Ever since I have heard of a place where I could hop from one vineyard to another, tasting different wines and cheeses, I already included it in my list of Must-See Places of All Time.
So the only place I asked my sister to take me to when we were planning my next vacation in Australia was Hunter Valley, a short drive from Sydney. I knew it was going to be one of the highlights of my trip, having visited Sydney twice before and seen some of the sights.
My sister rented a van so her entire family, plus our parents and me, could fit in one vehicle. I was so excited to take pictures of the beautiful scenery.
The best shiraz of all was at Brokenwood, but it cost AUD40 and I thought it too expensive. Of course I’m regretting it now that I didn’t buy it. The Semillon at Tempus Two was also out of this world. That one, I bought, to save for a special occasion, to drink with special friends.
I loved Bimbadgen Estate for the kangaroos frolicking near the grapevines. Tempus Two’s tasting room looked like a hotel lobby. The shops around the wineries were also very interesting. Imagine shopping, drinking, sightseeing, traveling, and eating all in one place. I was, come to think of it, deliriously happy.
If only I did not have a 23-kilo limit in my baggage, I would have bought bottles of olive oil and loads of hard cheeses. My sister also reminded me that the good stuff might be available at the grocery store and would definitely be cheaper. So I restrained myself. We bought just enough to enjoy for the holidays.
It was a very relaxing trip. I did not drive and that allowed me to drink and rest. We wanted to go to an Irish pub, Harrigan’s, for dinner but forgot to book beforehand so we did not have seats. I just took photos. Anyway, beer was available in Pokolbin Village where we stayed overnight, and the meal there was spectacular as well. I also had a James Boag light beer which was really, really good.
While we were traveling, rain was relentless but when we got to The Hunter itself, rain stopped long enough to let us enjoy. Then we returned to the villa to let the baby rest and to unpack, by which time it started pouring again. Come evening time, when we wanted to have tea, the rain stopped again. I knew I was not experiencing Irish luck but plain old blessing.
The next day, we visited the Hunter Valley Garden, which is Australia’s largest display garden. The light show was canceled the night before due to the rains and winds. It would have been awesome as their Christmas display was on. The sun shone throughout our garden visit again, and my niece was able to enjoy the view, especially Storybook Garden. It was tiring, for we walked for almost two hours, but worth it. We put on sunblock in the morning but could not be bothered to slather some on our faces and bodies again. The flowers and the gardens kept us busy.
I am so grateful to my sister and my brother-in-law for taking me that wonderful trip, and to my parents and my niece for sharing the experience with me.
I would like to visit more vineyards, preferably in France and Italy. Someday.