We all need to escape the daily grind, break up the routine and just get away. Unfortunately, a fabulous overseas adventure isn’t always on the cards so a weekend road trip is the perfect antidote. What better place to escape Sydney as the weather cools than the Hunter Valley wine country.
Staying at the Hotel Grand Mercure The Vintage, a lavish, four and a half star resort style living with all the delights of the country. We had a luxury two bedroom apartment with our own gas fireplace, a perfect sanctuary to retreat to after a long day at the wineries.
First things first in the Hunter Valley, a wine tour. We had Nathan from Off The Vine Wine Tour take us on a private day tour and I could not recommend it highly enough. Professional, entertaining and hilarious! An 11:30am pick up for a 12pm lunch at the spectacular Bistro Molines. Nestled on top of Tallavera Vineyard, the view boasts hills on perfectly lined vineyard. It was breathtaking, rivalling any of it’s counterparts in Italy. The fit out was also stunning, with a white etherial bistro motif throughout, we settled in comfortably for a fresh lunch.
The second stop for the day was at Peterson’s Wines, we were greeted with a smile by the owner John. Peterson’s is a family owned and operated premium winery, try their Back Block Shiraz, I promise you won’t be disappointed. With John’s welcoming nature and humour we spent 2 hours at Peterson’s (it was meant to be 30 mins) tasting some of the best Australian wines, majority not on the tasting menu and walking away with a small cellar worth of wine in tow.
Being extremely behind schedule and not caring one bit, Nathan quickly whisked us to the next winery, situated at the foot of the picturesque Brokenback Range it’s hard to miss the striking visage that is Leogate Estate.
A quick outfit change and our day concluded with a much needed dinner at Esca in the Bimbadgen Estate. In all honesty, after a day of wine tasting, my memory of dinner is somewhat vague. I do remember the most delicious crispy squid with pea, green peppercorn, lime leaf and Thai green curry.
Sunday morning called for a 5am wake up, getting up early was worth it for a cold but beautiful aerial tour over the Hunter Valley, Hot Air Ballooning with Balloon Aloft! It was a frosty morning and with all the fog I was expecting the white walkers to come at me out of the vineyards.
It’s pretty spectacular to view wine country from the air and an aerial adventure you must experience at least once in your lifetime, its a romantic adventure where you escape, relax and enjoy the excitement of the oldest and greatest form of flight.
What better way to relax after an early morning than an afternoon playing golf, on arguably the best golf course in Australia. The Vintage Golf Club features an 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course which has been ranked among the best in Australia. I’m no expert player but I can appreciate a competitive afternoon and golf buggy racing. If you are a golfer, this course is something dreams are made of and with a glass of rose in hand I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish off a weekend getaway.