The Hunter Valley is a beautiful area inland from Newcastle on the central coast of New South Wales. The area is one of Australia’s premier wine growing regions, and since we just happened to be travelling through the Hunter Valley on our Great Australian Road Trip, we kind of had to stop to do some wine tasting. I mean we couldn’t really just pass through such a famous wine growing region without sampling a few, could we? It just wouldn’t be proper.
We had camped for the night at Lake Liddel just south of Muswellbrook, so it was only a short drive to the main wine growing area around Cessnock. The big sign saying “Wineries” on the New England highway made it pretty easy to find, and sure enough, every road that we went down in the area was lined with vineyards. Too excited by the prospect of wine tasting, we basically pulled into the first winery that we found was open.
The winery, Ironbark Hill, proved to be a fantastic choice. We sampled several nice reds including some peppery Shiraz, but it was their award winning Merlot that really touched our taste buds, and we of course walked away with a bottle for later.
We stopped in at several different wineries and sampled all kinds of wines, but made sure to keep our purchases down to only a few bottles. James Estate turned out to be another good choice, leaving with a bottle of citrusy Semillon and a Cabernet Sauvignon. We left Oakvale with a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir.
Really, we could have gone all day or even a whole week with all of the wineries around, so we had to skip most of them, but still enjoyed the drive through this wonderful wine region.
After stopping for lunch at a picnic spot overlooking the large and popular Lindeman’s Winery, we drove through Cessnock to continue on to find our next camping spot, where I was looking forward to opening one of our new bottles of wine. The rest of the day turned into a much longer adventure than expected, and that bottle of wine had to wait, but that is a story for another day.