Australian Wine Country - Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley - Australia's Wine Country
During our visit to Sydney this past New Year's Eve (2016/2017) for our honeymoon, we decided to take day to get out of the city and explore. We booked a wine tour to the Hunter Valley. What better way to spend New Year's Eve day than by getting out and exploring the beautiful rolling landscape plus tasting delicious Australian wine.
The Hunter Valley is located about 75 miles north of Sydney and is considered to be one of Australia's main wine producing regions. There are several wineries in the Hunter. Ranging from world-renowned brands such as Yellow Tail to much smaller family-run boutique operations. Yellow Tail might be well known all across the globe but it doesn't accurately represent the quality wines that come from this region.
You might be thinking the Hunter is a little far to drive just to taste wine. Well a day trip to the Hunter Valley is not just about wine tasting and seeing the beautiful landscape. We also got to stop at Walkabout Wildlife Park where we were able to interact with some Australia's most fascinating animals. The kangaroos, wallaby and koala bears were so adorable and friendly.
We didn't want to worry about drinking and driving, plus we weren't used to the whole driving on the opposite side of the road situation. So we decided to book a tour of the Hunter Valley from Kangarrific Tours. We relied on reviews on TripAdvisor before selecting what company to book our tour through and let's just say we absolutely made the best choice.
Our Tour Itinerary:
Depart Sydney Australia - 7:20 am
Arrive at Walkabout Wildlife Park - 8:30 am
Wildlife Experience - including Kangaroos, Wallaby and Koala
Depart for Chocolate Shop - 9:15 am
Arrive at Hunter Valley Chocolate Company - 10:30 am
Depart for Wineries - 11:00 am
Arrive at BlueBerry Hill Wines - 11:15 am
Depart for Cheese Tasting- 12:00 pm
Arrive at Hunter Valley Cheese Factory - 12:05 pm
Our tour guide Sam was amazing! He was very friendly, quite funny and he made sure everyone on the tour was having fun. These tours are quite small and private. Our group consisted of 10 people plus our tour guide Sam. It was nice being part of such a small group and by the end of the tour we had gotten to know almost everyone. One thing that really stood out to us on this tour is that it was a pre-planned schedule but Sam catered the tour to the types of wine that everyone preferred. He asked each person on the tour what type(s) of wine they liked such as Cabernet, Shiraz, Moscato, Rosé, etc.
After the Walkabout Wildlife Park, the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company was our next stop and it was a very neat experience. Upon our arrival a chocolatier came out greeted us and had several samples of their handmade Belgian style chocolate. Yummmy! You know us and our love for coffee. Well they had a coffee bar that featured a mocha made with homemade chocolate sauce. It was very rich but it was a nice treat!
After the stop at the chocolate shop, we moved on to wine. We stopped at BlueBerry Hill Wines. The wines we were able to taste at BlueBerry Hill Wines were quite nice. BlueBerry Hill was family run and was a very relaxed atmosphere with a husband and wife team who operated our tasting. Their wines were delightful and their company was even better.
It was then time for a quick stop for lunch plus a chance to visit to Hunter Valley Cheese Factory. They make several kinds of cheese from scratch right in the Hunter. The cheese factory is located at Hunter Valley Gardens which has several restaurants and was quite a nice place to have lunch and enjoy Australia's countryside. We had several choices for lunch and we opted for Thai food from Oishii which was quite delicious.
The last winery we visited after lunch Tallavera Grove was also quite nice but much fancier. The staff was very friendly and they made sure everyone got to try several wines and even poured you more of a certain kind if you really liked it. The view from this winery was incredible it sits way up on a hill and overlooks part of the Hunter Valley.
Overall if you visit Sydney we would highly recommend you take time to visit the Hunter Valley, whether you book a tour or drive their yourself. You can really experience more of every day life by escaping the city and getting out into the Australia countryside.