Tasting the Best Wines in Australia

EXPERIENCE

___________________________________

hunter valley winery

The wine begins here. Tasting the best wine in Hunter Valley

Posted by

akamau

Brief History

In the northern part of Sydney, away from the bustle and hustle of city life and famous iconic architectural structures like Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, you will find Hunter Valley Region. This region is a place where you can still see and taste the real wine in New South Wales and probably in Australia. This place is where the early vineyard history began to modern vineyard history. In 1823 about 20 acres of vineyards had been planted on the northern banks of the Hunter River, now known as Dalwood & Gresford area. With the arrival of viticulturalists James Busby who had a collection of 500 vine cuttings from his collections and private plantings contributed to the establishment of Hunter Valley’s claims to viticultural fame. By 1930s, the Pokolbin area built a reputation for quality wine production and number of qualified winemakers improved the Hunter Valley’s reputation in New South Wales. Since then, Hunter Valley has been one of Australia’s most well-known wine region. Within the Hunter region, there are over 150 wineries producing a wide array of exceptional wines reflective of their origin. It is a special place to come and enjoy the wine industry.

Vineyards: Hunter Valley

Why Go?

Going on any wine tours, whether in Australia or overseas, it is not only about tasting various wines and meeting other like-minded people but it is a great way to meet grape-stained winemakers. It is about been educated and learning about the regions rich winemaking histories and appreciating the fine art of wine. Australia has some of the best wineries, like the Barossa, Yarra Valley and Margaret River. Many of these places have sweep up all the tourists but the vineyards in Hunter Valley region have been turning heads in the wine world.  

Wine tasting tours has become a major draw card for wine lovers and tourists globally. I always had a desire to go on a wine tour but never had a chance to go on one. Whilst visiting Newcastle city – gateway to Hunter Valley region and without any hesitation, it was about time to go on a wine tasting tour in the beautiful Hunter Valley. To get the real taste of the wines, going on a tour was the best option rather than private or self-drive tours, which can be limited to wineries you can visit. This was the ultimate way to celebrate my first introduction to the wine tasting world in this picturesque setting and I didn’t have to steer the wheels during the tour.

Getting there?

Going on a wine tasting tour for the first time, my expectation was low and I decided to do a full-day wine and cheese tasting tour even though am not a wine and cheese connoisseur but I wanted to learn more about the wine, especially and simply to have a good time. A perfect sunny morning, the tour driver arrived on time and I was the first one to be picked up before 14 other people. Been new to the area, I was quiet pleased that I was the first to be onboard so I was able to have a tour whilst picking up other passengers around the area. The driver was brilliant from the first minute. He was very chatty, telling jokes with a great sense of humour, showed great enthusiasm and showed interest in the fellow wine tasting enthusiast. Along the way to our first vineyard, he was very informative about the Hunter Valley in general. With 15 people on the tour, the driver made everyone feel very welcome and comfortable and there was no awkwardness at any stage – considering we were all strangers and different ethnic backgrounds (it was only me, the rest were caucasians). The tour took us to 5 wineries and all the wine and cheese tasting was included in the tour package, apart from purchasing wine goodies. 

The luncheon included in the tour package was at Mount Pleasant wineries. The food provided was absolutely wonderful and certainly there was plenty of wine to consume. Having lunch in this idyllic setting over-looking the vineyards was a perfect location and it couldn’t been any better than this. I was totally mesmerised by the vineyards and how this fruits we know are produced or turn into wine.

First glass of wine tasting

The tour driver took us to some of the more boutique vineyards, which was very enjoyable. My favourite was Tulloch, followed by Mt Pleasant and McGuigans. In every wineries, we visited, the hosts were excellent and very knowledgable in what they were presenting to us.

By the time, we got to our last tasting of the wineries, the wines were starting to kick in and everyone on the tour were more interested in chatting with each other than actually tasting the wine. We ended the day with a tour and tasting of the cheese factory. It was a fantastic way to end our tour. 

Hunter Valley produces some of the Australia’s finest drops and my visit to their terroir was an absolute pleasure. What a thrill it was to go on a wine tour. It was absolutely entertaining, diverse and informative. Wine tour was a great way to enjoy the vineyards of the valley and as well as gaining an insights into wine making, meeting passionate makers and enjoying a glass in their own idyllic settings. 

All in all, it was a fantastic full-day wine tour in the Hunter Valley. I would certainly be very happy to do it again – without a doubt, I am now hooked on the wine tasting tours.

Getting around and where to stay?

Getting around in Hunter Valley is easy and all wineries are within reach with plenty of spaces. Most vineyards have places to eat and have very good restaurants from fine-dinning to casual style places.

