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Our Guide To The Most Gorgeous Getaway In The Hunter Valley

Travel

The Hunter Valley’s reputation for rustic sophistication is well deserved, but can sometimes eclipse the area’s other equally enticing attractions. *Hint hint* There’s a lot more to this region than beautiful wine (though there is a LOT of that)!

Beyond the stunning scenery and world-class wineries lie cute cafes attached to flower stores, galleries buried in bushland, and a divine accommodation offering perched atop a lily pond! Still need convincing? Read on for The Design Files’ hit-list of places to eat, drink, see + stay!

30th April, 2021

The view out over the Brokenback Ranges surrounding Krinklewood. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 30th April 2021

I say ‘Hunter Valley’ and you say ‘wine’! But there is more to this layered, historical slice of New South Wales countryside than viticulture (even though the first vineyards popped up here in the early 1800s!). 

Located just 120 kilometres north of Sydney, the area’s abundant, lush terrain and surrounding mountain range is its distinctive hallmark; but the Hunter region is actually on the fringe of the coast – at most an hour’s drive inland from Newcastle. It’s filled with florists, boutique shops, local providores and, of course, a smorgasbord of places to wine and dine. 

Let us be your guide to some of the hottest spots to visit.

Krinklewood Winery was established in 1981 and now is a certified organic biodynamic vineyard. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A cheese platter at their cellar door. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The French provincial aesthetic Krinklewood fits the gorgeous country location. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Wander the gardens at Krinklewood, which is also available as a wedding venue. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A peacock roaming among the grapes at Krinklewood. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The cellar door is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday; but open until 5pm on Friday and Saturday; and until 4pm on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The ivy covered barn. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A picture-perfect country estate! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

DRINK

Krinklewood Estate

This winery dates back to 1981, becoming a certified organic biodynamic vineyard by 2007. Sip this unique, hyper-local drop on-site at the estate, or purchase straight from the cellar door. Krinklewood‘s rambling French provincial aesthetic is perfectly fitting against the mountainous Brokenback Range backdrop.

712 Wollombi Road, Broke

Muse Kitchen is the sister restaurant of Muse Dining at Keith Tulloch Winery. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

It’s a petit bistro-style restaurant serving local ingredients prepared with European techniques. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Muse Kitchen menu items include local market fish, pork cutlets from Bangalow and smoked potato croquettes. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Restaurant Kawul is owned by Kassidy and Scott Waters, who are Wanaruah people, and serves contemporary food with an emphasis on local and native ingredients. Their avocado on toast boasts pepperberry hummus and a finger lime garnish! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Restaurant Kawul is situated on the glorious wrap-around verandah at Calais Estate. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Artisan chocolatier Cocoa Nib is the lifelong dream of trained confectionery chef and Koko Black alum, Aymee Slaviero. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The Cocoa Nib shopfront is located at Keith Tulloch Winery. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Each chocolate from Cocoa Nib is handmade and painted in glorious colours. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

EAT

Restaurant Kawul

Owners of Restaurant Kawul, Kassidy and Scott Waters, are Wanaruah people, and have devised their breakfast, lunch and dinner menu to feature as many local and native ingredients as possible. Think salt-bush polenta chips, mushroom shepherd’s pie with wattleseed and Daintree barramundi with lemon myrtle.

Calais Estate, 151 Palmers Lane, Pokolbin

Muse Kitchen

This bistro-style restaurant focuses on simple food done extraordinarily well, using produce from local farmers and suppliers! Menu items at Muse Kitchen include a charcuterie board comprising meats from nearby Branxton, Bangalow pork cutlets and smoked potato croquettes. 

989 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin

Cocoa Nib

Artisan chocolatier Cocoa Nib is the lifelong dream of trained confectionery chef and Koko Black alum, Aymee Slaviero. Each chocolate is handmade from French couverture chocolate and hand-painted with incredible colourful designs.

Keith Tulloch Winery, 989 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin

Worn Out Wares cafe has been operating for 17 years. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The breakfast spread at Worn Out Wares is a destination throughout the region! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Owned and run by Louise Christensen and her three daughters, Worn Out Wares houses a cafe, homewares store and florist under the same roof. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The adjacent flower store at Worn Out Wares is called Wow Flowers. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A spectacular setting for a snack and a coffee. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A dark and moody detail corner of Worn Out Wares contains so much detail. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The gift and homewares store at Worn Out Wares. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

COFFEE

Worn Out Wares

February marked 17 years in the biz for cafe Worn Out Wares, which is run by local Louise Christensen and her three daughters. Besides a breakfast, lunch and snack menu made from locally sourced produce, the family operate their floral business Wow Flowers in the same space.

This gorgeous small business filled with love encapsulates the humble, uncomplicated vibe of the Hunter Valley!

41-43 George Street, Singleton

Owners Sarah and Joel opened Fetch in 2014. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Fetch contains a great lineup of local designers, makers and artists as well as some favourite national brands. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The store is tucked into Peppers Creek Village beside Pokolbin. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Fetch owner, Sarah. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Such a colourful and expansive lineup of makers! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

SHOP

Fetch

Nestled between wineries in the Peppers Creek Village beside Pokolbin, Fetch Store stocks art, homewares, furniture and design pieces by local makers and big name Australian brands. This is the kind of place you can’t help but leave with a knick knack or two… or three! 

1946 Broke Road, Pokolbin

Leaves and Fishes started as a restaurant in 2004, and has now expanded to include a homewares shop and boutique accommodation. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Consisting of just four boathouses jutting out over the property’s pond, Leaves and Fishes is an incredibly intimate and secluded overnight spot. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The lilypond at Leaves and Fishes is a sight to behold from the deck of your own private boathouse. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Each boathouse is fitted with all the mod-cons to make your stay super comfortable. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The most beautiful, tranquil outlook imaginable! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The entrance to Leaves and Fishes restaurant, store and accommodation. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The store at Leaves and Fishes is a treasure trove of rustic pieces. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Gorgeous ceramic homewares for sale. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

A rambling rustic aesthetic is on offer! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

STAY

Leaves and Fishes

Leaves and Fishes started as a restaurant in 2004, and expanded to include a stunning accommodation lodge in the following years. Housing just four couples at a time, each room is a standalone boathouse that cantilevers out over a lilypad-filled pond! The venue also boasts a beautiful rustic homewares and furniture store, with an adjacent snack nook offering coffee and cake.

Is there anything more serene than sitting on your own private deck and looking out over rippling water to the trees beyond?

737 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale

Watershed Gallery was opened by locals Ron and Lyn Hammond in 2019. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

It features over 30 contemporary artists, whose works are available for display and sale. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The light, bright space at Watershed Gallery. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Formerly the Possum’s Retreat BnB, the site now holds Watershed Gallery and its adjacent accommodation. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The perfect afternoon activity! Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The gallery is nestled in the bushy Pokolbin surrounds. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

DO

Watershed Gallery

Run by locals Ron and Lyn Hammond since its opening in 2019, Watershed Gallery displays and sells art by over 30 contemporary artists.

There is also accommodation on-site, if you fancy a stay!

621 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin

Keen to gather your things and head straight to the Hunter Valley? Us too! Find out more about the Hunter Valley and the surrounding areas at winecountry.com. And for more NSW travel inspiration head to VisitNSW.com.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net