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Wine and dine in style, cuddle up to alpacas and go truffle hunting: You can dream now, travel later

It’s never too early to start planning your next great escape. Here are some spectacular wine and food regions in New South Wales to get you holiday dreaming in 21

The New South Wales wine regions offer a diverse range of food and wine experiences, including the charming High Tea amidst the grape vines at Cambewarra Estate Winery, in the Shoalhaven Coast.
The New South Wales wine regions offer a diverse range of food and wine experiences, including the charming High Tea amidst the grape vines at Cambewarra Estate Winery, in the Shoalhaven Coast.PHOTO: DESTINATION NSW

While 2020 kept us homebound, 2021 is the year we will be able to fuel all that pent up wanderlust. It’s never too early to start planning and dreaming of your perfect, much-needed escape, in glorious anticipation for the time when you can jet off to that dream destination.

Sipping fine wine, diving into delicious cuisine, revelling in the great outdoors and exploring wine regions will be top must-dos on travel itineraries, and these six spectacular wine regions, Hunter Valley, Canberra District, Mudgee, Orange, Shoalhaven Coast, Southern Highlands, in New South Wales (NSW) will check all those boxes.

So, while 2020 may have thrown a wet blanket over all your travel plans – we know because we spoke with people who had to postpone their honeymoon, cancel their girlfriend getaway and break their annual family vacay ritual – you can now finally get set to do what you want in 2021 (by the way, did you know that NSW’s postal code happens to be 21, too?).

 

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning a wine, food and family adventure in Shoalhaven Coast

MISS TRAVELLING WITH THE KIDS: Managing director Joscelin Kwek-Gan, 39, who has two sons who are eight and five, says the family misses travelling, “and even being able to look forward to the next trip”. Joscelin says, “Our itinerary needs to appeal to both kids and adults, with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Foodwise, we like casual fast food and cafes, but my husband and I also make sure to research and book a few stylish restaurants so we can unwind over dinner with a couple of glasses of wine.”

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine

Shoalhaven Coast is a food, wine, nature and adventure lovers’ paradise. Enjoy the outdoors with a vineyard picnic at Cupitt’s Estate. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Cambewarra Estate Winery

Cambewarra Estate Winery

Aside from the cellar door and restaurant, you can have high tea in a giant pink tea cup, next to the chardonnay vineyards! The VIP HIGH TEA experience (10am to 3pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday) includes exclusive access to the cup for 90min (it seats three), a bottle of bubbles, high tea delicacies, and a Polaroid shot. Visit cambewarraestate.com.au

 

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Paperbark Camp

Paperbark Camp

This 13-tent camp offers fine food and wine, cosy canvas accommodation and a peaceful bush setting – the perfect base from which to explore the clear waters and white sand beaches of Jervis Bay. Visit paperbarkcamp.com.au

 

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Bangalay Luxury Villas

Bangalay Luxury Villas

For those who appreciate well-designed luxury accommodation, Bangalay’s villas, set amidst the backdrop of coastal national park and Shoalhaven Heads golf course, is the ideal destination. Don’t miss taking an unforgettable horseback ride along Seven Mile Beach. See bangalayvillas.com.au

 

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay

Spot dolphins and seals all year round, and whales from May to November, in the pristine waters of Jervis Bay. The area is also home to several museums, and natural wonders such as the Kiama Blowhole. Visit discoverjervisbay.com.au

 

Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Jim Wild's Oysters

Jim Wild’s Oysters

Make an advance reservation for a tour, where owner and champion oyster opener Jim explains the life cycle of an oyster, from spawning to the table, with examples of each stage, including sampling of freshly shucked oysters harvested from the estuary of the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven Rivers. Visit facebook.com/JimWildsOysterService

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning to wine and dine with the girls in Southern Highlands

MISSING GIRLFRIEND GETAWAYS: Director of ad sales and partnerships Jennifer Ho, 48, says she used to travel regularly with her girlfriends before Covid-19 struck. “I travelled three to four times a year for girly trips, with different girlfriends for different activities,” she reveals. “There are some for wine and food, and others for hiking. Food’s important to me – I’m the kind who does prior research to make sure I sample the best cuisine the place has to offer. I’m optimistic we’ll get to go some place soon.”

