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Life

17 Must Do Hunter Valley Experiences

The Hunter Valley isn't just about cellar doors. Shonagh Walker uncovers a host of activities that may well see you extend your stay.

While it's widely known as the destination to uncover boutique cellar doors and world-famous wines, the Hunter Valley has another face that it's worked hard on showing to the world. From balloon rides to nature walks, festivals to art amongst the vines and even animal sanctuaries that will melt your heart, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to filling your itinerary on your weekend or family holiday. Here's a list of some of our getaway inspirations.

Be Cheesy

Cheese lovers should make a B-line for The Sebel Kirkton Park on Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18, which mark the annual Cheese Lovers Festival. Highlights include 50 exclusive stalls featuring cheese, beer, wine and assorted cheese-related food stalls, cooking with cheese workshops, beer and cheese workshops and cheese making classes. Preceding the official start of the festival is the Classic Cheese Dinner on Friday June 16.

Get Cooking

Millfield Hall Cooking School caters for corporate and private groups of eight to 20 people. All produce used is local and seasonal, with citrus and herbs grown in the Hall's garden and eggs coming straight from their own chook pen. Prices are usually around $145 per class, which includes a glass of wine, however, bespoke tutorials can include anything from roasting an entire beast and beer tasting, to matching courses with local wines, which might up the price a bit.

millfieldhall.com.au

Organic Fare

Run by partners Matty and Jimmy Kerr, Nanna Kerr's Kitchen is a mostly organic restaurant and is a huge favourite with locals and tourists alike. Famed for dishes taken from the Kerr matriarch's menu and its farm to table ethos, this restaurant also boasts a retail space where you can purchase the pickles, relishes and jams served on site. Don't miss the Dirty Chai Pannacotta, which was created to celebrate Nanna Kerr's recent 80th birthday.

Be Proud

You'll have a blast during the second annual Pokolbin Pride Festival, which this year again sees local businesses band together with wine tasting tours, live entertainment, fine dining and cocktail parties, community markets, guided bike riding winery tours and more. The festival runs from October 20-22.

pokolbinpride.com.au

A Day On The Green

Hit Bimbadgen for this not-to-be-missed event where you'll get your fix of local and international acts teamed with a great selection of wine. This year has already seen rock icons Blondie and Cyndi Lauper entertain, with more acts every summer. When major celebs aren't singing, you can enjoy Esca restaurant and sip a generous wine selection at the cellar door.

bimbadgen.com.au

Take To The Skies

If you fancy yourself a bit of a pilot, then Hunter Valley Joy Flights is for you. Located at Cessnock airport, the company offers Tiger Moth adventure flights where you man the cockpit and fly the plane solo once in the air (an experienced pilot is there to guide you at all times). A less adrenaline-inducing way to get elevated is by Hot Air Balloon. Hunter Valley Ballooning offers exclusive and group flights out of its Lovedale HQ every day and is a peaceful and unique way to take in the views of the region

huntervalleyjoyflights.com.au

Inspire Your Green Thumb

With over 60 acres of international display gardens, you can easily while away a day or two in the lush haven that is the Hunter Valley Gardens, situated conveniently in the Pokolbin region.

There's over eight kilometres of walking paths to explore, which reveal 10 individual feature gardens each with a unique theme. The Storybook Garden with its topiary animals including horses, teddy bears and ducks will delight kids of all ages. The Lakes Walk will take you past waterfalls, babbling brooks, Weeping Willows, a chapel and rotunda and stunning seasonal flora.

The Rose Garden features over 150 varieties of roses, with around 8000 fragrant and beautiful roses in bloom and the Formal Garden, a nod to French and British garden designs, will transfix you with its manicured hedges, evergreen magnolia and 3000 bushes of Rosa chameleon roses. Make sure you stop by the Wishing Fountain - all proceeds from your wish are donated to local charities.

A favourite of this scribe though, is the Italian Grotto, with its Statue of Saint Francis of Assisi (Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment), its lush lavender hedges and incredible bougainvillea.

