48 hours wine tasting in the Hunter Valley

If you choose your holiday destinations by the quality and variety of the wine it produces, put down your research, the Hunter Valley bottles up both.

Consider this destination a bit like a degustation that requires nothing short of a whole weekend’s time commitment to discovering, if you want to even come close to making a dent on its 150 different wineries, 65 restaurants and countless rolling hills.

To help you explore Australia’s oldest wine country, we’ve gone behind the cellar door to discover the best of the Hunter Valley in one weekend.

 

Friday

PM: Hit the road

The two-hours drive is all you’ll need from Sydney to find one of Australia’s best destinations, Hunter Valley. Set off in the afternoon to make it in time for your first drop, best uncorked on the balcony of your cabin at Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley.

If time is on your side on your commute from Sydney, stop by Hunter Valley Cheese to pick up supplies to make a DIY cheese board at home base tonight. From its cheese factory shop front, you can pick up handmade, preservative-free cheeses, along with breads and preserves.

Overnight: Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley

Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley

Saturday

AM: Visit a garden that’s perpetually in bloom

 

Expect a kaleidoscope of colour with a visit to The Hunter Valley Gardens, whose 6,000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and over 1-million ground cover plants will see your inner-horticulturist flourish.

You’ll find it at the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges (15-minutes drive from your accommodation), in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine country.

Put on your walking shoes because there are over eight kilometres of walking tracks connecting their 60 acres of floral gardens, which consist of themed garden displays, including a Chinese Garden, Formal Garden and Storybook Garden.

You can cross the Indian Ocean without a passport to explore the Italian Grotto and be transported to scenes of the Amalfi with bougainvillea, pink wisteria and cascading geranium or take a passage to India, just by stepping through the 160-year-old mosaic gates to the Indian Garden.

Set aside at least half a day if you want to explore its 10 individually themed gardens, on-site rides and Garden Terrace Café.

Hunter Valley Gardens

PM: Taste top drops

When you’re visiting a region whose wine producer to population ratio is as healthy as the Hunter Valley’s is, it pays to have a guide (and designated driver) to prioritise your time with an organised wine tour.

Join Two Fat Blokes Tours for a half-day tasting adventure, which will have you sampling award-winning wines, beers, cheese and chocolates across the valley.

You’ll visit three top wineries, sample top drops and enjoy a matching cheese, all before being dropped back to your cabin’s door, making this wine tasting tour all the more palatable.

Want to dial up the wine tasting? Upgrade your experience to a full day Uncork the Hunter tour where you’ll meet more of the makers of the Hunter’s finest drops.

OvernightIngenia Holidays Hunter Valley

 

Sunday

AM: Early birds catch the panoramic views

They say the best way to see the Hunter Valley is from above it, so test the theory for yourself by joining Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley for a sunrise float over wine country.

From the comfort of your basket, you’ll glide over the vineyards, with views over Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury and Broke.

The early start will be worth it, not just for the views but the champagne breakfast that follows your ride, served at the Peterson House Winery and Restaurant.

Your early start will afford you enough time to visit some last cellar doors (we’d suggest De Bortoli, Dark Horse and Audrey Wilkinson if you didn’t get to them yesterday) before returning to the big smoke, most likely with a few new friends who go by the name Merlot, Shiraz and Grenache.

Hot air ballooning in Hunter Valley