Canberra sojourn #8 – Hunter Valley Wedding Anniversary

Given average human life expectancies these days, 23years is likely around a quarter of my life and I’ve been #blessed to have spent those years with Jules as my wife.  We’ve certainly had more ups than downs during this time and I can say without doubt, that Jules is lucky to have such a great husband as me ?.

Making the most of our time on the East Coast, we decided to enjoy our anniversary weekend exploring the Hunter Valley.  Being a major wine region probably had some bearing on our decision to visit this part of the world.  Staying at the lovely and boutique Carriages Guesthouse just outside of Pokolbin, we had the loft room with our own open fireplace and nice views over the gardens.  During trip planning, we’d already managed to book into the one Chef Hatted Circa 1876 restaurant for our Friday night meal, and we then got extremely lucky getting into the two Chef Hatted Muse restaurant for our anniversary meal on Saturday.  Both meals were fantastic, with paired wines for each course, but if I were asked to make a recommendation, I go with Muse.  The venue, their service, attention to detail and brilliant pairing of food and wine was a great experience.  We even got a lift back to our accommodation by their sommelier, who gave us his personal winery recommendations to explore during our trip.

Our hotel, The Carriages, we had the loft room at left
Loft living at its best, king size bed with open fireplace
Although it was pretty warm we had to light the fire
Lunch at Lovedale Smokehouse and winery
An even better lunch at Usher Tinkler winery whilst we tasted their list
Circa 1876 restaurant at PepperTree Winery, a 400m walk through the vines to our accommodation at The Carriages Boutique Hotel

Food and wine were definitely the vibe of this trip and we enjoyed  them both everywhere we stopped.  Even the fish’n’chips were great.  On a day trip out to Newcastle and then down the coast, we saw a sign to, and then HAD to visit Budgewoi for lunch, where we had said fantastic fish’n’chips on the river.  We also did a beautiful half day loop out to the historic township of Wollombi, taking morning tea and cake at the old café whilst watching the very cheeky blue-faced honeyeaters beg for, and steal food.

Yep, don’t ask.. At Gundog Estate Winery
Yep, don’t ask.. At Gundog Estate Winery
Who couldn’t resist a town with a charming name like this. Also best fish’n’chips ever just ahead and to the left!
Cheeky blue faced honeyeater

The only unfortunate circumstance of the trip was the beautiful and warm weather, reaching 25 on the Sunday, meant we struggled to use the fireplace, resorting one night to lighting it for the ambience, but then opening every door and window to try and cool the room down..  But as per the famous jazz song, what a difference a day makes, we left the Hunter at a pleasantly warm 22C in the morning, but as we took the more scenic route home via the Blue Mountains, we then encountered 1C and snow at Oberon only a few hours later!

Panorama looking back towards Blue Mountains with snow clouds in distance

Truly a fabulous trip, with lots of great food and wine, plenty of sun and relaxation and lots of great memories, and a few more cases of wine, to reminisce about in future.

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