The Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia was a fun detour out of Sydney. If you missed my Guide to Sydney, make sure to check it out. To get to Hunter Valley we rented a car, which for us Americans was an adventure in itself with driving on the opposite side of the road and the driver sitting on the right side of the car. Scott and I did end up on the wrong side of the road more than once, but we made it safe and sound to Lovedale, which is situated in the Hunter Valley – a region renowned for it’s wine. So we knew we had to visit when we booked our flight to Sydney!
While planning our trip, we were researching what to do in Hunter Valley and Scott randomly found Polo in the Vines. The event is part of the Urban Polo series, and was set at The Dark Horse Vineyard. We had never been to a polo match, so we figured we might as well buy tickets! We had such a fun time mingling with the Aussies, learning about polo, soaking up the autumn sun and stomping divots.
For the event, I wore this stunning floral dress by one of my favorite new brands Amur. They make seriously beautiful dresses like this ruffle trimmed floral and this blush lace dress with cold shoulder detail. I want so many of them! The tea length dress with a mermaid silhouette is ladylike, polished, and oh so chic. Plus feminine floral prints are always in fashion. I’ve been wearing my fair share of them as seen here, here and here. I’ve also found some great styles like this moody floral dress with a cutout, this classic black and white embroidered dress with bow detail straps, and this timeless jacquard dress.
Since the polo match was set in a vineyard, I opted for neutral flats (similar here) that look a lot like the Alexander Wang slides (on sale here if you feel like splurging!). The slide is a popular shoe style again this season, and the stud detail adds a fun element. These flats go with anything and everything and I’ve already put mine to good use this Spring.
We stayed at the lovely Leaves & Fishes. It’s an uber-boutique hotel in Lovedale in the Hunter Valley with just four “boathouses” that overlook a lily pad filled pond with fish. We had a private patio to enjoy the serenity, the sound of nature and the great weather. The boathouse was decorated beautifully with intricately carved wooden furniture that reminded me of pieces from Bali. And the bathroom was probably the coolest part. It had a glass wall to the outdoors with a lush, plant-filled view. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever stayed before and we didn’t want to leave! (I also want the owner, to decorate my house! Just throwing that out there since we’re in the middle of remodeling our first floor. Follow along on my Insta stories for design and progress updates.)
As if it could get any better, Leaves & Fishes also has an incredible restaurant with dare I say the best chicken wings I’ve ever tasted! The restaurant focuses on seafood with an Asian kick and is equally as beautiful as the accommodations.
On our second day in Hunter Valley we rented bicycles and biked to a series of vineyards which was a great way to get some exercise in between our wine tastings! I recommend Grapemobile Bicycle Hire in Pokolbin which is located in a vineyard and offers mountain bikes, beach cruisers and free delivery of any wines you purchase along their “wine trail” back to their shop! As part of our tastings, we visited Gemelli Estate, Moorebank Vineyard and Calais Estate. Scott and I played games al fresco at Gemelli, got to know the owner at Moorebank and tasted what seemed like the entirety of the cellar at Calais. We had so much fun.
While in the Hunter Valley I was obsessed with spotting kangaroos! So each morning we would wake up and drive around hoping to find a few of the cute marsupials so I could snap some pics. One foggy morning we spotted a few kangaroos snacking on grapes off of Tatler Wines vines. We also found a larger pack of kangaroos in an open space with the Hunter Valley Gardens ferris wheel in the background. We even saw a few kangaroos boxing each other and a baby in her mama’s pouch! The ‘roos were very interested in us, which made for great pictures.
Other fun things to do in Hunter Valley:
- Brunch at Peterson House for some of their famous sparkling wines. The shady patio is a great place to sip some bubbly and have a delicious breakfast. And their tasting room literally has a bubble machine and the motto, “Life is flat without bubbles.” As you can imagine, I loved it there.
- Sip some of the oldest and most renowned wines of the region at Audrey Wilkinson‘s cellar door. It’s definitely a must-see/must-sip in the Hunter Valley!
- While you’re in the area, head down the hill to Cockfighter’s Ghost Cellar Door and taste some shiraz.
- Dine at the elegant Hunters Quarters next door to Cockfighter’s Ghost with a stunning view overlooking the vineyards.
- Enjoy boutique hand-crafted wines at Gartelmann Wine on Lovedale Road.
- Make the drive to Cave’s Beach. It is amazing. My husband clearly loved it!