It had taken us quite a time to choose where to go: in fact it took us an entire evening to whittling all the places we want to visit in driving vicinity of Sydney down to the Hunter Valley...then we had to decide which hotel.
That took a ridiculously long time too - there was even a walk in-between - before we came to a decision.
We stopped for a coffee in Wollombi, a pretty village with a coupe of shops and eateries, and a couple of stalls of homemade jams or sourdough bread set up in the shade by locals.
Impressive shiny buildings of wineries dotted the landscape, and the vines were a bright green (apparently just four weeks ago there were no leaves on the vines, so we had chosen a good time to visit). We pulled off the road for a picnic lunch amongst the vines, with a stunning backdrop.
A few years ago we had a cycling holiday in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. Cycling around the countryside, sampling champagne, we picked up a little bit of knowledge, and fell for Blanc de Blanc champagne - so if a Blanc de Blanc champagne/sparkling wine is on a wine menu, it's nearly always our choice!
Greeted by a cat (well, there was a man too, but the adorable young cat stole my attention), we sampled a number of wines - including the Blanc de Blanc, of course! Staying with the bubbles, we tasted a sparkling Chambourcin - a red sparkling wine, to be served chilled. It was good..so much so, we promptly bought a couple of bottles.
We also sampled a white fortified wine - similar to a white port, though not of course able to call it that. We bought a bottle of that too...
It was interesting comparing the same wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, produced in two different years running - one year it had been dry, and the following year had been a wet year. The difference in the taste of the wine was very marked.
Armed with our purchases, we went to another winery on his suggestion a few minutes drive away, on way back to the hotel.
Thinking it strange there were no reds on the list, we asked...and the guy turned the paper over, with a smirk.
We sampled some of them, which were really amazing - definitely special occasion red wines, With Christmas just around the corner, we (ahem) bought a bottle, or two...
We walked - or meandered - back to the hotel, enjoying the plus-thirty temperatures.
Sipping on their own rose and looking over the vines on which the grapes had grown was a lovely way to end the day.
Still half asleep and about to climb into the shower, I looked out of the window, and shrieked.
"No, wait ,it's a deer..."
"...No! It's a kangaroo!"
On closer squinting, it turned out it wasn't just one kangaroo, but two!
We had passed a sign the day before:
After a fantastic breakfast in our room, we checked out, wishing we were staying another day. But T had to get back to work.
On the road for only five, we spotted these fellas: