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Hunter Valley Wine Weekends


Home to some of the oldest vines and biggest names in Australian wine, the Hunter Valley is a drawcard for lovers of a quality drop.  Word on the street is the 2014 vintage is set to be a cracker! Talk of “best ever” and “vintage of the century” are being whispered by winemakers.  Hunter Valley 2014 Semillons are being bottled and released now, whilst 2014 reds are maturing in oak barrels until their release later in 2015.

Take a trip to the Hunter Valley for a weekend spent frolicking through vineyards, cellar door discoveries, divine dining or getting adventurous with hot air ballooning, cycling or a scenic helicopter ride.

Avoid the crowds and take an indulgent mid-week mini-break. You’ll have more time to chat with wine makers and cellar door specialists and dine at the best restaurants without the pressure of securing a reservation.

Here’s our guide to what to see and do in the Hunter Valley.


Eighty Eight

Restaurant Eighty Eight is housed in the iconic Convent building and is open to the public. Under the direction of Executive Chef George Francisco of Roberts Circa 1876, the restaurant is aiming to nourish your soul with ethically sourced, organic ingredients, gathered or acquired locally or sustainably farmed. Standouts from our dining experience were the pea soup, poured theatrically at the table and the baked lemon tart with coconut sorbet, gingernut-rose dukka for dessert. Ah-mazing!

Restaurant Cuvee

Enjoy a tasting at Petersons House, including selection of sparkling wine and museum releases before heading into Restaurant Cuvee.  Set in a beautiful sandstone building with exposed aged timber beams and overlooking the vineyards; it’s a top spot for a leisurely lunch. Restaurant Cuvee is also renowned for its Bubbly Breakfast including full cooked breakfast, a glass of sparkling wine and chocolates for $28.

Muse Kitchen

Muse Kitchen is a charming; relaxed restaurant located at Keith Tulloch winery and is open for lunch Wed-Sun and dinner only on Saturday night, so book in quick!  It has one of those menus where you feel you could order anything and be blissfully happy. My roasted corn fed chicken breast with quinoa, raisins, pumpkin, honey and watercress tasted fresh, healthy & wholesome. I was able to sneak a taste of my dining companions Winter Trifle of poached pear, verjuice jelly, warm doughnut, custard that was a delicious deconstruction on an old favourite.

Shakey Tables

With some quirky décor, artwork and antique treasures, the restaurant is a master of deception as this is actually a fine diner, with prices to match. This well established restaurant, from Chef Paula Rengger turns out classically inspired contemporary Australian cuisine influenced by her Scottish heritage such as the Lamb 3 ways – shank pithiver, haggis bon bon & seared loin with pearl barley, pea puree. Wines by the glass are exclusively from the estate, but they are exceptionally good.


Good coffee is an essential part of our daily routine at alluxia, so when we heard Enzo serves Campos Coffee; we made the daily pilgrimage to this cosy cafe. Housed in a stunning sandstone building with open fireplace dating back to the 1700’s and spilling outside to the courtyard, with market umbrellas by the fountain, the whole scene is utterly enchanting. Open 7 days for breakfast and lunch and weekend dinners. Despite the casual feel, bookings are essential to secure a table on the weekends.


Helicopter Tour

If your Hunter Valley getaway is a special occasion, then look no further than Slattery Helicopters to impress that special someone. With a range of helicopter experiences including a Food & Wine Progressive Lunch or Cellar Door Lunch Tour, this is one stylish way to see the Hunter Valley. From $330 per person.

Hot Air Ballooning

Experience the romance of Hot Air Ballooning with the very experienced Balloon Aloft team. Flights begin at sunrise and soar above picturesque wine regions of Pokolbin, Lovdedale, Rothbury or Broke. Balloon flights last approximately one hour and are followed by Champagne breakfast at Peterson House. From $279 per person


If you’re a little more energetic, why not try cycling around the vineyards and relax in the sunshine with a romantic picnic lunch. Hire mountain bikes, tandems or cruisers from Grapemobile from $25 per person.

Day Spas

For the ultimate, indulgent weekend book in some “me time” at Destination Spa at Chateau Elan to feel revived and rejuvenated. With 17 treatment rooms, all treatments include access to The Spa Hydrotherapy Lounge with hot and cold plunge pools overlooking the Vintage golf course.



Binnorie Dairy

Wine and cheese simply go together, so stop by the Binnorie Dairy and sample its flagship marinated fetta, labna and more and take away some award wining soft cheeses.

Come What May

This new homeware and gift shop combines both vintage treasures and elegant modern pieces. The shop is located on Calais Estate beside the cellar door.

Lovedale Smokehouse Gourmet Pantry

Creating premium quality artisanal charcuterie items including cured and smoked meats, smoked cheese, smoked bacon, pate and terrines. Stop by for picnic provisions or ploughman’s meal if you’ve overindulged at the restaurants.



Adina Vineyard

These contemporary cabins are ideal for groups or families, with fully self-contained kitchen facilities, lounge room with fireplace and outdoor bbq on the deck overlooking the vineyards. Onsite at Adina, enjoy use of the swimming pool, Day Spa, Cellar Door and Emerson Restaurant. From $170 per night

Carriages Country House

Down a country lane, you’ll discover The Carriages set amongst the vineyards. Relaxation is the name of the game here, whether that means sipping wine on the sun drenched verandah, strolling amongst the vineyards or perhaps a spot of tennis, your every whim is catered for. From $245 per night

Chateau Elan

The grand Chateau Elan is the perfect couples paradise for a weekend of indulgence. The resort includes Greg Norman championship golf course - The Vintage, Café Elan and Legends Grill and Day Spa. You won’t want to leave. From $229

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Images: Hunter Valley, Alluxia, Chateau Elan, Carriages

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