Wine, Farmhouse and Kangaroos
After a few days in Sydney we decided it was time to get out of the city and explore a bit, so when a low cost car relocation rental to Brisbane became available we couldn’t pass it up. As wine lovers, we knew one of the places we would have to stop off for a night was Hunter Valley, about 3.5 hours northeast from Sydney.
Cellar Door = Tasting Room
Before heading to our accommodations for the night, Pete and I visited Petersons Winery (Mount View location) cellar door per a recommendation from fellow travelers and bloggers Danielle and John (www.twofortheworld.com). It’s a great family winery which is known most for their sparkling wines and Shiraz.
Set amongst rolling mountains with a beautiful view of grape vines along the hillsides, Petersons Winery was a real treat. Not only was our server/host, Dee, a great mix of extensive wine knowledge, spunkiness and humor, but she also made our day when she opened a special bottle for us to taste. One of their top Shiraz vintages in over fourteen years, and a $150 AUD ($111 USD) bottle! It was excellent! As Dee put it, this is not a “cheap and cheery” wine. This was a new wine phrase we had never heard before, but will certainly be holding on to for future use.
Life Reset Chat
Another interesting thing about hanging out with Dee for a bit was finding out how she ended up in Hunter Valley being a wine server. She had her own version of a “life reset” herself. As a busy company owner in Sydney, her stress level began to rise higher and higher. She eventually had enough, sold the business, and moved to the Hunter Valley. For years she had been drinking and enjoying wine, and becoming more and more knowledgeable about wines, so she decided for fun she would work for Petersons at their cellar door. Apparently she likes it, because she has now been doing it for ten plus years, and still loves it.
Petersons wines are not exported, so it was really exciting for us to try a wine that, unless we came to Australia’s Hunter Valley, we would never get the chance to taste. Pretty cool! And quite good wine, I must say.
Off to the Farm
Since in one stop we were probably already tipping towards the Australia blood alcohol limit for driving of 0.05%, we decided to only go to this one winery before heading to our housing for the night. After three days in a six bed mixed dorm room in a Sydney hostel, it was time for a private room. We found a great farmhouse on AirBnB right in the middle of Hunter Vally with a private room and shared bathroom. The sweet thing is, when we arrived the host gave us the good news that we were her only guest for the night, so we would have the entire farmhouse all to ourselves. Another wonderful surprise!
The farmhouse was rustic but extremely quaint and homey. It had three bedrooms, a living room with a beautiful wood burning fireplace, big kitchen and a nice bathroom. Surrounding it were acres upon acres of open fields with mountains in the distance, a small pond, several horses and tons of free roaming chickens, including one of the most impressive looking roosters we have every seen.
Stinky Cheese Shop
For dinner we went to the Stinky Cheese shop right down the road and found an end-of-the-day deal on some amazing baguette sandwiches (turkey, cranberry sauce and brie, and the other with smoked salmon and a soft herb cheese) for only $5.50 AUD ($4.06 USD). Since we got such a good deal on the sandwiches, we couldn’t resist getting a huge chocolate brownie for dessert. This day just kept getting better and better.
Once we got back to the farmhouse we could literally see our breath it was so cold inside. Time for a fire! We had a great night relaxing in front of a warm open fire, drinking Pinot Gris from Petersons Winery and eating delicious sandwiches and a brownie. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
After a snore free night (thank God!) and a great night sleep, we awoke to the much more pleasant sound of roosters crowing. The air was very chilly and a dense fog was rolling through the fields, and hidden in the fog there were at least 25-30 kangaroos. Amazing!
We made a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs (which were probably laid right outside), and took a nice walk out in the fields, sneaking up to the kangaroos as close as possible, and said hello to the horses. It was a perfect morning and a great start to our onward travels up the coast to Port Macquarie.
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