Road trip in Australia: day 6, Newcastle and Hunter Valley

On the sixth day of our road trip between Brisbane and Sydney we visited Hunter Valley, a wine region very close to Newcastle in New South Wales.

You’re wondering why we stayed in Newcastle for two days? Well here you have the answer: as you know, we met at a wine tasting in San Francisco, and one of our little traveling traditions is to taste the wine in every country we visit. So we could not miss Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. There are more than 150 wineries and producers of grand crus (nothing more and nothing less!).

So we set off from Newcastle towards the valley (a 50-minute ride on nice roads). First we stopped at the information point to know where we had to go. There they explained that the first vines were planted in 1820, and that a great variety of grapes are cultivated in the region, from syrah to chardonnay passing through sauvignon. But we will not give you too many details, there is a lot of information on the web!

Once we had the map, we set out to visit a few wineries. We started with Pepper Tree Wines, where we tasted a white wine and a pink wine. It is surely the winery that we liked the most! The place is beautiful, romantic, the winemaker’s explanations were excellent, very friendly, and all free (like every winery we visited). We recommend it to you without a doubt.

We continued with Tyrrell’s Wines, where you can visit the old winery but without a guide. It is interesting, but if you want a guided tour you will have to arrive at 10:30 am. We then tasted only one type of wine, and the winery staff did not pay any attention to us. Also the wine was not to our liking (it was a rather bitter red).

We continued our visits with Hunter Valley Gardens, where we also stopped for a picnic. As usual in Australia, there is everything you need to eat out. The Gardens is a place where there are several shops and boutiques (decor, chocolate …) and restaurants. The place is nice but quite touristy.

We then visited McGuigan Wines to try a red wine much better than the previous one, but it did not quite live up to our expectations!

And we ended the tours of the wineries with Peterson House to taste their famous sparkling wine. Yes, a little weird, but it is a specialty of the region so we had to try it. It was a bit surprising, like a cava, nice but nothing extraordinary.

In the end we had a very good day in Hunter Valley, where we did nothing but taste wines. We were a little “cheerful” but nothing more, and anyway Alberto had to drive back to Newcastle!

On the way back we stopped at the market because we had told Mathew and Andrew (our Couchsurfing hosts) that we were going to make them a Spanish tortilla for dinner! We had an hour and a half cooking, but it was worth it because we had a wonderful dinner and the two brothers were delighted!

As always, the Australians left us a very good memory, with their kindness and simplicity! We were surprised by the naturalness with which we could share with them a fun night 🙂