lr Our designer, Larissa Raywood, just returned from The Hunter Valley from a weekend well spent. She’s returned, relaxed, rejuvenated and full of fabulous ideas from where to stay to whats best to try when wining and dining your way through this beautiful region. The Hunter is home to over 150 wineries so theres plenty keep your glass full. To Stay: 10394608_731504400237797_1968911628373575884_n-e1425512707515 Carriages Boutique Accommodation
 Halls Road, Pokolbin 2320 If you want to stay somewhere magical, boutique and quintessentially country – this is your place. The Carriages House is  is a twin-gabled country house featuring 8 ensuite rooms and a big sunny verandah to relax on. There are 6 rooms along the front each with French doors opening onto the verandah, and 2 king rooms upstairs with private staircases from the back garden. With a country breakfast basket (with fresh, local bakery goodies) delivered to your door every morning – if the wineries weren’t so tempting you wouldn’t need to leave this estate. Did we mention the salt water pool – perfect for cooling off after a bike ride through the vineyards. Their hand-crafted single vineyard wine is also exceptional. They grow only 2 grape varietals (Chardonnay and Shiraz ) which you drive through as soon as you enter the property. SO even if you don’t stay, its worth a visit to their tiny cellar door! 14095_The-Carriages-Boutique-Hotel-04 14129_the-carriages-verandah-suite1 TO EAT: Screen-Shot-2015-03-05-at-9.41.39-AM Muse Restaurant  Hungerford Hill Wines Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320 Muse is a two hatted restaurant tucked away in the valley offering a season-driven Contemporary Australian menu. Troy’s food is fresh and exciting without overcomplicating the ingredients and only utilising high quality produce, sourcing locally whenever possible, Troy’s dishes display technique and respect. Screen-Shot-2015-03-05-at-10.55.04-AM Circa 1876 Restaurant
 64 Halls Road Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia With decor that literally takes you back to 1876 as you dine, this little restaurant is housed in a heritage listed cottage but their food on offer is modern, fresh and artfully presented. Screen-Shot-2015-03-05-at-11.06.22-AM Restaurant Botanica
 555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320 Situated at the picturesque vineyard guesthouse retreat, Spicers Vineyards Estate, Restaurant Botanica reflects its’ beautiful vineyard surrounds and provides guests with a special, fresh approach to Hunter Valley dining. To Drink: Screen-Shot-2015-03-05-at-10.36.15-AM IMG_51401 Harkham Winery
 266 Debeyers Road, Pokolbin _NSW, 2320 Hand-picked, single vineyard, preservative free, biodynamic, and organic. Yes please. With their minimalist approach to wines and craftsmanship that is pure and honest this is a highly recommended cellar door to visit. These unique selections of wine become a snapshot of where the wine came from –  and the year that it represents. From the nutrients in the soil, the sun, rain, and entire environment in which those grapes were grown give the wine its characteristics. We had amazing wine talk with the owner Richie Harkham, who’s grandmother started the family method of preservative free wine. Definitely worth a visit to pick up a bottle or two!   Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard
 712 Wollombi Road Broke  NSW  2330 Their French inspired boutique Hunter winery and cellar door is set amongst Provencal gardens, urns and fountains with the Wollombi Brook and Brokenback Range providing a spectacular backdrop. And the roaming peacocks + chooks make you feel like you’ve stepped out of Pokolbin and into Bordeaux.  Not only are their wines certified organic, every aspect of the vineyard and farm is managed in a biodynamic, organic, wholistic and sustainable way which is evident in the individuality and superior quality of the wines. Ask to try to ‘the egg’ chardonnay where the wine is fermented in these cement eggs – they believe the overall complexity and smoothness of character to be a direct result from the time spent in the fermentation egg.   Keith Tulloch Wine
 Corner Hermitage & Deasys Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320 A different kind of tasting, Keith Tulloch Wine makes you sit back and relax as its executed as a ‘sitting tasting’ as you can choose to sit within their traditional interior on couches, chairs or at tables – alternatively our pick was to sit on the verandah overlooking the beautiful vineyard. Service is exceptional with well knowledgeable staff presenting an array of fantastic wines for tasting. A perfect stop at the end of your day to ‘wine down.’