A Weekend in Hunter Valley

The hen’s weekend started after my night out in Sydney. I woke up quite dusty, but I had to pull myself together, so Brenna and I had a small breakfast at the hotel, packed up our stuff and parted ways. She’s such a good egg.

I jumped in an Uber to the hire car company and begun my big journey. I picked up my comfy Corolla, punched my destination into the GPS, pumped up the tunes and hit the road. I stopped at a petrol station on the way and stocked up with water and berocca. Driving in NSW is so much better than driving in WA. In WA the roads are straight, flat and there isn’t much to see. In NSW there are hills, twists and turns, and I just want to stop everywhere to take a photo. I can’t believe I never used to notice this when I lived here!!

My trip from Perth to the Hunter Valley was for my friend’s hens weekend, and it was a surprise. My friend Mel had no idea that I was coming, and it was such a mission to keep it a secret. I drove straight to our accommodation and came upon the cleaners… I was too early! I had to ring a million people to try and find where the bride and bridesmaid was having lunch. I finally snuck up on her at Potters Brewery, and the reaction I got was “what the fuck are you doing here, it’s too expensive!” It was priceless, worth every penny!

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Mel & I at Potters Brewery

After the big surprise we sat down and caught up for a little bit. The only problem was I was shaking from all the alcohol the previous night and not enough to eat. I needed food. We left and I headed to a local grocery store to buy some juice and an egg sandwich, then we headed to our house, Gumtree Wai. It was a beautiful house with sheep, and chickens, and a heated pool (which wasn’t heated), and a fireplace (the best part). It felt like a lovely country home. Once all the Friday night girls had arrived (some of us stayed one night, some stayed two) we cracked open a wine and begun our night!

For dinner, a coaster bus picked us up and took us to the Great Northern Trading Post. I had the steak and veggies, and it was delicious! For a tourist town, the locals weren’t very welcoming, but the bar staff were nice. We had a few drinks and a couple of shots of locally made schnapps. I had my first go at chilli schnapps. It was so good! It tasted like a fiery, sweet treat. We stayed out a few hours, talking the night away. It was a really fun night!

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The next day we got ready for our half day wine tour with All Around the Vines. We were picked up in the company coaster bus then started with lunch at Harrigan’s Pub. It is a beautiful pub with a dark and moody feels. I had a really delicious steak sandwich and an overpriced beer.

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Once we finished lunch, we packed up back into the bus for our first winery; Leogate.

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

We were sat down in the wedding room at a big table and tasted a variety of wines. They were all pretty good. The guy who was serving us loved talking about the wine, but also the owner of the winery… and the owners dog… and the owners dogs wardrobe. It was a little strange. And sometimes a little uncomfortable. I didn’t really feel like buying a bottle of wine after all that.

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

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Leogate Estate, Hunter Valley

Our next stop was Constable Estate. I liked this one, it was kinda homely… they had a cow as a mascot and a golden retriever just hanging out (which I of course petted and hugged and generally just made sure he knew he was a good boy). I bought a red from this winery to drink when we got back to Gumtree Wai.

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Constable Estate, Hunter Valley

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Constable Estate, Hunter Valley

I was feeling pretty toasty after Constable Estate, so it was lucky that The Smelly Cheese Shop was up next. We tasted a few of their cheeses. Good lord were they scrumptious. I bought a goat cheese in dukkah oil to bring home to Matt. We love our cheese platters. I also got him a chilli salsa.

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Smelly Cheese Shop, Hunter Valley

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Smelly Cheese Shop, Hunter Valley

We also sampled some chocolates from Hunter Valley Chocolate Factory. I didn’t buy any though. Chocolate isn’t really my thing, and Matt had already warned me that I shouldn’t buy him any, haha.

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Hunter Valley Chocolate Factory

Our last winery for the day was Waverley Estate. It was set in such a nice location and their cellar door had a lovely rustic feel with exposed bricks and a fireplace. The wines were delicious and I bought a Shiraz to take home to Matt. The lady who walked us through the wines was so knowledgeable and kind. I wish we had of come to this winery first. I was a little too far into my cups to pay attention.

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Waverley Estate, Hunter Valley

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Waverley Estate, Hunter Valley

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Waverley Estate, Hunter Valley

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Waverley Estate, Hunter Valley

On the way back, the driver stopped at The Convent – a small hotel that apparently featured on Farmer Wants a Wife. I never watched that show, so I have no idea, but some of the girls were pretty excited, and it was a beautiful property! The driver obviously gets a few requests to go here. He was so nice.

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The Convent, Hunter Valley

Once we finally got back to Gumtree Wai we begun setting up for dinner. And by we I mean our host (a bridesmaid) and some lovely helpers. I set up my camera to take some photobooth style photos. In the spirit of the Hunter Valley we had cheese and wine for dinner, and it was glorious. I ate cheese until it was coming out of my ears. We hardly even made a dint in the cheese supply. I wish I could’ve taken some home!

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It was such a fun weekend, and I’m glad I attended – not just for the cheese and wine (they were bonus), but to celebrate with my friend. I cruised back to Sydney to have lunch with the bride to be and our close friend, and then catch the plane back to Perth. Luckily the next day was a public holiday in Western Australia, because I was wrecked!

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