Australia // Wine tasting in the gorgeous Hunter Valley

Aaaah Hunter Valley… Ever since we arrived in Sydney we’ve been hearing such good stories about the oldest wine region of Australia. So it was only a matter of time before we actually went there and tasted some of Australia’s deliciousness.

About 150 wineries operate in Hunter Valley so it would be impossible for us (and our poor livers) to cover them all in one day. In this post we will be reporting on our picks of the day, and believe us, there are some great places to be visited!

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The first vines were planted around 1820. Apart from the wineries there are also a couple of olive farms, breweries, distilleries and chocolate and cheese producers.

Hunter Valley makes for an excellent day trip or weekend away from Sydney if you have your own set of wheels, but for us it was the first stop on our roadtrip from Sydney towards Cairns with a couple of travel companions from Belgium. We’ll be reporting on our other stopovers in the next few weeks!

To get to Hunter Valley we took the scenic “Tourist Drive 33” from Sydney. Along the way we passed the tiny town of Wollombi, which actually resembles some of the cowboy towns you can find in America’s Far West. This route takes a bit longer than the freeway, but offers many drop-dead gorgeous views in return!

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We drove straight to the center of Hunter Valley, a little town called Pokolbin, and had a delicious lunch with a tasty glass of wine (of course) at Blaxland’s Inn. Across the street one of the most famous wineries in Hunter Valley is located: the Hope Estate. There was quite a lot of bustle going on and a huge stage had been set up, as Elton John was going to perform that night – too bad we didn’t have tickets!

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After enjoying a great lunch we drove uphill to the beautifully situated Scarborough Winery, where we had our first wine tasting of the day. The Scarborough Winery is located on a dead-end street and offers great vistas over the Hunter Valley region.

We were told about 20,000 people would be visiting Hunter Valley that day (probably because of the Elton John concert), however the Scarborough Winery was a lovely and tranquil place free from huge flocks of tourist busses – which we didn’t mind of course :)

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We probably tasted about ten different and very delicious wines (after a couple of tastings it’s kinda hard to keep track…) and had a lazy stroll around the premises – this is the place to be for great panoramas! –  before we headed off to the next winery. 

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We followed the winding roads through the valley until we reached the Peterson’s Winery, a smaller estate but nevertheless worth a visit! Peterson’s had us tasting a couple of great red wines, so we obviously stacked up a couple of bottles in the boot of our car – next to some of the delicious white wines we picked up at the Scarborough Winery.

Peterson’s Winery is also set on a hillside and the view from the winery’s entrance is simply jaw-dropping!

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Just down the road from Peterson’s the Briar Ridge Vineyard is located. This winery has a lovely terrace, a perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day with a nice glass of Chardonnay. On the side wall the owners have put the winery’s output of every year since its foundation in 1974.

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Last but not least, the Margan Winery Estate in Broke, a locality about 20 minutes drive away from Pokolbin. This classy winery has a cozy interior and a great restaurant – at least we like to think so… it was fully booked when we got there :(

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After tasting some of the premium Margan wines time had come to say goodbye to the Hunter Valley. But as we were driving back to Pokolbin it seemed the valley still had something in store for us… we had only just passed a warning sign for kangaroos when we turned the corner and we saw about a hundred of them hopping around in the fields. Finally, the first kangaroos we spotted in Australia!

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A great way to end our first (but definitely not last) weekend in Hunter Valley.

We’ll be back!