Winter marks the annual Snow Time festival (June 24 to July 16), with a giant ice-skating rink, mega ice toboggan and tubing. You can also build a snowman at in the man-made Snow Play Zone.

huntervalleygardens.com.au

The Block

Four luxury self-contained villas and a three bedroom guesthouse comprise the secluded but stunning accommodation and winery of Block 8. Soak up views of orchards, olive groves, grapevines, open fields and distant mountain ranges as you meet kangaroos and wallabies, sugar gliders, swans and goannas. You can even pat a couple of pigs and handfeed the ducks. Guests also receive bottles of the estate-grown single vineyard wines, generous breakfast hampers and home-baked treats for afternoon tea.

blockeight.com.au

Get Artsy

Sculptures in the Vineyards happens throughout November, stretching across Undercliff Winery and Gallery, Stonehurst Cedar Creek Wines, Wollombi Wines and Noyce Brothers Wine. Works are by renowned local and national artists, with an estimated 100 pieces planned for 2017.

sculptureinthevineyards.com.au

On Your Bike

As the original bike hire company in the region, Grapemobile Bicycle Hire and Tours really know their stuff.

Rent from the centrally located vineyard and hire shop in Pokolbin, where you can take a private off road self-guided tour amongst the vines, sampling wines from up to nine vineyards on the way (some even provide free delivery of your purchases to the bike's hire shop). You can also choose to have the Grapemobile bus pick you up and return you from your accommodation or meeting place.

All tours include mountain bikes, retro cruisers or tandems, helmets, sunscreen, bottled water, numbered VIP access pass, maps and tour options.

grapemobile.com.au

Organic Spa Experience

There's a plethora of day spas peppered around the Hunter. UBIKA spa at the Crowne Plaza in Lovedale is noteworthy, thanks to its alliance with certified organic skin care brand, Eminence Organics. Hailing from Hungary, this nurturing range relies on ingredients such as blueberries, Arctic berries, and pomegranate. Choose from an array of facials and body treatments including Vichy showers, wraps and exfoliation.

Other fantastic spa experiences include iconic Spa Elysia Golden Door, which has partnered with Certified Organic skin care range, Divine Woman and Chateau Elan at The Vintage, where you can enjoy a glass of bubbles in the outdoor Jacuzzi before or after your treatment.

crowneplazahuntervalley.com.au

goldendoor.com.auchateauelan.com.au

Luxe Getaway

Just Desserts

Sweet tooth? Book a table at Sabor. Famed for its Portuguese Chocolate Mousse made from owner Fernando's grandmother's recipe from 70 years ago, there are over 50 desserts on the menu and each can be paired beautifully with local wines. There are gluten-free options too, as well as Glinelli coffee and a selection of teas.

saborinthehunter.com.au

A Berry Nice Time

Few things taste as sweet as organic, bio-dynamically farmed blueberries, fresh from the bush. At Misty Valley Farm, you can pick your own punnet and enjoy the intense flavour straight away, or freeze your harvest for up to two years. Berry picking season is Dec/Jan, but at other times you can lap up the farm environment in the boutique accommodation, which sleeps up to four people and includes organic farm fresh eggs in the breakfast hamper.

mistyvalleyblueberries.com

Take A Stroll

If you're still feeling energetic and want (or need) to walk off a few calories, take one of several walking trails through Barrington Tops National Park. Choose from easy walks, overnight hikes, or simply enjoy a picnic by the stunning Barrington Tops Falls. Those after more action can 4WD.

nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/barrington-tops-national-park

See Pigs Fly

Where Pigs Fly is a registered charity and sanctuary located in the Lower Hunter region, dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for farmed animals that have been treated cruelly, abused or neglected. With various open days and sanctuary tours (bookings essential) throughout the year, the team is committed to educating guests about the importance of treating all animals with compassion and respect. An open day will see you mingling with pigs, lambs, chickens and cows, living life as they should be - free range and organically.

wherepigsfly.org

Lush Lavender

Daniela Riccio bought Little Valley Lavender Farm five years ago and while she still grows over 100 lavender bushes, the farm is mostly an organic garlic producer, alpaca breeding base and fleece retailer, bee keeper and miniature cattle grazier. It's is also a part of the Department of Primary Industries' Visit My Farm program, whereby city slickers can spend a day learning about farm life.