There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget from camping grounds, caravan parks to old vineyard cottages to guesthouses, as well as retreats and luxury resorts right next to the championship golf courses with mesmerising views. Most old cottages that are made up are absolutely great place to stay to enjoy the authentic Hunter Valley experience.

 

Where to stay?

ABOUT ME


icgolina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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Kingscliff, New South Wales

EXPERIENCE

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kingscliff

Hidden location with a view to kill

Posted by

akamau

Life is a breeze in Kingscliff

Brief History

After the arrival of the Europeans in 1770s, the changes began to take place in the area at a dramatic pace. The richness of the area in the hinterland, mainly timber were being cut and shipped abroad in 1840s. By 1930s the area further north of Kingscliff – Coolangatta and Tweed Heads were becoming popular holiday destination for Australian and overseas tourists. Eventually, Kingscliff was developed as a quieter destination. Today, it is a popular destination for visitors who prefer laid-back and quieter alternative holidays.

Why Go?

If you’ve been to Kingscliff in New South Wales, just south of Queensland border, you will know what seaside lifestyle is like. It’s what you might imagine paradise to look like. Beautiful and deserted beaches, scrubs and forests perfectly lay along the coastline, rolling sand dunes that give way to long stretches of pristine beaches and the vast blue ocean beyond. Yes, I couldn’t avoid spending sometime on this beautiful part of Australia.

Deserted beach with a thrilling view
Stunning view

Getting there?

Kingscliff is located 820km north of Sydney and only 115km south-east of Brisbane. It is a small coastal beach side town, north of New South Wales nestled between the Tweed River (the mouth lies further north at Tweed Heads) and a run of attractive beaches which stretch from Cabarita in the south to Fingal Head in the north. It is only a short drive away from the Queensland border south of Tweed Heads. 

Getting to Kingscliff is accessible by road from Sydney but can take few days of driving, Alternatively, any visitors may want to fly into Brisbane and take a few hours of driving to GoldCoast. But the easiest option for anyone is to fly direct to Coolangatta, in GoldCoast and take a drive from there. Driving to Kingscliff from GoldCoast takes only 15-20 minutes from the Queensland border.

Kingscliff is all this and much. It is safe and relaxing atmosphere. You will find a near-perfect climate during summer periods where you could enjoy fresh air and sunshine every day. You will be likely to be happier than ever as you will have the world-class and perfect holiday destination are so close at hand. 

Where to stay?

There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, backpacker, holiday houses, apartments, B&Bs and camping nearby. Also, this place offers a range of properties throughout the area to fit most holiday styles and budgets.

Popular Attractions

It is entirely possible to get around by foot and visit many attractions in the area, unless you prefer to drive further north to Surfers Paradise. Kingscliff is a beach side town that is connected and accessible to all roads from the south, north or west, driving around made it possible for me to take time and see more of the surrounding areas during my visit. Kingscliff is home to beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle by the beach side makes it one of the hot spots for going out to enjoy variety of places wether at the cafes, restaurants or sunbath at the sandy beaches. 

There are numerous walks with well-paved pathways and boardwalks that leads to beaches, amazing views and lookouts. Every surrounding areas are amazingly so beautiful. Simply, take a dip into the cool crystal clears waters without worrying about stingers or crocodiles. Though it only takes 20-30 minutes of drive to GoldCoast’s main tourist hub, surface-Paradise, pristine, many holiday makers come to experience quiet and secluded getaways. This place thrilling everywhere.

Crystal clear waters
Well-paved pathways

Exploring the area

Getting around in Kingscliff is easy and everything you need is within walking distance. This also means that you’re able to leave your car parked at your accommodation for days without using it. With only one main street in the town, it is alive with busy cafes and restaurants. From what I have seen, experienced and spoken to tourists in the cafes, restaurants or pubs, I must say, it is a destination that is favoured by many year after year and without a doubt it is loved by locals.

For those who are taking a drive further south beyond Kingscliff, I would highly recommend to take a detour from the main road as it is tucked away off the Pacific Highway. You have to make sure that you make a right hand turn for a short visit as drive along. Kingscliff is one of the great place to start your journey if you’re travelling further south.

To fully enjoy my stay in Kingscliff and make the most of the town’s attractions, I stayed for a week which gave me enough time to enjoy the sun, sand and surf as well as getting to sample some of the beautiful attractions with a feel of laid-back factor and undoubtedly, this is where the true heart of Kingscliff shines. Staying in one of the apartments just metres away from the beach with private gardens that over-looked right out to the ocean was just a perfect getaway. I certainly, had plenty of space to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and what an ideal introduction to the area. I can see why locals love it here and many of them had never had the desire to move out of this town.

