The Pokolbin district, in the Lower Hunter Valley in New South Wales, is one of Australia's premier wine regions. Viticulture in the region has a long history, the first vineyards being established in the 1850's.
Pokolbin is something of a cross between a village and a district: it's a collection of vineyards and very small villages (Lovedale, Mount View and Rothbury), it doesn't have a single center that could be thought of as a township.
- Hunter Valley Gardens, 2090 Broke Rd, ☎ +61 2 4998-4000. Daily 9am-5pm. These magnificent gardens are of a horticultural standard you won't see elsewhere in Australia.
- Hot-air ballooning. Balloon Aloft 1 800 028 568, Hunter Valley Hot-Air Ballooning (1800 818 191).
- Jazz in the Vines. A popular event held in October, hosted by Tyrrell's Winery.
- A Day on the Green. A concert hosted each year by Bimbadgen Estate.
- Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, DeBeyers Rd, +61 2 4998 7411. M-F, 9.30am-5pm. Widely regarded as the first vineyard in the Pokolbin district.
- Bimbadgen Estate, 790 McDonalds Rd, ☎ +61 2 4998 7585.
- Brokenwood Wines, 401-427 McDonalds Rd, ☎ +61 2 499 87559, fax: +61 2 499 87893.
- Hermitage Road Cellars at Hunter Resort +61 2 4998 7777. Daily tours at 9am, 11am & 2pm (booking required).
- McGuigan Cellars McDonalds Rd, +61 2 4998 7402. The McGuigan's complex houses McGuigan Fine Wines, the Hunter Valley Cheese Company and the Chocolate and Fudge Shop.
- Lindemans Ben Ean McDonalds Rd, +61 2 4998 7684. Open for tastings M-F 10am - 5pm, closed Christmas Day, Good Friday and New Years Day.
- McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate, Marrowbone Rd, +61 2 4998 7505. Established in 1921, McWilliams is the largest Australian family owned wine company in the country. Daily 10am-4.30pm. Guided tours $2.20/person.
- Oakvale, Broke Rd, ☎ +61 2 4998 7088, fax: +61 2 4998 7077. Often has value for money wines at the cheaper end of the price range.
- Pepper Tree Wines Halls Road, +61 2 4998 7539. The tasting room is surrounded by beautiful grounds and gardens. A good place to follow up wine tasting with a picnic. Open M-F 9am - 5pm, Sa & Su 9.30am - 5pm.
- Rothbury Estate Broke Road, +61 2 4998 7363. Open 7 days 9.30am - 4.30 pm.
- Tower Estate Wines Cnr Halls and Broke Rd, +61 2 4998 7989. Open 7 days 10am - 5 pm.
- Tyrell's Vineyards Broke Road, +61 2 4993 7000. One of the region's oldest vineyards. Open M-Sa. Winery tours are held at 1.30pm.
Be aware that many restaurants pay to be listed in tourist guidebooks and are exhorbitantly priced. It may be better to ask a local for recommendations. Rock Restaurant and Bistro Molines at Tallavera Estate are the only restaurants in Pokolbin to be awarded a chef's hat and both have a very good reputation. Other excellent restaurants are Shakey Tables, Esca at Bimbadgen Estate (especially for the wood-fired duck, which is the restaurant's speciality) and Cracked Pepper at de Iulius Estate.
- The Mill Restaurant, Tuscany Wine Estate, cnr Hermitage Rd & Mistletoe Lane, ☎ +61 2 4998 7288, fax: +61 2 4998 7277.
- Amanda's On the Edge Restaurant, McDonald's Rd, ☎ +61 2 498 7900. A very popular restaurant. It seems to be the only restaurant in this part of the Hunter Valley that is not a winery too.
- The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley, 336 Oakey Creek Road, ☎ +61 2 4998 7680. Hunter Valley hotel offering boutique Hunter Valley accommodation in Pokolbin. Located 2hrs from Sydney, this Pokolbin hotel is ideally positioned to experience Hunter Valley wineries and attractions.
- Mercure Grand Hunter Valley, Vintage Drive, off MacDonalds Road, Rothbury NSW 2320, ☎ +61 2 4998 2222, fax: +61 2 4998 2200, e-mail: email@example.com. Contemporary one and two-bedroom apartments with gas fireplaces, doonas and fully self-contained. Apartments cost approx $230 - $390 per night.
- Visit the historic village of Wollombi.