littlevalleyfarm.com.au

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Wine
The Best Barossa Valley Wineries & Cellar Doors
Your guide to Barossa Valley’s historic cellar doors and tasting experiences! Only a short drive from Adelaide will get you to one of Australia’s most historic wine regions, the Barossa Valley. The international success of Australian wine has a lot to thank the Barossa for, recognised for the outstanding quality of wine to come out of the region since the first plantings over 160 years ago. Today, there are so many internationally renowned wineries in the Barossa with equally acclaimed cellar doors and restaurants that a visit to the area will definitely reward any person with a love of regional wines, produce, and beauty. Fine, fresh and regional flavours abound; a bold Shiraz, a hearty Cabernet Sauv, classic Chardonnays, fresh Rieslings, and everything else in between are all ready for your enjoyment. So, jump in the car, take in the views, soak up the sunshine and savour everything the Barossa has to offer. The Willows Vineyard    Situated at Light Pass in the Barossa Valley, The Willows Vineyard has roots going back to the beginning of this historic grape growing region – Johann Gottfried Scholz, an early European colonists and previous Prussian Army bonesetter, first settled The Willows Vineyard property in 1845. But it wasn’t until 1936 that fourth generation relatives of Johann planted the property’s first Semillon vines, with Shiraz, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache added over the years. Now home to the ‘Bonesetter’ Shiraz and ‘The Doctor’ Sparkling Shiraz in honour of Johann, the Scholz family are proudly 100% Barossan, sourcing fruit entirely from their Light Pass vineyard. 310 Light Pass Rd, Light Pass Open Wednesday to Monday 10:30am-4:30pm | Closed Tuesday and Public holidays Visit The Willows Vineyard website Schild Estate   Recognised as a Five Star Winery and listed as one of the ‘Ten Dark Horses’ in the 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion, Schild Estate produces highly acclaimed wines including the Moorooroo Shiraz, of which the 2015 vintage was awarded 99 points (James Halliday, 2019 Wine Companion) and the Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz which was awarded ‘Best in Show – Australian Reds’ at Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards 2019. In addition to classic wine tasting experiences, Schild Estate also offers a wine and chocolate pairing experience for $20 per person where guests will be treated to artisan chocolates expertly matched with wines from their collection. Pre-bookings are essential for this unique experience. Lot 1095, Barossa Valley Way, Lyndoch Open Friday to Sunday 10am-4pm or by appointment |Closed public holidays. Visit the Schild Estate website Château Tanunda The majestic bluestone winery and expansive vineyard of Château Tanunda epitomises the Barossa’s colourful history and pioneering spirit. Established in 1890, the grand, meticulously restored buildings and carefully manicured gardens of Château Tanunda are home to the Barossa's earliest vines with the winery now proudly producing wines with fruit from 150-year-old vines. For visitors to this historic property, booking the ‘Discover the Château’ tour is a must, plus there are a host of wines to taste in the Grand Barrel Room, including Old Vine Expression, Terroirs of the Barossa and more. Or, simply enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn and take in the sunshine. 9 Basedow Rd, Tanunda Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Château Tanunda website Bethany Wines Bethany Wines’ first vineyard was planted in 1852 with a wine cellar built on the site. Despite the winery’s pioneer, Johann Schrapel, having a good reputation as an early colonial winemaker, the Schrapel family made the decision to focus on viticulture instead of winemaking for the next four generations. However, it was this early insight into maintaining their early plantings – even through the wine glut years when the government encouraged wineries to pull up their vines – that has allowed the now fifth and sixth generations of the Schrapel family to continue working this prized Barossan plot to produce luscious old vine wines alongside their new and alternate varieties. Visit Bethany Wines’ cellar door to enjoy a fresh and delicious picnic platter, taste estate made wines, take in the views, or even take a historic walk. 378 Bethany Rd, Tanunda From Adelaide, travelling North away from the city on the Sturt Highway, take the Gomersal Road to Tanunda and then Bethany Road to the foothills. