Famous for rolling vineyards, acclaimed family-owned wineries and the fabulous Long Lunch, Lovedale is a Hunter Valley gem. Perfect for a weekend escape or romantic getaway, there’s also adventure to be found, from horse riding to hot air ballooning, in the heart of Australia’s oldest wine region.
Wineries & cellar doors
The wine grapes grown in Lovedale range from the local classics of semillon, chardonnay and shiraz, to exciting alternative varieties such as barbera and tempranillo. This is the place to find boutique, family-run wineries with intimate cellar doors. You’ll often get to meet the winemaker themselves as you chat over a glass. Start at Gartelmann Wines, where all the styles are named after a family member, like the Brittany’s Blanc de Blanc.
Domain de Binet blends traditional and new-age winemaking techniques to produce varietals you won’t find anywhere else in the Hunter Valley, while Capercaillie Wines celebrates its proud Scottish history in every bottle. At Adina Vineyard, you can sample their award-winning sparkling, white and red, then move on to the olive oil produced from their own olive grove. Stay for lunch at the on-site Emerson’s restaurant, serving contemporary Australian cuisine made from local ingredients.
The Deck Cafe at Gartlemann Wines is a picturesque spot for breakfast and lunch, with a large deck extending out over a dam. Leaves and Fishes is a stylish restaurant with a Balinese feel, serving an Asian-inspired menu featuring plenty of seafood. Restaurant Kawul at Calais Estate uses Australian native ingredients – sit down at the restaurant or get a picnic basket to take out into the vines.
For mouth-watering smoked and cured meats, visit Lovedale Smokehouse Gourmet Pantry, which has a cafe and courtyard with sweeping vineyard views. Lovers of chocolate will also find tempting treats at the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company. Binnorie Dairy specialises in soft cheeses – watch the cheesemakers at work through the glass as you sample their wares. Pick up some new skills at the Major Lanes Cooking School, which specialises in Asian cookery.
Take your morning to new heights by watching a glorious sunrise in a hot air balloon high above the vineyards with Beyond Ballooning, followed by a champagne breakfast. Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures also offer trail rides for beginners and advanced riders, with spectacular views of rolling wine country from the Molly Morgan Range. Tee off at the 18-hole Hunter Valley Golf Club, a championship course with many challenging holes.
Lovedale is two hours’ drive north of Sydney and just under an hour from Newcastle. Trains also depart from Sydney for Maitland, Morriset and Singleton, where you can catch connecting buses to Wine Country. Or fly into Newcastle Airport and hire a car to explore.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.