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine
The best time to visit the Southern Highlands is between March to May. Enjoy a glass of your favourite wine with a view of autumnal leaves in areas like Bowral. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, PepperGreen Estate

PepperGreen Estate

This vineyard is nestled in the slopes of Canyonleigh, and produces award-winning cool climate wines, but you’re able to taste the wines at their Cellar Door in Berrima. PepperGreen also has its own olive grove and you can ask to sample their Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the Cellar Door, too. Try the PepperGreen Estate Hosted Wine and Dine Experience where a sample tasting will be followed by a three-course menu accompanied with a glass of your favourite from the tasting. Visit peppergreenestate.com.au

 

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Wild Food Adventures

Wild Food Adventures

This tour company organises delightful immersive experiences crafted to unveil the best of the wine region. Its signature tours include the Canoes, Cool Climate Wines and Canapes adventure, that takes you through the waterway of Kangaroo Valley, accompanied by wild native canapés and a local award-winning wine. After that, you’ll be transferred to a vineyard for a paddock-to-plate lunch, followed by a final stop at Cherry Tree Hill Winery. During June to mid-August, Wild Food Adventures also offers Truffle Hunts with Lunch, where you’ll join a truffle hunt and see how the dogs unearth the truffle from the tree roots, and then enjoy a two-course lunch, featuring these treasures. Visit wildfoodadventures.com.au

Photo: Exp Nature Group

 

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Bendooley Estate, Berrima

This iconic antiquarian bookstore-in-a-barn, with its lofty ceilings, dramatic candelabras and massive book-lined shelves also houses a restaurant and Cellar Door. Steeped in history, the gardens are a fine example of early 19th-century geometric style. The luxurious cottages within the 200-acre property are an ideal base from which to explore charming Berrima, considered Australia’s best-preserved Georgian village. Check out bendooleyestate.com.au

 

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Tulip Time Festival

Tulip Time Festival

From Sept 17 to Oct 4, 2021, get set to experience a kaleidoscope of tulips carpeting public gardens and premier private gardens in Bowral, with Corbett Gardens as its epicentre. Think 75,000 mass-planted tulips, live music, market stalls and, of course, lots of photo opportunities. Stay updated at visitsouthernhighlands.com.au

 

Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Eschalot

Eschalot

Located in the heart of Berrima, this restaurant run by Chef Matty Roberts serves up an authentic paddock-to-plate Southern Highlands dining experience, using local ingredients to create global flavours, such as roasted cauliflower with shitake and hazelnut, pork belly with Szechuan plum, lemon yoghurt and samphire. Visit eschalot.com.au

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning for a fabulous food and wine vacation in Orange

WANDERLUSTING FOOD LOVER: While many people plan their travel itineraries around iconic tourist attractions, brand and communications manager Tan Min Yan, 33, plans hers around good restaurants and bars. Min Yan says, “Visiting the sights is a way to pass time until my next meal or drink. Besides making reservations for top restaurants, I like to try my luck stumbling upon neighbourhood eateries less patronised by tourists. Once we’re all able to travel safely again, I’ll be headed straight back to finding my next favourite local joint as yet discovered by Instagrammers.”

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine
Perfect for those who plan their holidays round good food, Orange is known for its food and wine scene. Have the best of cool climate wines with delicious dishes made from Orange’s incredible produce. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Philip Shaw Wines

Philip Shaw Wines

The cellar door, located in a beautiful 130-year-old Bluestone barn with stunning surrounding gardens, is perfect for enjoying a range of wine and food tasting experiences. You can also Book a Picnic in the Gardens (need two day’s advance booking) which includes a lunch and graze basket by Enjoy Orange featuring locally-sourced food items and produce, and a bottle of Philip Shaw Character Series wine. Visit philipshaw.com.au

 

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Borrodell Estate

Borrodell Estate

In addition to wine tastings, go truffle hunting here in the snow, between mid-June to early September. Other times of the year, you get to experience blossoms and budburst in spring, soak up the sun in summer, or admire fiery autumnal hues in Fall. The rich volcanic soils and 1,000-metre elevation ensure the best of cool climate wines. While there, make it a point to dine at Sister’s Rock Restaurant. One of Orange’s best restaurants, it’s situated at the top of Borrodell vineyard so you can take in beautiful views of the estate as you enjoy the delicious dishes starring Orange’s incredible produce. Visit borrodell.com.au

 

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Charred Kitchen & Bar

Charred Kitchen & Bar

Locally-sourced produce cooked in a large purpose-built wood and charcoal oven is accompanied by an award-winning wine list showcasing the skill and artistry of local wine producers. Visit charred.com.au

 