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm | Sundays 1pm-5pm Visit the Bethany Hills website Elderton Wines Neil and Lorraine Ashmead moved to the Barossa in 1979 after Lorraine’s father told them about a home with great potential. The homestead in the heart of the township of Nuriootpa was surrounded by extremely old Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines, which offered great appeal, but their move to the region was at a time when demand for Australian table wine was negligible, and the vineyard had become derelict since the vine pull to address the wine glut in the region. So, after years of no interest, the real estate agent eventually offered the Ashmeads the 72acre vineyard as a bonus, as part of the sale of the homestead. Three years later, after restoring the vineyard, Elderton Wines was born. Visit this quintessentially Barossan cellar door, complete with stunning views, fantastic wines and friendly staff. 3-5 Tanunda Rd, Nuriootpa Open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm | weekends 11am-4pm Visit the Elderton Wines website Z Wine Z WINE is seriously dedicated to making some of the Barossa Valley’s best wine. The Z in the name stands for Zerk, a pioneering settler family who came to the Barossa in 1846. Today, Janelle and Kristen Zerk, the famed Barossa Valley sister duo, are the passionate owners of Z Wine who are dedicated to creating regional, small batch wines using grapes from 10 different vignerons in the Barossa area, honouring their connection to the region which began five generations ago. Z Wines proudly stand alongside many well-known wines – recently winning third to Penfold’s Grange in the 2018 WINESTATE International Shiraz Challenge and topping the Barossa Valley Grenache entries in the recent 2018 James Halliday national Grenache challenge. A visit to their cellar door will reward you with the chance to taste wines from four different Z Wine labels, including 17 highly-awarded wines. Their new cellar door and wine bar in the main street of Tanunda is very popular, offering regional produce and local live music to accompany the selection of distinct wines.  SHOP 3, 109-111 Murray Street Tanunda The corner of Basedow Road and Murray Street Open Monday to Wednesday 10am-5pm | Thursday and Sunday 10am-8pm | Friday and Saturday 10am-late with LIVE music Visit the Z Wine website Pindarie Wines The old grain room and heritage stables make up the Pindarie cellar door that were hand restored over a period of 20 years by vigneron and winemaker couple Wendy Allan and Tony Brooks. A winner of multiple tourism awards, the cellar door is home to Pindarie’s Western Ridge estate grown wines, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and unique range of Mediterranean varietals such as Montepulciano, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese with the cellar door also offering a genuine paddock to plate experience with their range of seasonal lunches featuring local produce. It’s the perfect place to relax, take in the views and enjoy regional flavours. 946 Rosedale Rd, Gomersal Open Monday to Friday 11am-4pm | Weekends 11am-5pm Visit the Pindarie Wines website Henschke Wines Visiting the historic Henschke cellar door, built in the 1860s by Johann Christian Henschke, is said to be one of the most captivating wine experiences in the Barossa. The intimate and charming space is a showcase and celebration of the Henschke family’s winemaking prowess and ability to continually produce internationally renowned wines. Drawing on select vineyards from the Eden, Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley regions, the Henschke cellar door is the perfect place to sample the unique terroir expressed in their premium single-vineyard wines. VIP tours and private tastings are also available, or you can always book yourself a table at the famed Hill of Grace Restaurant. 1428 Keyneton Rd, Keyneton Open Monday to Saturday 9am-4:30pm |Public holidays 10am-3pm | Closed Sundays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day Visit the Henschke website Seppeltsfield Seppeltsfield is one of Australia’s most historic wineries with a history forged by the pioneering vision of Joseph and Joanna Seppelt in 1851. Seppeltfield’s grand complex of heritage buildings is the perfect place to sample their unique 100-year-old fortified wines and to taste wine from the year of your birth. Seppelt is also credited with paving the way for progressive cool climate styles, particularly for producing Australia’s first Sparkling wine, as well as pioneering Sparkling Shiraz. The winery has enjoyed many accolades over their extensive history, including being recognised as Australia's most awarded Sparkling producer, as well as winning the highly sought-after Jimmy Watson Trophy, three times. Stop by for free wine tastings, or book a private tour to take in the winery’s full historic charm. 