Murray and I are very proud and parochial in regard to the Wollombi Valley. And there is a lot to be proud of: unspoilt natural countryside; rugged national parks; quaint villages; boutique wine production; gourmet restaurants and cafes; a very active arts cultural scene; and remarkable and significant ancient Aboriginal sites.
More broadly, however, the Wollombi Valley rests within the beautiful Hunter Valley, which is also a vast region of much history, culture, and parochial pride, especially for its recognition as a world-class wine and food destination.
The Hunter Valley region is actually made up of a number of smaller subregions. Each has its own unique identity and personality. But although each of these subregions is distinct, it is only a 40-minute drive from one end of the Hunter Valley to the other so the area can easily be explored in a leisurely way.
Some of the Hunter Valley’s subregions are:
Pokolbin is the oldest continuous wine region in Australia, with a history dating back to the early 1800s when the first grapes were planted. And so heritage wines from some of the oldest vines in Australia are available for tasting. Pokolbin also offers many activities and culture. There are several top golf courses, balloon flights, several of the vineyards are also concert venues, and there are many spas and yoga retreats.
Lovedale is a relaxed neighbourhood east of Pokolbin. Lovedale is known for rolling hills of vines dotted with wandering kangaroos and wallabies. The Lovedale Long Lunch, a weekend celebration of wine and food held each May has made Lovedale internationally renowned. The Long Lunch is a progressive-style lunch at seven wineries with food cooked by local chefs accompanied by live music. Lovedale, of course, also has many tasty eateries and small, boutique cellar doors.
Mount View is, unsurprisingly, all about the views. Mount View Road winds its way up to the very top of the Hunter Valley, presenting views from the Bimbadeen Lookout stretching to Barrington Tops and the coast on a clear day. It features terraced vineyards and lush green pastures dotted with cows and kangaroos. Mount View is also home to one of the region’s most awarded restaurants, Bistro Molines, perched high on a hill with extraordinary views from the Provencal -style interior and the pretty wisteria-covered courtyard.
Broke Fordwich is a peaceful pocket of the Hunter Valley that hosts the largest organic vineyard in the Hunter, a chef’s hatted restaurant, significant aboriginal history, stunning scenery, sprawling olive groves and hands-on, award-winning winemakers. This is all within a beautiful landscape of peace and quiet. Cultural events include the monthly community market held on the first Sunday of each month in Broke village, ‘A Little Bit of Italy’, held each April, which celebrates all things Italian, and the Broke Village Fair & Vintage Car Display every September.
The Hunter Valley is recognised internationally as a world-class wine and food destination. And each subregion offers a different facets of this varied destination. The Wollombi Valley is, of course, the historic jewel in the Hunter Valley crown. So why not use the Wollombi Valley as a beautiful base to explore all that the Hunter Valley has to offer?
David & Murray