Day 3 was a bit of a non-event, I picked up a temporary car off a friend whilst the van gets it's engine swapped and I ran around too and fro doing odds and ends related to the road trip. The plan is now to go as far as Tamworth and then come back to Newcastle on Monday when hopefully the van will be road-ready for the rest of the trip.
So sometime Friday afternoon I headed for my next destination, Hunter Valley. Now I'd never been on a wine tour, nor really seen any wine regions in detail before - so I was looking forward to exploring. I arrived around sunset and was straight away taken aback by the beauty of the valley. The rolling hills and endless rows of vines made for a very peaceful atmosphere.
I checked in to the local YHA and booked a wine tour for the following day. For the first time in a long time I did nothing that friday night, a nice change from the hectic Sydney lifestyle.
Saturday, wine tour time! I hopped on the tour mini-bus and was greeted by a lovely couple from Neutral Bay and (I kid you not) 9 young women from Sydney out on a girl's weekend. (happy days!).
By 10.30am we well and truly into our first wine tasting. Sampling everything Semillon (a very popular Hunter Valley style) to Shiraz. Personally, I like a heavy red with a bit of complexity to it, Shiraz and Cab Sav being my favourites. That said, I got to try out a lot of other styles of whites and reds throughout the day some of which were really fantastic.
Probably one of the groups favourite stops along the tour was at the Hunter Distillery, a distillery only 2 years old but already one of the most popular stop-offs in the valley. Here, they don't make wine but rather Vodka and a few other spirits. So at midday, we did a Vodka tasting (crikey!). Their vodkas were really fantastic, with no after burn but really clean tastes. Flavours ranged from chilli to chocolate, well worth the visit.
From there we checked out a couple more wineries and had lunch at the Hunter Valley Display Gardens. Lunch was timed well, everyone was kind of tipsy by then! After lunch we explored the valley a little more and then finished the tour at the Blue Tongue Brewery where I got a tasting paddle to try out a few of their beers.
Sadly, the day was over and it was time to head back to our accommodation. It was an awesome day and I get what all the fuss about the Hunter Valley is now, it's a truly fantastic getaway spot for a romantic weekend or group holiday.