730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Barossa Valley Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Seppeltsfield website Thorn-Clarke   The name Thorn-Clarke honours the coming together of two Barossa Valley wine and agricultural families, the Thorns and the Clarkes; the Thorns with six generations of Barossan winemaking in their blood and the Clarkes providing vigneron and geology expertise. While a relatively young winery in terms of some of their Barossa neighbours, Thorn-Clarke was established in 2001 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Today, they boast one of the largest private vineyard holdings in the Barossa, which provides the basis for exceptional Barossa and Eden Valley wines. Their relaxed Barossa cellar door is the perfect place to unwind during your visit to the region – sample local produce platters as you sit in their winery garden, or sample their Eden Valley whites and Barossa Valley reds, sourced from their four estate-owned vineyards. 226 Gawler Park Rd, Angaston Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and 11am-4pm on weekends Visit the Thorn-Clarke website Two Hands Wines The idea for Two Hands came about when founders, Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, decided to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia. They had a drive to shake up the Shiraz styles of the time and instead focus on the unique regional and vineyard characteristics that can be expressed in a good Australian Shiraz. They soon built their state-of-the-art winery, crafted their first wines, and then the accolades began to reward them for their passion and dedication to Australian wine. Stop by for a structured yet relaxed tasting that takes guests through their range of innovative wines in an intimate and informative setting out on the tasting deck with views across Marananga. 273 Neldner Rd, Marananga Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Two Hands website Yalumba Established in 1849, Yalumba is one of Australia’s most iconic and important wine labels. The impressive wine room, built inside the original brandy store is the perfect place to sample the wide range of wines on offer from everyday table drops through to their exquisite reserve collections. A visit to their historic grounds and cellar door during the week may reward you with seeing the cooperage in action while you experience the fragrant sweet spice of their handmade barrels. And for weekend guests, the landscaped grounds, which are exquisitely framed by the Wine Room and the historic clock tower, are perfect for a relaxing walk or to throw down a picnic rug to enjoy one of Yalumba’s renowened Coopers Boards in the sun. 40 Eden Valley Rd, Angaston Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Yalumba website Grant Burge Nestled atop of a hill along Krondorf Road, the Grant Burge cellar door in the heart of the Barossa Valley enjoys exquisite views over the valley floor in one direction and rolling lawns and manicured gardens in the other. The tasting team at the cellar door will lead you through Grant Burge’s extensive range of wines, including refreshing Sparklings, crisp Rieslings to full-flavoured Chardonnay. And in keeping with Grant Burge’s great reputation for bold Barossan red, guests can also enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and of course, powerful Shiraz. Take in the views, savour a bottle of your favourite wine, and enjoy a meal at their cafe featuring local produce. Group tastings are available by appointment.  Krondorf Rd, Tanunda Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Grant Burge website More information For more information on visiting the Barossa be sure to visit the official Barossa website or stop by the Visitors Center  in Tanunda when you're in the area. But, if you’d like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit – explore our wide selection of Barossa wines and find out more about the wineries listed in this guide in our Meet the Makers section. With our Wine Selectors Regional Releases , you'll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel , plus you’ll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our Regional Releases page to find out more!
Wine
Wine Traveller Mornington Peninsula
Words by Mark Hughes on 25 Jan 2018
Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a slice of paradise with its alluring blend of calm bays, eucalypt forests, farmland and surfable southern swells. It is also a mecca for quality produce, from strawberries to apples, olives to cheese, and of course, wine. The cool maritime climate allows for elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with a host of alternative varietals, and it is the recognised birthplace of Pinot Grigio in Australia. While wine has long attracted visitors, the region’s culinary offerings have also been garnering plenty of praise of late. Many are located in wineries and one of the first you’ll find just off the Mornington Peninsula Freeway from Melbourne is Yabby Lake. Winemaker Tom Carson is renowned in these parts and his award-winning wines provide the perfect match to the delicious seasonal fare served up by chef Simon West at their relaxed cellar door and restaurant. Think asparagus and gorgonzola tart enjoyed on the verandah overlooking the vineyards. 
