Australia's Hunter Valley is a stunning region and a favourite for couples in search of a romantic short break with its beautiful vistas, expansive vineyards, gorgeous boutique retreats and delicious food and wine.
With winter the perfect time to snuggle in front of a fireplace in a romantic Hunter Valley cabin, now is the time to start thinking about treating yourself and your other half to a couples' getaway in this wonderful region.
The Hunter Valley is an easy drive from Sydney, or if coming from further afield fly into Newcastle airport and transfer from there.
Here's how you might want to spend your romantic getaway here ... Holidays for Couples' guide to a fabulous 48 hours in the Hunter Valley!
Ease into your Hunter Valley short break with a few margaritas and authentic Mexican fare at the funky Casa Margarita. If margaritas are not your thing, do not fear - Sydney's Drink Design has created a deadly cocktail list! Chef Nicolas Medrano is originally from Mexico City, so the food is amazing.
Take in the Mexican decor and cantina setting, with fresh ingredients making for a mouthwatering meal whether you favour tacos or quesadillas.
The restaurant offers fantastic views too, looking out over the green outdoors. You'll find this delectable delight at 266 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin.
Greet Saturday nice and early with a sunrise hot air balloon trip over the Hunter. Not only is a hot air balloon trip incredibly romantic, but it is one of the best ways to take in the expansive panoramic scenery of the Hunter region and get an idea how vast it is.
You'll spend around half an hour to 45 minutes soaring through the air taking in the bright green vines and bushland of the region as the sun rises, before descending to enjoy a delectable gourmet champagne breakfast. It's a blissful way to start the day ... and oh so romantic!
Food and wine are, for many couples, an integral part of a great romantic short break - and in the Hunter Valley, you'll discover some of the best gourmet and wine treats in Australia. Spend the rest of your day visiting some local vineyards and tasting some of the local wines. The Hunter Valley is a globally-acclaimed wine region, producing some of the world's top drops.
Try a wine tasting and tour at Vinden Estate Wines. This gorgeous vineyard was established in 1990 and produces the rare Alicante Bouschet, Semillon, Basket Press Shiraz, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Premium Merlot, Late Harvest Dessert Wine and Liquer Semillon. Tasty! Enjoy a cellar door experience before heading to the Bistro Vinden where you can enjoy lunch brimming with freshness. Relax and soak in the stunning scenery.
Wyndham Estate Wines is another must-visit, award-winning destination. The cellar door is open seven days a week for visits and tastings. You simply must try the world-renowned Shiraz.
Take the Heritage Stroll through the vineyards and to Dalwood House, which is a home built by the original owner George Wyndham in 1830, then visit the ground's Riverbank Park, where visitors can picnic, fish or cook up a BBQ. If you don't want to cook your own meal, head to the Olive Tree Restaurant, which serves up an a Mediterranean, al fresco dining experience.
Finally, don't miss Tallavera Grove with its gorgeous hillside vistas. Head to the cellar door for tastings and tours, making your way through Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay and Shiraz varietals. If you're hungry, stop for dinner at Bistro Molines, where one of Australia's greatest chefs, Robert Molines, works his magic. The views are to die for, and the French cuisine ensures many a repeat visitor.
After a day of indulgence on Saturday, now's the time to get out and about in the Hunter Valley's gorgeous outdoors. The Hunter Valley has it all - food, wine, incredible scenery and, for adventurous couples or those that love getting out into nature, plenty of options.
Make your way to Barrington Tops National Park, home to stunning World Heritage-listed rainforest and ancient volcanic landscape. There are a number of walking tracks that will help you discover the local plant, bird and animal life, plus plenty of cycling trails for those seeking a thrill. Enjoy a picnic and soak in the beautiful views. Or try white water rafting or kayaking - it is all here in the beautiful World Heritage Barrington Tops!
If you have any time remaining, pay a visit to Lake St Clair - not to be confused with the Tasmanian destination of the same name! NSW's own version lies at the foot of the Mount Royal Range in the Hunter. Enjoy an afternoon of swimming, water skiing, fishing or simply unwinding and lazing on the shore before making your way back home.
There's so much for couples to see and do in the Hunter Valley you'll likely struggle to fit it all into one weekend. That's okay - just remember to make a return visit!
Image: Tourism NSW - James Pipino
You might also like this Happy Valley feature article