Craving a gourmet weekend getaway with your girlfriends? Or maybe you want to celebrate your hen’s party with wining and dining? Look no further than a Hunter Valley holiday.
Just a couple of hours north of Sydney, this haven of quaint villages, fresh produce and fine wines is an authentic artisan experience and one of my favourite spots for a short break. If you’re considering making the trip, here’s a few of my treasured highlights:
Where tranquility and luxury collide
For secluded rustic cabins, cosy fires, hot tubs and warm crusty bread, Manzanilla Ridge is a truly boutique experience when it comes to Hunter Valley accommodation. I absolutely love this place. Dominic and Jane run these secluded cabins with a dose of old fashioned hospitality. They’ve put a lot of thought into what makes a perfect escape and sometimes a smaller scale helps. Boutique hotels in the Hunter are popular with Expedia’s Aussie travellers and it’s obvious why.
My last visit to Manzanilla Ridge was in winter and my cabin was a cosy home away from home. The fire was crackling, soothing music crooned from the Bluetooth stereo, the wine rack was stocked and a decanter of port and a welcome letter sat on the kitchen bench. An espresso machine and a fridge full of local produce for breakfast was the icing on the cake.
Add a hot tub on the balcony and I was in heaven. And there’s the fact the cabin is located just up the road from my favourite Italian restaurant outside of Italy. Lillino’s Bar and Trattoria is a must, the simplicity of the handmade pasta and fresh local produce is a gourmet delight.
Cycle the artisan trail
The perfect way to soak up all the Hunter Valley has to offer is definitely by bike. The freedom of the open air, the beauty of the Australia bushland and the thought of the next winery to quench your thirst makes this a fun way to spend the day.
Depending on what you want to see and do, plan your ride around visiting cellar doors, tasting local produce, visiting local art galleries, stopping off at alfresco cafes, squeezing in some shopping, visiting a day spa or taking a picnic break. Check when the local markets are on too.
Grapemobile Bicycle Hire offers a huge selection of bikes for rent and they can also give you ideas on a suggested trail to follow. Or if you have a sense of adventure why not download the Hunter Valley Map, draft up your route and see where the day takes you!