Sydney Getaway: Hunter Valley and Newcastle City

Super Boy decided that he and I should do a quick Sydney getaway at least once before Christmas. So, he organised (because I’m hopeless when it comes to these things) a little trip to the Hunter Valley and Newcastle City. With our bags packed, he picked me up on Saturday morning and we made our way, firstly, to the Hunter Valley.

Approximately 120km or so north of Sydney, it’s a very popular destination for Sydney-siders wishing to escape for a weekend and for overseas tourists. For those of you who don’t know, the Hunter Valley is better known as ‘Wine Country‘, with reportedly over 150 wineries, vineyards and cellar-doors. Naturally, Super Boy and I didn’t try to visit all of them during our trip, but we managed to squeeze a few in.

It was just after midday when we arrived, and feeling peckish we decided to stop at Twine Restaurant for lunch. Super Boy and I sat outside with the above view to accompany us (as you can see, the stormy Sydney weather decided to follow us here too).

I ordered the Pappardelle with Zucchini Flowers which was quite nice, and Super Boy ordered the Pork Chop (sadly, no photo). After our meal and some rest, we ventured through the valley in search of a few wineries. Super Boy had really nice memories from a place called Ivanhoe , so we stopped there first for some wine tasting.

I must say, I am not a wine person. I don’t drink it often, if at all. I don’t know what to look for. And I don’t know how to taste it. But I went with it anyway. We tried a selection of their red wines, which I must say, were pretty darn nice, and I decided to buy bottles of their ‘Swordsman’ Shiraz as gifts for my cousins. If they don’t drink it, then I guess I will.

After wine tasting and making our purchases, we drove around the Hunter Valley in search of other wineries and to explore the vineyards a little.

Maybe it was the dreary weather, or maybe it’s because neither Super Boy nor I have an interest in wine, but we decided to give the wineries a rest and ended up at Hunter Valley Gardens Village. There, we explored all the little sweet shops and gift shops, and I resisted the urge to buy more stuff I didn’t need. We were going to visit the Hunter Valley Gardens and see the Christmas lights there, but it started to rain pretty hard.

“We’ll come back another time,” we both agreed. I think we were just tired from all the travelling we did that day. Thankfully, our next stop was The Gateway Inn where we collapsed into bed and had a nap. Super Boy and I awoke a few hours later feeling fresh and hungry, so Super Boy kindly went in search of food — i.e. ordered room service from the restaurant upstairs.

It’s my first experience of room service (I’m not as fancy as I pretend to be), and it was pretty neat. Less than 20mins after placing our order, we got a knock on the door and a smartly dressed waitress appeared with our food. It’s like magic! Super Boy and I shared burgers and fries along with our thoughts and hopes for the future. After a good meal and rest, we once again collapsed into bed for some well-deserved sleep.

We woke up to sunshine and gorgeous blue skies. After a great night’s sleep, Super Boy and I packed our things, checked out of the inn, and went in search of breakfast. The lady at the check-out counter suggested we try Darby Street in Newcastle City, so off we went. Having lived in Sydney my whole life, I wasn’t used to the pleasant quietness as we strolled down the street staring at the new environment around us.

It soon got busier and louder as we reached what is probably ‘café central’ with half a dozen or so cafés right next to each other, all bustling and bursting with people. We picked Goldbergs Coffee House and squeezed in along the wall amongst the crowd. A quick look at the menu and I knew what I wanted already.

I ordered the Buckwheat Pancakes with seasonal fruits, honey and yoghurt. Super Boy ordered Bacon and Eggs. We also ordered some iced coffees to power us for the day ahead. The food took a while to arrive, which was to be expected due to how busy it was. The portions were large and I struggled to finish it all, not from a lack of trying though. It was a really delicious meal, and I kind-of wish there was a place like this closer to home.

After a meal like this, we definitely had to walk it all off. Super Boy and I explored the nearby streets and shops, and ended up along the wharfs.

With not much else to do, and being conscious of the time, we decided to head back to Sydney. But not before passing through Civic Park, which appeared to be having some sort of outdoor art on display.

I’m not sure what it’s about, but I love it. Anyway, after playing around with these art works, it was time for us to leave Newcastle City. We drove back to Sydney and were met with heavy storms. Perhaps it was a sign that we should have stayed in Newcastle?

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