Today, we have a very packed schedule. We need to go to Hunter Valley from Sydney by public transportation. For your information, public transportation is a rare way to go to Hunter Valley. People normally join wine tour or driving on their own to arrive at the Hunter Valley. Since we preferred flexibility, we did not join wine tour. Also because of our avoidance of drunk driving, we decided not to rent car and drive to cellar doors in the Hunter Valley.
First, we woke up at 5 am and caught a train from central station at 6:15am.
Below please find the public transport schedule.
We have recovered our energy by sleeping through the 2 hours train ride. We arrived at Morisset station at 8:15am. Morisset is a small town along the train line from Sydney to Newcastle station. After taking off the train, I had 10 minutes of time to walk to the bus station right next to the train station. We had to take a bus 163 and arrive at Cessnock at 9. Please note that Bus 163 only leave this bus station twice per day. If you missed this Bus 163 in the morning, you need to wait for the next one in the afternoon. Good Luck!
Arrived at Cessnock, we had a short breakfast. iHop Hunter Valley picked us up at the bus station just outside the main library. iHop Hunter Valley is a shuttle service operated by a pair of couples called Tim and Kristy. For details about iHop Hunter Valley, please refer to my another page called “pre-planning”. Click here to view the bus schedule of the Central Pokolbin loop . We took this loop as we know some of the cellar doors there.
Tim mainly drives for the Central Pokolbin loop and his wife, Kristy, drives for the Boutique Lovedale/Palmers Lane .
The first cellar door that we went was De Bortoli. Their wine is fine and we bought a Shiraz. For your information, 2014 is a good year for all the grapes of hunter valley. Therefore, all the cellar door will tell you that their 2014 wine is the best.
The next stop is the Hungerfold cellar.
I am amazed by its Tumbarumba 2015. This wine tastes spicy and the after taste is fruity. It is a complex wine and I like it so much.
After that, we went to Roche estate where there are two small wine cellars and some restaurants. We first went to Tempus Two cellar. Their cellar door is nicely decorated. “Uno” is the best tier of wine they sell and their white wine Chardonnay Tumbarumba 2016 is just amazing. The aroma is floral overtones complex into citrus with hints of cashew and pencil like oat. It is textural and vibrant with a portfolio of stone fruit adorn the palate with racy acidity to finish.
After that, we went to another cellar door in the Roche Estate; Meerea Park Wines.
Roche Estate is quite a nice checkpoint that you can buy cheese. At the same time, there are a few good restaurant inside. One of which is called Oichii. It is a fusion Thai and Japanese Restaurant and recommended by the tour guide.
The next stop that iHop took us is the Hunter Valley Garden. It is more like a shopping centre where you can find a number of restaurants, souvenir, chocolate and wine accessories shops.
This was the restaurant that we had our lunch – Taste of The Country. This is a very nicely decorated restaurant. Nearly all the decorations here are for sales.
Menu of the Taste of the Country.
If you want an economic lunch, the food there is great!
After our short lunch, we went to another cellar door called pip piggy and the other cellar doors nearby.
We wish to go to broken wood cellar but we just don’t have enough time as most of the cellar doors closed at 5pm.
The IronBark Hill Brewhouse beer are nice. We have ordered a tasting plate for four beers including Black Forest, Hazelnut, Indie and Summer Hills. I personally like Summer Hill so much. Anyway, a German sitting next to me did not share our amusement because he had too much beer in his home country.
iHop finally dropped us at the Pokolbin Village where we will stay for a night. Upon request, iHop will also drive you to your hotel in Cessnock.
The room of Pokolbin Village is very nice and comfy. They have a living room and a separate bedroom.
Please note that their reception closes at 5pm on Monday to Thursday. If you missed this check-in time, you need to check your email or your phone to see if someone contact you about where they put your room key.
Luckily, we arrived right before the close of the reception. The kind and helpful receptionist reserves a taxi next day early morning so that we can catch the bus to Morisset at 6:45 to go back to Sydney by train.
If you are staying at Pokolbin village, you will enjoy a complimentary red/white wine for each of the adult in their Buon Cibo Ristorante. Amazing!!
For wine lover, I would recommend to stay two days for Hunter Valley.
One day is definitely not enough to complete all attractions in the central Pokolbin loop. Not alone the Lovedale area where there are also many cellar doors.
Anyway, we shall go to sleep earlier to catch the taxi tomorrow morning. What a rough schedule!!!