Located in the heart of the Hunter vineyards at the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges are the spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens. Spanning over 25 hectares, be amazed by the sensational sights, colours and fragrances of the twelve stunning feature gardens. Explore each garden one by one and enjoy an exciting journey through flowers, trees and shrubs with an air of discovery at every turn.
Bask in a lavish array of colour and scent found in the Rose Garden, with more than eight thousand roses on display, laze above the 10 metre waterfall and take in the superb views from the lookout or step back in time with all your favourite fairytale characters in the Storybook Garden.
Designed with sight, colour and fragrance very much in mind, Hunter Valley Gardens was created by Bill Roche who along with his wife Imelda and family, form the Australian-owned company Roche Group.
The entire Hunter Valley Gardens property spans over 100 hectares with the central heart and soul being the Gardens themselves – Bill Roche’s vision.
Originally the site was used for grazing cattle and home of the old-vine Tallawanta vineyard which still exists today. The redevelopment of the site took place between 1998 and 2003 during which time over 800,000 cubic metres of soil had to be moved and 100,000 cubic metres of topsoil added to create the wonderful “hidden” gardens that you see today. The twelve themed gardens developed within the 25-hectare site allow visitors to enjoy “a trip around the world” just by visiting the gardens. Over 8km of pathways meander throughout the grounds and more than 100 kilometers of irrigation piping has been installed underground. Over the 5 years of development over 6,000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and 1,000,000 ground covers have been planted with many more on the way
This is Constable Hershon Vineyard, my favourite winery. It has beautiful gardens and yummy wines. We arived at 10am in the morning...just the right time for first tasting...Mmmm. Although we had to see the gardens first.
At times it seems like every second winery has a gallery. Never mind, the more the merrier I say. There's everything from pottery to paintings to pictures to sculpture. Certainly far too many to list here. In my experience, one thing they do have in common is quality.
Another thing you will notice in some works is vibrant colour, which is why I have included this photo. Many Australian artists, in a reflection of the blazing sun and subsequent brightness, tend to use dazzling colours in their works. This is in contrast to some of the more sombre tones of your European classical works that most are familiar with. I commend you to go and have a look at some of the Australian offerings. I, for one, am a fan.
Butterflies is one of the better galleries and you'll see some of Rachel Lewis' work here. Her bird paintings (pics 2-4) are stunning and I have long been a fan.
The best place to start is the Tourist Information Centre at the Cessnock Airport. They have some excellent maps and information freely available for you to plan your itinerary, one of which includes a guide to the galleries.
This is a delightful location with much to look at. Should you want to get married then you can do just that in the chapel in the opening pic.
For dining afterwards there's the function room or Enzo's, one of the better known restaurants in the area. There's also an antiques shop, David Hook Wines, Haynes Bookdealers and home improvement shops.
Put this on your list of stops if you only have one day in Pokolbin.
Indulgent hand made Belgian chocolate, chocolate coated fruit, nuts, and coffee beans, cream centres, infused flavoured bars, chocolate licorice, liqueur filled and plain chocolate bars and buttons AND you can have free samples.
There are lots of wineries in the Hunter Wine Region and impossible to see them all. I think we did five or six one day and then felt we had enough for that day. You will find them all cluttered next to each other all over the valley. We were only able to see a few wineries in Pokolbin, but there are more wineries in Lovedale and other areas.
We enjoyed visiting:
Margan winery (family owned)
Macquariedale winery (family owned/small/organic)
Piggs Peake (small producers)
Bimbadgen Estate (wonderful restaurant, if you want a splurge, Esca)
Also there are many wine collectives throughout the valley, that sell wine from family or small producers.
We went on this trip with our 7 month old son and everyone was very friendly toward him. Many wineries are child friendly and have playgrounds.
The tourist board has a great website with lots of helpful information. www.winecountry.com.au Also they have great and free guides of the hunter Valley with excellent maps.
Hunter Valley's speciality in its wine tasting activity and wine tour, no matter if you are a fan or not, you will love the area and the environment. of course, it will be a kinda waste that you do not have any wine tasting at all, but staff in there still giving the best service and their knowledge about the winery.
there are lots of cellar in Hunter Valley, and i joined the Tyrrell's Winery tour. that gives us lots of information about the background of Tyrrell wineyard and some knowledge of wine making process.
Ballooning is very popular in the Hunter. It's lovely viewing the vinyards from the air. I recommend it if you want to to something a little different and romantic. They supplied a certificate and champyne brunch when we finished our flight.
I didn't like Lindemans much. It produces some of the most well known wines in Australia. Most Aussies will recognise Lindamans Ben Ean - ultra cheap sweet lolly water :o) But then, each one to his own.
McWilliams wines. We had a nice lunch here on the large verandah. McWilliams is a well known winery. I found that the popular ones arn't usually the best, however they have some popular cheepies :o)
We came back to Oakvale for a picnic after buying some cheese and crackers at the cheese factory up the road. Nice with a glass of white. Here's Jesse giving the crackers the taste test.
My husband explained that Mistletoe is a parasite plant that attaches itself on trees and eventually kills them. So I was fascinated as to why this winery would call themselves Mistletoe vinyard. When I asked them they said that the whole hill used to be called Mistletoe hill due to the mistletoe in the area. Here is a picture of some mistletoe. See the red stuff hanging down off the tree?
Interesting hey :o)
Mistletoe Wines. I liked this place because they were unique in that they produced a nice rose wine from shiraz grapes. Also they reckon people come up and buy cases of the stuff near Christmas because it's a nice light easy drink and a great idea for gifts.
Pepper Tree wines, my hubby's favourite. It was here that I tasted the passionfruit in the aftertaste in the white wine. I also scored a free pretty blue empty bottle with a long neck I took a liking to.
This is Oakvale. We liked this place because it had nice picnic areas and playground for the kids. We bought a yummy Merlot and had to come back for another one as we drank it at dinner the first night.