Well-paved pathways

The township of Kingscliff is within close proximately to a number of beachside towns including Hasting Point and Portsville which have endless attractions on what to see and do. They all have its own unique stunning views of beautiful beaches, lookouts, camping sites, boardwalks and parklands. Many visitors come here to enjoy the sun, sand and surf in a more laid-back relaxing atmosphere.  

For those visitors wanting to explore and enjoy more of the towns lifestyle and surrounding countryside, take time to stay a little longer and you will appreciate what this laid-back beachside town and its surrounding has to offer. Yes, stay longer and enjoy it more.

ABOUT ME


icgolina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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Newcastle: A city of stunning coastline and beaches

Newcastle


The city of Newcastle, has come a long way since its coal industry beginnings. Newcastle’s transformation began when the steel mills closed in the late 1990s and the city’s surf culture came to the fore. 

The city with a view that is breathtaking

The city of Newcastle, located 160 kilometres north-northeast of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River is about two and half hours drive north of Sydney. It is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. 

Mega cargo ships

Newcastle, being the second largest city in New South Wales has come a long way since its coal industry beginnings. Newcastle’s transformation began when the steel mills closed in the late 1990s and the city’s surf culture came to the fore. With its gentrified harbour and beautiful beaches, it is no surprise that most activities in Newcastle centre on the water. A trek along a narrow longshore drift to the landmark Nobby’s Lighthouse offers expansive views of the sea. The city is also home to the Mereweather Baths, advertised as the largest ocean-water swimming pools in the Southern Hemisphere.

City area

View of Newcastle city from one side
View of Nobby’s Lighthouse and beach from other side

With beautiful beaches and stunning coastlines, Newcastle boasts one of the most scenic coastline in the world. It lets its visitors to this city knowing that they are entering someplace special from the moment of arrival. The city’s architectural gems are nothing short of astonishing. One of the city’s landmark building is the Christ Church Cathedral located right in the heart of the city’s CBD area. 

Coastlines and buildings


Christ Church Cathedral

Yes, it is perfectly possible to spend an entire vacation in Newcastle without running out of things to see and do, but there is an abundance of sights and attractions to enjoy within a short drive from the city as well. Day trips from Newcastle offer visitors the chance to sample the best of Australia, from lush green parks and vineyards to wide stretches of sun-kissed sand.

One of my favourite places in the city of Newcastle is taking a stroll along the beachfront while enjoying some of the fine-dining places right on the edge of the water with the 360′ view of the coastline. There is one place that I cannot leave Newcastle city without setting my foot on is the Newcastle Memorial Walk which was constructed to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC. With its striking 360′ view of the city and coast, provides a spectacular connection to Newcastle’s Bathers Way. The views from this jaw-dropping cliffs, coastline and the city as you walk along this cliff top stairway is incredibly breathtaking

Newcastle Memorial Walk



From Personal Perspective: Newcastle is definitely a city with breathtaking views. As we continue to travel, we share our travel experiences with friends and families. It is something that we learn without been aware of it. Yes, travelling is all about sharing experiences.


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Experience the Garden of Eden in Hunter Valley Region

Experience Hunter Valley Garden Here

Nothing can quite prepare you for your first glimpse of the Hunter Valley’s, Hunter Valley Garden. A garden of appreciation and a reflection of relaxation

Posted by

akamau

Hunter Valley in Brief

Just north of Sydney and within less than an hours drive from the city of New Castle is the Hunter Valley Region, also commonly known as the Hunter Valley, is a region of New South Wales (Wales), Australia. The Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast, and is most commonly known for its wineries and coal industry. With its famous wineries and other attractions, the Hunter Valley Region is undoubtedly one of the fascinating destination in New South Wales and probably in Australia. This is a place ranging from beautiful gardens to wineries intwined together for visitors to enjoy. 

Hunter Valley Garden

Why Go?

With laid-back atmosphere, Hunter Region has long been a top destination for travellers craving to visit the northern part of New South Wales. Hunter Valley Gardens located in the Hunter Valley Wine country, is approximately 2 hours north of Sydney and 50 minutes from the city of Newcastle. In the Historic district of Pokolbin, Hunter Valley Garden is nestled amongst the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges in the heart of the Hunter vineyards. It is one of the major drawcard for the visitors to the Hunter Region. Tucked away from the major city centre and further away into the open space countryside makes it one of the most beautiful gardens in Australia and probably the BEST. This place has the flavours of the gardens around the world and is an absolute gem for garden lovers, a “Garden of Eden” on earth.

