The sun is beating down on us as we head west into the Hunter Valley. 20 minutes west of Newcastle and we have entered the outskirts of the valley. Nothing now but fields and vines and some small towns that dot the map. Just over an hour later and we arrive at the Hunter Valley YHA. This place defines the middle of nowhere. The ranch style hostel sits in the middle of the empty field, you can see for miles in all directions. At least it has a pool for a refreshing dip in the evening.
Steph and her boyfriend, Josh, meet us at the hostel and then take us on a personal tour of the valley. First stop, McGuigan’s, one of Australia’s biggest wineries. We take this opportunity to really learn the differences between the styles and flavours of wines. As it turns out I am not a fan of port or desert wines after trying more than a few varieties. After several samples here, it’s off to the cheese shop next door. This helps to offset all the wine! Next stop Brokenwood winery, followed by the Olive store – not just olives here, lots of great dips and spreads to sample. Several more stops later and Andrew and I are definitely feeling the effects of the wine.
All the small samples really add up! Make sure you have a designated driver, or take an organized tour. Our last stop of the afternoon is Drayton’s winery. We get in just before closing time, and manage to score a few free bottles of wine that they were using for samples during the day. Can’t complain about free wine! Back at the hostel we hang out by pool in the late afternoon sun and have a lazy evening, not that there is anything else to do here anyways! Just us and the crickets out here tonight.