Tales of a Hunter Valley virgin
Looking for a weekend away that’s not too far from Sydney? lastminute lovely Shauna shares the details of her very first visit to NSW wine hotspot, the Hunter Valley.
We arrive at our lush accommodation, Grand Mercure Apartments Cypress Lakes Resort on Friday afternoon and are immediately blown away by the sheer size of the place. It’s huge! There are over two hundred boutique villas, scattered amongst the green expanse of golf course.
I personally think that we have the best villa as it’s only a short stroll down the hill to the highly reputed Bodega Restaurant & Bar.
I briefly explore the stylish villa and stumble upon some Peter Morrissey toiletries to enjoy during our stay. Things are looking good.
After we get the fire started and get all toasty, Mr. LML and I head to Bodega for a much needed meal. As we head down into the restaurant, we’re immediately seated and brought a bottle of the resort’s own Brokenwood Pinot Noir. If this is a preview of the quality of wine to come, I’m excited!
Now, a quick read through the menu and we decide on the Chef d’Hote menu, and we are not let down. These pictures will certainly make your mouth water!
When I wake on Saturday morning, I realise Mr. LML has disappeared. It’s only after I get ready to head to breakfast that he wanders through the door to inform me that he’s been out exploring the property and making friends with the local wildlife.
There is an abundance of kangaroos sprawled out on the green and basking in the early morning sun.
Breakfast is a full cooked and continental spread (bonus points for the crumpets). We sit near the window, which overlooks the pool and golf course and indulge in a little bit of everything (we have to make the most of the buffet!) and set about planning the day ahead.
Mr. LML tells me that you can’t go to the Hunter without riding a bike. Challenging, considering my current broken arm situation, but I’m willing to give it a go!
So we hired a bike. One bike. That’s right; we hired a tandem bike from Grapemobile to ride around from vineyard to vineyard on. And off we go!
First stop Waverly Estate, a vineyard whose wines are entirely specific to the Hunter. They are located in a quaint little country-style house with a huge fireplace and fantastic views. These guys tick all the boxes for us and we make a note to return tomorrow, since our basket isn’t strong enough to support many purchases.
We complete a lap of three more vineyards before returning our bike – it is very windy and Mr. LML and I have tired legs. And besides, it’s just about time for lunch. Hooray!
Muse Kitchen, an incredible restaurant located in the Keith Tulloch winery has been recommended by a few different people so we make our way there and are very lucky because we quickly snap up the last table.
This place is a winner!
After our delicious lunch, we pop into Scarborough Wine Co., one of the most famous vineyards in the region, to see what all the fuss is about.
We are not disappointed, and after tasting one of everything (what did you expect?), Mr. LML and I walk away with a bundle of wine, and a delicious taste in our mouths.
My afternoon spa appointment is nigh so we head back, and after dropping Mr. LML back to our villa, I check in to the Golden Door Spa at Elysia, just up the hill.
Due to my broken arm and inability to be covered in massage oil, I sign up for a facial and sink into the deepest kind of relaxation.
The day spa is incredible – there’s a pool-size spa, a sauna, and relaxing beds to kick back on while you wait or for after your treatment. There are a few Zen ladies roaming around without a care in the world.
By now the afternoon has escaped us and before we know it we’re having our last meal, which is fantastic by the way. We dine at Amanda’s on the Edge, another recommendation just down the road from us, and enjoy one last glass of wine.
When Mr. LML and I wake in the morning, we’re greeted by the sun and the sound of morning birds, which is a welcome change to cars beeping and alarms sounding. We wander down to breakfast. And when I say ‘we wander’, we really do because we have a late check-out of 11am. How indulgent!
A luxurious property, Grand Mecure Apartments Cypress Lakes Resort has definitely left a long-lasting impression and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
My first time to the Hunter Valley, but I can tell you now, it won’t be the last!