For years, the girls have been trying to organise a weekend away in the Hunter Valley but our busy and conflicting schedules – coupled with the fact that when we last tried, our accommodation went into liquidation the weekend before we arrived – made it next to impossible. Until last weekend.
We finally locked in three days we were all free and set our sights on a morning/afternoon exploring Pokolbin, followed by a couple of nights in a beautiful retreat to enjoy some quiet time with our newly purchased wine, cheese, and chocolate. Reality actually exceeded expectation and we had a wonderful time.
Leaving bright and early on Saturday morning, we made the following stops before heading to our home away from home for the weekend:
– Mooney Mooney Rest Area
– Maitland (for food supplies)
– Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
– McGuigan Cellar Door
– Hunter Valley Cheese Company
– Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese (which was also our lunch stop)
– Tempus Two Cellar Door
– De Bortoli Cellar Door
I honestly cannot recommend Smelly Cheese highly enough. While it’s tiny and absolutely crammed with people, they have an amazing selection of cheese, condiments, cured meats, oils, crackers, etc. We spent almost $200 on things almost exclusively for the weekend. No regrets about the $25.00 sliver of French brie, it was AMAZING.
We stayed at Donnybrook Eco Retreat, in the Hillview/Valleyview tents, and it was absolutely perfect. Not only was it less than 30 minutes from Pokolbin, the drive was beautiful, the property was gorgeous, and the accommodation was so welcoming that we didn’t actually leave again for the whole weekend. We’ve been glamping several times and this was easily one of our favourites to date, the attention to detail and homely touches made all the difference.
Sweeping views of the surrounding countryside; a wicker swing chair; large and comfortable beds (with chocolates on each pillow!); a gas barbecue; a fire pit (with wood and kindling provided); ensuite bathrooms for each tent; a deck area with outdoor furniture; and (my favourite) a yurt between the two tents which served as a kitchen or communal dining area. The two bar fridges came fully stocked with fresh farm eggs, bacon, jam, butter, milk, juice, pancake batter, and delicious homemade chocolate slice!
One of my favourite parts was waking up to the sounds of birds echoing through the valley – such a great incentive to get up and enjoy the sunrise. And the beautiful colours at dusk made for some excellent reasons to go exploring. Definitely made this Girls Weekend well worth the wait.
Our first cheeseboard of the weekend. Yum!
Last wine stop of the afternoon.
Amazing bridge on the way to Donnybrook Eco Reatreat.
Half an hour before sunset.
Loved seeing the moonrise at dusk, behind this gorgeous skeletal tree.
Dust on the lens made for a lovely bokeh effect in the waning sunlight.
My favourite tree on the property.
Barbed wire and tall trees at golden hour.
Dawn with some curious locals.
Our farewell sunrise.
The gorgeous Luskintyre Bridge.
A highland cow in the meadow.