First published on 11 Jul 2012. Updated on 31 Jul 2012.
Time Out Promotion
The Hunter Valley comes into its own in winter. What could be more enticing that the prospect of touring award-winning wineries by day and kicking back in cosy five-star luxury by night?
Head north up the Pacific Highway, take the Freemans Drive exit and follow the State Route 82 to Rothbury. Check into the boutique Chateau Elan at the Vintage where you’ll find four different room options, including our favourite, the spa king. Vintage Dr, Rothbury 2320 (02 4998 2500).
If you’re a golfer, you’ll love and hate the challenging Greg Norman-designed course, but if a round of stick isn’t your thing, walk next door to Bimbadgen for a late lunch at Esca Restaurant and make sure you order the 2009 Bimbadgen Estate 2009 Chardonnay. The 2009 Shiraz and 2008 Viognier are also tasting well at the moment, so grab a glass or try them after lunch at the cellar door downstairs. 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4998 4666). After lunch, book in for a treatment at Chateau Elan’s Destination Spa – the wake-up body scrub is fantastic ($109).
You’re here to explore the cellar doors, and Time Out has firm recommendations. Audrey Wilkinson Winery
boasts 360-degree views over the hillsides and groves of the valley. Debeyers Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4998 7411). Brokenwood
has some delightful Chardonnays at present, particularly from the company’s Hunter Valley and Beechworth, Victoria vineyards. 401 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4998 7559). Family-run winery Scarborough
scores ten out of ten for view and a warm reception at the cellar door. This place generates distinctive White and Yellow Label Chardonnay, which you can try – seated at a long table – with a side serving of bread and cheese. 179 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4998 7563).
The Hunter has a great range of restaurants for dinner, namely Sanctuary at Peppers Guest House (Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin 2320, 02 4993 8999) and Roberts at Tower Estate (Halls Rd, Pokolbin 2320, 02 4998 7330). Both focus on local produce and award-winning wines from around the district. Roberts is also a good option for weekend lunch.
Another good lunch or dinner spot is the acclaimed Rock Restaurant at Poole’s Rock. 576 Debeyers Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4993 3688). With a pleasant outlook, good food and some award-winning wines, it’s absolutely worth a look-in, especially for a daytime meal.
On you way back stop by the Hunter Valley Cheese Company and pick-up a slab of brie to go with what will no doubt end up being a boot full of chardonnay and shiraz. 447 McDonald’s Rd, Pokolbin 2320. (02 4998 7744).
TIME OUT TIP: All wined out? Check out the vodka, absinthe and gin at Hunter Distillery, Australia’s first 100 per cent organic distillery. 1686 Broke Rd, Pokolbin 2320.
||Time: 2.5 hours
||Stop off at: Hunter Valley Cheese Company
||Don’t miss: Brokenwood Winery
Check out more of our winter getaways.
Time Out Promotion