Not far down the freeway near Dromana is a man and a place of legendary status – Garry Crittenden from Crittenden Estate. Garry planted one of the first vineyards in the region over 35 years ago. These days, his son Rollo is winemaker, producing classy flagships and unique alternative varietals. On the picturesque Crittenden Estate, you’ll find gorgeous lakeside villas and the delightful Stillwater at Crittenden Restaurant. Originally a small café built by Garry’s wife Margaret, it was taken over by dynamic duo Zac and Jacqui Poullier, who impress with a menu of shared plates and a la carte dishes such as corn fed duck breast with boulangere potato, pumpkin puree and local cherries.  Just up the road sits Foxey’s Hangout. Two decades ago, brothers Michael and Tony Lee made a tree change, trading in their Melbourne-based hospitality business for a life making wine on the Peninsula. Pop in for a wine tasting, then grab a deck chair on the verandah and enjoy seasonal shared plates while overlooking the sloping vineyard.
Everything and anything You’ll find both ends of the food spectrum in this amazing region. Rebecca Ettridge started Wombat Café, the Mornington Peninsula’s first all vegan café, which sits in a row of shops opposite a series of walking trails towards Dromana. It serves breakfast, lunch and a range of take home meals as well as awesome organics smoothies such as the High Roller – banana, chia seeds, peanut butter, vanilla and almond milk topped with peanut crumble.  Up the rise to Red Hill and along Arthur’s Seat Road, you’ll find one of the Peninsula’s new gems behind an old Liberty service station; Red Gum BBQ – a low and slow American-style barbecue joint run by enterprising young couple Melissa and Martin Goffin. What started out as barbecues for friends grew into pop ups at markets and finally, they took the leap, left their jobs and opened Red Gum in an old truck mechanic shed. Big, open and with a rockin’ country music sound track, it is fun for the whole family. Try a range of local brews while sampling smoked specialities such as beef brisket and pulled pork with sides of cornbread and Melissa’s secret slaw recipe. 
Perfectly paired From Red Hill, head towards Merricks  and you’ll come to the impressive Polperro, where unflappable owner and winemaker Sam Coverdale has created a triple treat: stylish wines, luxurious villas and a stunning bistro. It has outdoor seating for the summer and a cosy fireplace in the winter to enjoy dishes such as grass-fed beef fillet with truffle custard, pea purée, asparagus and beef jus.  Not far away is a winery and restaurant of renown, Paringa Estate. Chef Adam Beckett presides over a seasonal menu that has earned a chef’s hat for five straight years. His King George whiting with pea crumb, broccoli and half turned potatoes is nearing acclaimed status. Ten Minutes by Tractor is equally revered in the dining stakes. Chef Stuart Bell’s Fromagarie Menu is perfect if you’re on the go, or settle in for his eight-course degustation if you have all afternoon.  If you’re keen for food and activity, head towards Shoreham to Montalto. They have quality wines and a recently renovated restaurant that makes use of produce from their vege patch. They also have an amazing sculpture-in-the-vines trail through their vineyards, which is a great way to walk off a decadent lunch. 
Jumping Jackalopes Without doubt, the most talked about development on the Peninsula in years is  Jackalope Hotel. Built onto the existing structures at Willow Creek Vineyard at Merricks North, it offers super high end accommodation, whose every hallway and open space is a veritable art gallery. It is also home to the mind-blowing Doot Doot Doot restaurant, where chef Martin Webster’s edgy cuisine is wowing diners and has already scored a hat. Its 1200-bottle wine list is simply stupendous. