Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Ya, so we’re not getting out much lately…this saving for a wedding malarkey is REALLY cramping our travelling style!!

However we are getting out of Sydney a little bit and just took a Valentine’s trip to the Hunter Valley, 2 hours north of Sydney. More specifically, we spent time in oh so lovely Pokolbin. We stayed at the beautiful Convent Hunter Valley Resort (which used to be Peppers Convent but was recently taken over by the Escarpment Group who run some pretty nice spots in the Blue Mountains). Randomly, this beautiful building used to be  in Coonamble in western New South Wales – they moved it more than 600km! The grounds are beautiful, full of pepper trees, a lovely swimming pool and fairy lights for the evening. Give me a few fairy lights and I’m sorted.

Here’s the Convent Hunter Valley:

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Nestled away up there

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Convent Hunter Valley

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So pretty

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The life!

On arrival we went straight for a dip in the pool as it was 44 degrees celsius. Ridiculously hot!! We then took a little wander (about a 2 minute stroll) to Pepper Tree Wines and had a wine tasting for about an hour. 6 bottles out of the bank account later and we were back to the hotel for the loveliest of naps. I’m so old. There’s exactly zilch better than a day nap.

We took a little wander around here – there’s a fine dining restaurant called Circa 1876 housed in the historic Halls Cottage right next to Pepper Tree Wines. There was a wedding on so unfortunately we couldn’t have dinner here (how rude!) but we had a little mosey around anyway (pre-wedding…we didn’t crash). They grow their own produce, they have hens and lots of little quirky rooms with antiques – it’s trés romantic.

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Just look at that!

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The entrance to Circa 1876

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Circa 1876’s Garden

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A little church on-site

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Circa 1876

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And obviously some church vines

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Pepper Tree Wines

Post nap we required some dessert so took off to sample Sabor in the Hunter. #worththecalories

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Lemon Meringue Pie and Black Forest Gateau

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Suuuper cheap cookies

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Heart Art

So, what DID we do for dinner you ask? We actually ended up having THE BEST DINNER OF OUR ENTIRE LIVES. We ended up booking 2 seats at the chef’s pass at EXP. HOLY CRAP. Part of the Oakvale Winery, EXP. provides you with either a 5 or 8 course tasting menu ($85 or $110 per person plus drinks). I’m generally not that adventurous when it comes to dinner…when you’re hungry you want to eat something you’ll absolutely enjoy right? Not to worry here – we devoured every single morsel put in front of us. Like Savages. There’s very little wait-time between courses. Chef Frank Fawkner is a god damn genius. Ever heard of crab custard? Me neither, but my life will never be the same again now that I’ve tasted it! I don’t think I’ve ever used the word sublime before…but that’s what dessert was – Australian made chocolate mousse (made from Daintree Estates cocoa – from the Daintree rainforest region in Queensland) with the softest honeycomb. Melt in the mouth.

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Ham on Toast

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Chia and Honey Beer

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Heaven

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And a nice romantic moon to end the evening

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