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Orange F.O.O.D Week

Orange F.O.O.D Week

Held every autumn harvest and vintage season since 1991, this is Australia’s longest-running regional food and wine festival. Every year, visitors can expect a special line-up of gourmet events including tasting trail walking tours, winery tours, masterclasses, and farmers markets to savour the local produce. Check out the calendar for the 10-day event at orangefoodweek.com.au

 

Orange, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Hillside Harvest

Hillside Harvest

This 75-acre property yields cherries, apples, pears, stone fruit and berries you can purchase from their farm stall. Better still, pick them yourself between November through to April! Tip: Cherry picking happens in summer, from mid-November to end-January. It’s also a nice place to stop for coffee and pick up homemade jams and sauces. Check out hillsideharvest.com.au

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning a scenic food and wine road trip to the Canberra District

CRAVING LONG DRIVES: Plastic surgeon Leslie Kuek, 63, loves taking road trips. He shares, “I love driving holidays, whether along the coast, through the countryside, or up winding mountain roads – especially in a vintage sports car. And ending each day with a leisurely meal at a fine dining restaurant, with an extensive wine list.”

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine
Plan a road trip to explore the best of Sydney to the Canberra District, and when you get there, have a luxurious picnic at Poachers Pantry. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Clonakilla

Clonakilla

An essential stop for a cellar door tasting of their Shiraz, as, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Some argue this is Australia’s greatest red wine, it is certainly one of the greatest Shirazs”. If you’re looking to pick a bottle to savour, go for the flagship Shiraz Viognier 2014, a wonderfully fragrant, dark-fruited wine from Clonakilla’s Murrumbateman vineyard. Visit clonakilla.com.au

 

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Shaw Wines

Shaw Wines

For a unique, unforgettable packaged wine experience, fly by private jet from Sydney to Canberra Airport, then take a scenic helicopter ride over wine country to Shaw Wines. There, you will have a seated tasting of Shaw Estate Range wines, followed by a three-course lunch with wine pairing. If you’re self-driving around the region, drop by and relax with a glass of wine and a Vineyard platter, as you soak in the expansive views. Check out shawwines.com.au/shaw-escapes/

Photos: Shaw Escapes

 

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Poachers Pantry

Poachers Pantry

From simple beginnings 25 years ago as an artisan smokehouse, this has grown to encompass the Smokehouse Restaurant, the Wily Trout Vineyard, farm shop, and cellar door. Pick up a picnic hamper or some delicious smoked meats, or stay for lunch. Visit poacherspantry.com.au

 

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Blackwattle Alpaca Farm

Blackwattle Alpaca Farm

Surrounded by wineries and views of the Brindabella Range, this working farm offers picturesque views – and a chance to hang out and snap a few selfies with long-lashed alpacas. The super cute alpaca stuffed toys from the gift shop, made of alpaca yarn (of course) make adorable souvenirs. Prefer to take home a handmade souvenir? Sign up for one of the many workshops on the farm, including a felting soap and beginners dye workshop. Visit blackwattlealpacas.com.au

Photo: Blackwattle Alpaca Farm

 

Canberra District, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Robyn Rowe Chocolates

Robyn Rowe Chocolates

Award-winning chocolate maker Robyn Rowe aims to create beautiful products for people to enjoy. So you’ll be able to find handcrafted treats made with Belgian Callebaut Fair Trade couverture, featuring flavours like jasmine green tea, ginger, French vanilla and Irish cream. They are the perfect road-trip pick-me-up, or gifts to bring home. Visit robynrowechocolates.com.au

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning for a honeymoon with the finest wines in the Hunter Valley

HONEYMOON POSTPONED: Private investor Gautam Bhojwani, 31, and holistic health coach Nooky, 32, got married on Dec 7, 2019, after one year’s planning. They were looking forward to their 10-day honeymoon in March 2020, but had to cancel due to the pandemic. Gautam shares, “We cancelled a few days prior, in a state of despair, as our parents were very concerned about the Covid-travel situation. Our honeymoon should be all about pampering ourselves, in a mountainous region, or around animals and nature, and creating memories that will last us a lifetime.”