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, the same venue hosts Rare Hare cafe, whose wood-fired oven signals more casual but still impressive lunch fare. Not far from Jackalope is the iconic Merricks General Wine Store, which is a welcoming café, cellar door and an art gallery all in one. Then head south to the hamlet of Flinders. Here, you’ll find a quaint General Store, whose shelves stock gourmet goods and local beers, Georgie & Bass, a café and cookery school, and  Mornington Peninsula Chocolates. If you’re down this way, follow the  southern coastline past world famous golf courses and the RACV’s spectacular state-of-the-art resort at Cape Schanck (due to be completed in April) and head towards Rosebud to find Blue Mini Eatery & Emporium. Owner and all-round go-getter Tracey Fleming has filled an old bowling alley with eclectic furniture and works by local artists (most of which are on sale) to create a place where you feel instantly at home. Chef John Ward dishes up a menu of fresh, zesty organic fare, while Tracey, who caters events all over the Peninsula, has recently launched Boneo Road Roasters, roasting her own coffee using ethically sourced beans. 
Peninsula Produce If you’re keen to get more intimate with the amazing food of the region, there are plenty of places where you can sample produce fresh from the source.  At Benton Rise at Tuerong, Ryan and Deb Sharpley have a perfectly balanced aquaponics system sustainably farming veges and salads alongside rainbow trout. Ryan also grows exotic mushrooms, which he supplies to local restaurants. In addition, every weekend, they host the local farmers’ markets in an old ‘red rattler’ train carriage. Get there early, as once the produce is gone, it’s gone. And there’s lots more. You can sample an amazing array of bee delights at Pure Peninsula Honey, try fresh goat’s cheese (and pat baby goats) at Main Ridge Dairy, pick berries at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, crunch on fresh apples and down ciders at Mock Red Hill, or taste estate-grown olive oil over lunch in a gorgeous setting at Green Olive at Red Hill.  The more time you spend on the Mornington Peninsula, the more you appreciate this remarkable region, its glorious produce and the wonderful characters plating up perfection. Discover the Mornington Peninsula in style by designing your ultimate drive with Avis. With Avis Signature Series you can choose the exact model of BMW or Mercedes you like. Any drive, anywhere. Visit avis.com.au for details.
Life
Explore South African Wine Country
South Africa is one of the hottest travel destinations on earth – discover its allure with Luxury Wine Trails Did you know the origins of South Africa’s Cape Town & Cape Winelands date back to the 17th century? No? Well you’re not alone, as it remains an undiscovered gem for many. A melting-pot of vibrant cultures blended with world-class wine and food, the region offers breath-taking scenery, luxurious hotels, amazing golf courses, warm weather and welcoming locals. That’s what drew Sydney-sider Michael Nash to the region over 10 years ago. With each trip, his eyes opened to the unique potential of creating hand-crafted and immersive journeys for adventurers seeking true ‘bucket-list’ experiences, combining outstanding vineyards, wine, food and luxury accommodation, with spectacular scenery, local art, culture, architecture, flora and fauna. And so Luxury Wine Trails was born! TRAVEL WITHOUT COMPROMISE
From the moment you arrive, everything is included with Luxury Wine Trails. 5-star hotels in the city and vines, fine dining, premium paired wines, exclusive vineyard tastings, expert local guides, luxury transport and more. You’ll explore the stunning Cape coast, heritage listed wild-flower kingdom and world famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. On your rest day, enjoy golf at a championship course in the vines or a stunning spa treatment. EXPERIENCES MONEY CAN’T BUY
What sets Luxury Wine Trails even further apart is the unprecedented access to people and places you simply can’t book. In intimate groups of just 20, enjoy exclusive masterclasses with South Africa’s leading wine writer and show judge, Michael Fridjhon, and the country’s most celebrated food + wine author, Katinka van Niekerk. Enjoy an invitation-only dinner with four of the region’s leading winemakers at a spectacular vineyard, a masterclass with Riedel, chats with your executive chefs,  and high tea at the historic Belmond Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town. If you’re keen to explore South Africa’s wine regions, enjoy sumptuous food and experience an amazing culture, this is the tour for you. You can even add a 3 or 4 day luxury safari pre/post tour! + Special offer for Wine Selectors Members and Selector readers With dates departing Cape Town in Jan, Feb, April and May 2018, book now and quote #LWT.Selector to save $AUD1600 per couple! Plus, receive six premium South African wines valued at over $250 (limited to one pack per booking), when you book a 1st half 2018 tour by Dec 15, 2017. Visit luxurywinetrails.com.au or  call 1 800 087 245 for more details.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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