Exploring The Hunter Valley

Exploring the Hunter Valley has always been something high on my “Wish List". With my family coming from New Zealand to spend Christmas with us this year, we thought this to be the perfect time to make this wish a reality. So let me share my diary on my day and night in Australia's best known wine region, The Hunter Valley. 

The adventure started with a family road trip, automatically bringing back childhood memories. However the just under 3 hour trip went surprisingly fast and before we knew it, we had entered rolling hills covered with vineyards and open plains. 

Our first stop wine tasting at Audrey Wilkinson.

An absolutely interesting story on the legacy that Audrey Wilkinson continued at only 15 years of age, after his father died. The Wilkinson's were true pioneers of the Australian winemaking industry. By the 1900's Audrey Wilkinson collected awards for his fortified wines. Perched on top of the hill on the Brokenback Mountain Ranges is the Audrey Wilkinson Cellar door, where we took part in wine tasting. Learning this history, contents and true meaning of the wines was fascinating thanks to our guide Sarah. A few of my favourites included 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir, 2011 Lake Shiraz and 2011 Desert Semillon. Listening to Sarah talk us through the blends and what foods would suit, was a great was to really taste and understand. I’m am still yet to try the 2014 winemakers selection Moscato with fruit loops, however I have tacked it onto a 2015 resolution haha. Amazing service and a fun, yet informative morning spent at Aurdreys. 

Lunch on the Hill.

Hello Bistro Molines. WOW, this place is a must for food whilst in the Hunter. Set on the hill in Mount Veiw and set among the peaceful surrounds of Tallavera Grove, overlooking a valley of terraced vineyards. Owned by Robert and Sally Molines, who are down to earth and extremely involved within the restaurant. Robert is the chef and creates sophisticated yet rustic French provincial dishes for his ever changing menu and believe me the food is DELICIOUS. Sally works the room with her infectious smile and easy going personality making Bistro Molines a top grade restaurant with a friendly and family vibe. Highly Recommend. 

Walk and Talk.

After lunch it was onto Tyrrells Vineyard. Sadly our timing had been mixed up with our organisers, yet Tyrrells managed to squeeze us in for a solo tour with our walking encyclopedia Scott, who knew every detail there was to know about the history of this incredible family and business. With a glass of wine in hand we walked the vines, through the original bark hut built in 1858 and learnt the process of the making of Tyrrals wines. If you want to get involved with the grape picking process, Tyrrells look for 60- 80 pickers to help handpick their grapes and even if being a part of this amazing process wasn't enough they also pay $22 an hour! 

Dinner with a difference. 

Roberts Circa 1876. I've heard a lot about this restaurant so I was eager to not only taste the food but also visit this little wooden house that sits on the property of The Peppers ConventCelebrating the culture of chefs foraging and growing their own produce, Roberts Circa 1876 Executive Chef George Francisco has established a spectacular organic market garden on a recently-expanded 3 acre lot. Everything about this place was incredible, from the giant open fire place, to the little original rooms which now cater as private dining rooms and a place to sit and enjoy your glass of wine. Being 6 foot tall I was having to duck as I entered the door frames as the original beams still stand. I just loved it.  Oh and the food. AMAZING... especially the death by chocolate cake. YUM.

Good Night Sleep.

So where to stay whilst in the Hunter. Peppers, of course. With two Peppers located in the Hunter, The guesthouse and The Convent your'e spoilt with choice. We stayed at Peppers Guest House, which first opened it's doors in 1984. The concept is a contemporary style guest house in luxury surroundings. Their heritage suites have plenty of room and surrounded by beautiful gardens and a tranquil sounds.  My crisp white sheets and cloud like bed made it one of the best sleeps ever! Friendly staff put the perfect touches to a little getaway oh and did I mention the Kangaroos hopping around the estate! 

Exploring the grounds of Peppers The Convent 

I'm already planning my next trip to The Hunter Valley as I feel I only scratched the surface of unbelievable hot spots that this famous wine region has to offer. However I know I did it right and HIGHLY recommend my little itinerary if going only for a day. 

Nikki xox 

A huge thanks to Peppers and Nicole from The Mantra Group. 

Shop my outfits here 

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