I’ll take you straight to the Hunter Valley and next time, we’ll go over the stops we made on the way. Enjoy the read and then get into your car and do it yourself.
This is the lake our little home for the week was on.
Lovedale (Hunter Valley region)
For coffee and cake and all things Lovedale – The Lovedale Store.
Being welcomed by super friendly store owner Paul absolutely made our day. I recommend this being one of your first stops if you’re staying in the Lovedale area. Here you will find home made sweet treats, locally grown produce and flyers and information for the surrounding businesses. Paul will treat you like an old pal and can answer any HV questions you might have. Paul can also take you round the back to show you the quirky art gallery on site.
Accommodation – 201 Lake house is an absolute picture of perfection as you are driving down the long country drive-way through the vineyards. From a few hundred meters away you can spot a gorgeous cottage surrounded by a duck filled lake. I recommend taking this trip with a group of mates. This gorgeous house has three queen bedrooms with THEIR OWN BATHROOM EACH. The kitchen is kitted out with brilliant quality appliances and everything else you could need to cook up a storm with local fresh produce. There is a sweet deck overlooking the lake and it’s kitted out with a BBQ for sunset dinners. Best.
The process of organising the Lake House was seamless. Anita, the property manager had left fresh local milk in the fridge and the house was absolutely spotless. You have all the luxuries of a four star hotel, including delicious thick white bedding, feather-filled pillows and beautiful toiletries provided. Every single detail has been VERY well thought out and invested in. The house feels completely private and isolated and yet is within a few km’s radius of several wineries and restaurants.
I couldn’t have found a better option for accommodation. We were also treated to a bottle of 201’s champagne on our first night on the deck overlooking the lake at sunset. I won’t lie- it was a stand-out part of our holiday.
For wine – Wandin Valley Estates (Lovedale).
We were greeted by the lovely Mercedes (pronounced mer-said-ez) and she promptly had us seated for wine tasting. I have to say Wandin was the best service and wine we experienced in our trip to the Hunter.
I am the first to admit I am no wine connoisseur, but I know what I do like and I know what I don’t like. I stumbled over my preferences with terrible descriptions and Mercerdes jumped to my aid and gave me exactly what I was after.
We came out happy with a bottle of chardonnay and one of the white wines from the Pavillion range (I can’t remember which – we didn’t stop to read the label before we downed it). Most of the Wandin Estate bottles range from $20-$25 each for whites and $20-$35 each for reds. I guess this was fairly common among the wineries, perhaps a little more towards the affordable end than others.
Other Honourable Mentions – definite must-trys while you’re in the region
The Smelly Cheese Shop, Sabour in the HUNTER (desserts galore), Hunter Brew Co., Hunter Valley Chocolate Company, The Deck Cafe in Lovedale.
Stay tuned for next week’s post where we head to Newcastle and a few other stops along the way. We’ll talk threads stops and more food of course.
Images courtesy of the amazing Gabriel Veit Photography.