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine
The Hunter Valley has more wine cellar doors than any other wine region in Australia. Enjoy a romantic picnic among the vineyards, or a meal in one of the many acclaimed wineries and restaurants. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Balloon Aloft

Balloon Aloft

Start planning for an unforgettable romantic honeymooning morning with an hour-long sunrise hot air balloon flight over the picturesque Hunter Valley wine country, followed by a sparkling wine breakfast upon touchdown. Visit balloonaloft.com

 

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Tulloch Wines

Tulloch Wines

Sample iconic wines of this 125-year-old family-run winery with the Hunter Heroes & Global Flavours experience, or book the half-day Hunter Wine, Seafood & BBQ that includes a tasting of their premium wines, and a barbecue lunch. You’ve got to try their Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz. Visit tullochwines.com

 

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Bistro Molines

Bistro Molines

Awarded SMH Good Food Guide Chef's Hat nine straight years in a row from 2009-2018, this rustic-chic venue, with wrought iron chairs, candelabras, white painted cupboards, and paved courtyard overlooking vineyards is a delicious slice of Provence, right down to its menu. We hear the steak tartare and homemade gnocchi are must-tries. Visit bistromolines.com.au

 

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Tyrrell's Wines

Tyrrell’s Wines

There are several tasting experiences which will make any wine lover’s trip to this 160-year winery extra-memorable. Join the VIP Tour and Tasting Experience and you will have a member of the winemaking team take you on an exploration of the vineyard and behind the scenes in the winery. You’ll have a barrel tasting, followed by a masterclass of Tyrrell’s award-winning wines. Visit tyrrells.com.au

 

Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Llama Walking Tours, The Llama Collective

Llama Walking Tours

Take a one-hour guided walk through Ben Ean vineyard at Pokolbin, against the backdrop of Broken Back Mountain Range, with your new BFF – a friendly llama! You’ll be briefed on llama handling and safety tips beforehand, and there’ll be plenty of Instagram-worthy moments from the time you set off. Visit thellamacollective.com.au

Photo: The Llama Collective

 

Get it done in 21: Start planning to enjoy fine wine and the great outdoors in Mudgee

ENOUGH OF LOCAL TRAILS: Pearlin Siow, 44, founder of a boutique publishing agency, has always enjoyed hiking during her travels, but “unable to travel in 2020, I decided to explore Singapore’s parks and nature trails”. However, the heat and humidity are drawbacks. She adds, “It’s too hot and humid! I can’t wait to experience outdoor life overseas again, in a temperate country… glamping, long walks along secluded beaches, and hiking and biking for miles without sweating buckets.”

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine
It’s a weekend favourite for Sydneysiders and it’s obvious why. Mudgee is a quick getaway to the country, yet continues to please with great wine and food. PHOTOS: ALL IMAGES FROM DESTINATION NSW, UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

 

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, De Beaurepaire Wines

De Beaurepaire Wines

The historic cellar door within 170-year-old stables offers sweeping vineyard views. Experiences include A Sparkling Affair, with matched French-style sparkling wines and canapes; and Long Lunch in the Vines, an annual event encompassing great wine, food and music. Visit debeaurepairewines.com

 

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Logan Wines

Logan Wines

Voted Best Cellar Door Experience by Australian Gourmet Traveller, this boutique winery offers styles from shiraz to sauvignon blanc, to accompany cheese and antipasto plates, or coffee and homemade cake. Tip: The all-glass tasting room is a true sight to behold. Visit loganwines.com.au

 

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Baker Williams Distillery

Baker Williams Distillery

Think handcrafted gin, vodka, whisky and liqueur focusing on regional flavours and influences. This micro distillery is part of the growing craft distillery industry in Australia, and is known for its Butterscotch Schnapps (perfect with desserts), Lemon Myrtle liqueur, and Orangecello that tastes like liquid marmalade. Visit bakerwilliams.com.au

 

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Sierra Escape

Sierra Escape

Surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and breathtaking views, Sierra Escape lets you bed down in a roomy adults-only glamping tent (measuring 27 to 54 sq m). Have a relaxing bath, toast marshmallows, or view the sunset on the deck, with a glass of Mudgee wine in hand, while spotting kangaroos, deer, and other kinds of native wildlife. For details, visit sierraescape.com.au

 

Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, Wine, Mudgee Honey Haven

Mudgee Honey Haven

This working apiary offers a wide selection of honey, an 18-hole putting golf course the kids will enjoy, and a gift shop selling olive oil, natural beauty and skincare products, jams and chutneys. It’s the perfect place to pick up gifts for folks back home, and the café is also a fab spot to rest tired limbs while indulging in corned beef toasties. To book a honey-tasting session, visit mudgeehoneyhaven.com.au

 

* All photos from Destination NSW, unless stated otherwise.

Find out more about the wine regions at sydney.com
For your travel planning and inspiration, visit Dynasty Travel.