Lake inside the garden

Such a garden with vast array of flora, meticulously manicured accordingly spreads out over 60 acres with 10 different styles of gardens and many other features and statues. It creates a magical feeling, even before I made my way through the front entrance of the garden. I could see and feel how beautiful this garden is and it is truly a nature wonderland for both young and old. Feeling like a child again, I wondered off discovering the multitudes of vibrant colours and fragrances these gardens offer. One of the reason why Hunter Valley Gardens is such a magical place is because this place is blessed with an immensely vast array of flowers, trees and plants. I could feel the vibe that I was in a different world surrounded by never ending blooming of variety of exotic flowers and plants. When most people think of Hunter Valley, they immediately think of wineries and are perhaps unaware that Hunter Valley is also the home to this most varied beautiful garden.

Some of the flowers in the garden

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As I wondered around this amazing and beautifully designed garden, I began to notice the beauty of the creation of this garden structure, layout, design and landscapes. The topography of the area has many different features that wanna keeps me coming back the following day. Every pathway lead to something different and curiously kept me going on exploring more of the garden. With over 25 hectares of international display gardens, gave me the imaginary thought that I was walking in the gardens parks around the world without leaving the state – London, China, Japan, Italy and India to name but a few. These variety of featured gardens, which each have been carefully planned and planted to create a stunning view and experience for its visitors to enjoy. These theme gardens includes – Formal, waterfall in Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, the elegant Oriental Garden, The Lakes Walk, Italian Grotto, Indian Mosaic, and the Formal, Chinese, Border gardens and the kids favourite – Storybook Garden. 

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Some of the Garden pathways

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Some of the featured Gardens

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Some shaped Gardens

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The beauty of visiting this 60 acres of flowers, trees and shrubs in the Hunter Valley Gardens, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit the garden, there is always something new and exciting to see.

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Getting there?

Getting to Hunter Region can be accessible from all directions by air, rail and road. Light aircraft planes fly direct to Hunter region from Sydney. Also, commercial aircrafts fly direct to Williamstown from Brisbane and other major cities. Train trips from Sydney to Maitland operates on daily basis, where you can hire a car and visit the Hunter Valley Garden and the region. For those who dare to be adventurous, taking a self-drive road trip from Sydney heading north is popular among tourists. Along the way, you can visit some of the famous towns and tourist attractions. 

Where to stay?

Hunter Valley Gardens also features two styles of accommodation, which makes it a perfect destination for a weekend escape but there are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, holiday houses, units, cottages, apartments, B&Bs and camping nearby. Also, the town offers a range of properties throughout the region to fit most holiday styles and budgets.

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Popular Attractions

This area is home to many iconic wineries in Australia. Driving around in this area is possible if you have the time and want to see more of the area on your visit. To fully enjoy your stay in this area and to make the most of the region’s attractions, I’d recommend staying right in the main centre Pokolbin town which is central and short distance drive to Hunter Valley Garden, vineyards and the cheese factory. This way you don’t have to fight the traffic from locals on their daily commute and you get to sample the beautiful countryside. Undoubtedly, this is where the true heart of the area shines.

I recommend to start your holiday in Pokolbin area, which is a great place to start your holiday if you’re planning to explore more of the area .

Exploring the area

It is entirely possible to get around and visit many attractions and places in this area. There are no public transport in the area. However, my recommendation would be to hire a car or do a self-drive tour and explore the area on your own time. Driving in this area is straightforward as long as you keep your wits about you and don’t mind the locals who drive much faster than wary tourists. When visiting new areas, be aware of no-drive zones and one-way streets. Sometimes, you will save yourself a few headaches when it comes to parking or driving around places to locate the area, it is best to go on a tour and get away with less stress.

This is one of the most beautiful gardens I ever come across and I love spending a lot of my time here. I keep going back, it excites me every time. I have found this place to be so peaceful, relaxing and very enticing. This beautiful garden creates a fascinating atmosphere, an ideal place to be close to nature. When all the plants are in their glory, it creates a “Garden of Eden” on earth, displaying their array of spectacular colours, shapes, brightness, smell and attractiveness. 

For any travellers thinking of visiting the area, it is wise to look up few websites to check places for accommodations and car rentals which are two major things that you need to plan ahead. From Sydney, it is approximately 2 hours drive and for those who want to travel in style, direct flights on light aircrafts are available. Hunter Valley wine tours from Sydney run daily and visit to the Hunter Valley Gardens is included in the itinerary. It is wise to look up the website below for more information.

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ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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