How To Spend A Weekend In Hunter Valley

Food Guide, Travel / 11 August 2023
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How To Spend A Weekend In Hunter Valley

Food Guide, Travel / 11 August 2023

Escape the city hustle and treat yourself to a weekend of pure indulgence in the Hunter Valley!

Escape to the allure of Hunter Valley, where world-renowned wineries, luxurious accommodations, and top-tier dining await. Whether you’re a wine lover, a foodie, or simply in search of relaxation, this charming region offers the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable weekend getaway.

Where to eat:

Jimmy Joans

Nestled in Lovedale, Jimmy Joans exudes a charming allure that beckons travelers for a pit stop. Its vintage furnishings lend an air of nostalgia, making guests feel right at home. Whether you’re basking in the sunshine in the outdoor dining area or embracing the cosy interior, the ambiance is nothing short of delightful. Kim Starkey, the owner, pays homage to her grandparents, Jim and Joan Moyle, through the name “Jimmy Jones,” infusing a heartwarming family touch that resonates with guests.

Open from dawn to dusk, Jimmy Jones offers a menu that’s uncomplicated yet delicious. With gastro-pub classics like Chicken & Leek Pie, Lamb Ragu, and Jack’s Creek Sirloin, to more refined dishes like Burrata & Oxheart Tomato, Sashimi, and a bloody good Scotch Egg, there’s something for everyone. Jimmy Joans proudly celebrates local produce, making each dish a tribute to the region’s flavours.

Yellow Billy

Yellow Billy shines as Pokolbin’s culinary gem, garnering a prestigious Hat in the 2023 Good Food Guide Awards. Fire takes center stage at this venue with a unique, custom-made fire pit gracing the dining experience. The art of cooking proteins and vegetables over an open flame adds incredible depth of flavour, creating dishes that transcend the ordinary. The spirit of sharing is woven into the fabric of their menu, designed to bring people together over sumptuous feasts.

Delicious menu options include Pukara Estate Lamb Rump with pit-fired red peppers and the Red Gate Farm BBQ Spatchcock served alongside miso ginger cabbage. Yellow Billy also boasts an incredible wine list featuring the best of the Hunter Valley.


Embark on an enchanting journey that transcends mere dining at EXP. We suggest securing a spot at the bar where the chef’s seamless coordination and precision can unfold in front of your eyes. Holding a prestigious Hat in the 2023 Good Food Guide Awards, EXP. epitomises excellence in every facet.

The menu serves as a tribute to premium produce and wines sourced from the region, a testament to the vision of owner and head chef Frank Fawkner. The offerings include Bluefin Tuna, Red Gate Farm Duck, and Wagyu Flank Steak, though their presentation on the plate far surpasses expectations.

For an extraordinary experience, indulge in the Chef’s EXP.erience menu, a multi-course degustation that guarantees hours of culinary delight.


Situated within the beautiful Spicers Vineyards Estate, Restaurant Botanica effortlessly captures the surrounding vineyard’s charm and allure. With a dedication to modern Australian cuisine infused with regional flavours, the restaurant crafts dishes that showcase the best of Hunter Valley’s hand-picked ingredients.

At Restaurant Botanica, the philosophy revolves around the concept of chefs as gardeners. The menu features produce picked fresh each morning, perfectly complemented by wines sourced from the Hunter Valley. Breakfast at Restaurant Botanica is a true delight. Begin your day with offerings like Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Homemade Bircher Muesli, and freshly baked croissants with butter and jam.

Muse Kitchen

Discover the hidden gem that is Muse Kitchen, nestled within the picturesque courtyard of Keith Tulloch Wines on Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin. Led by the creative vision of Chef Richmond Rodrigues, this restaurant offers a unique experience that encapsulates the essence of a regional European bistro.

Richmond has committed to celebrating local ingredients and the ever-changing flavours of each season with dishes like Duck Breast with Szechuan carrot and radicchio, Warroo Kangaroo with macadamia satay and pickled cucumber, and Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with gnocchi, white beans, and stracciatella.


Located within the tranquil Spicers Guesthouse, Eremo boasts a contemporary and calming atmosphere. With a cozy fireplace and captivating artwork, the interior design strikes a balance between modernity and comfort.

The menu focuses on modern Italian fare, catering to all tastes. Savour the classics like Wagyu Bresaola, Burrata paired with oxheart tomatoes, Zucchini Flower with salted snapper brandade, Dutch Cream Potato Gnocchi with porcini mascarpone, and Rib Eye Fillet with truffle pecorino and green peppercorn jus. All dishes are executed to perfection, making it a destination worth returning to time and time again.

Where to drink:


Margan is a distinguished family-owned winery, acclaimed for its exceptional wines. Located in the charming Broke Fordwich region of the Hunter Valley, Margan boasts vineyards, a welcoming cellar door, and a renowned restaurant. What sets Margan apart is its commitment to crafting wines that embody the land’s unique character, all grown and made on the estate. The vineyards span over 100 hectares, utilising regenerative agricultural practices and proudly holding a certification for Sustainable Farming.

At the Cellar Door enjoy wine flights with cheese and olive platters. Margan Restaurant offers dishes crafted from sustainable ingredients sourced from their kitchen garden and orchard. From olives and honey to free-range poultry and lambs, all raised on the estate. Don’t miss pairing your meal with their esteemed Margan White Label Chardonnay.

First Creek Wines

Founded by Greg and Jenny Silkman, their dedication to crafting premium wines led them to be shortlisted for Winery of the Year in James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2024. Respectful of the land’s heritage and guided by a vision to elevate Hunter Valley wines, First Creek embodies a blend of history and modernity.

Named after a vital watercourse, the cellar door experience is a journey into the heart of the winery’s artistry. With informative tastings and bookable wine experiences, guests can witness a bustling working winery through the cellar door viewing window. Alternatively, they can unwind on the veranda amidst wide open spaces where kangaroos graze.

Mount Plesant

Set amidst the enchanting vineyard estate, the Mount Pleasant cellar door offers a serene backdrop to indulge in some of Australia’s most renowned wines. Enjoy panoramic vineyard views with a building adorned by lavender bushes creating a truly tranquil ambiance. Choose to bask in the outdoor charm with alfresco seating or inside in the newly revamped space boasting luxury interiors and a unique display of artwork.

Take a guided wine-tasting experience that unveils a century of Mount Pleasant’s legacy in crafting iconic, refined, and expressive wines. We suggest pairing this with an artisanal cheese plate and if you find a cheese you like, the chances are that you can pick it up on your way out.

Usher Tinkler

Nestled within a charmingly renovated church in Pokolbin, Usher Tinkler Wines offers an extraordinary wine-tasting encounter. Owner Usher creates a delightful cellar door experience, showcasing his bold approach that fearlessly strays from conventional winemaking techniques, all in the pursuit of crafting exceptional wines.

Wine highlights include the ‘Death by Semillon’ which shines as a contemporary take on the renowned Semillon of the Hunter Valley. The Prosecco is also impressive with delightful notes of elderflower and the Reserve Shiraz is not to be missed. All of this can be enjoyed with Usher Tinkler’s famous platters which are perfect for groups. Featuring an array of local cheeses, charcuterie, vegetables, dips, and fruits, you will not leave the door hungry.

Brokenwood Wines

Brokenwood stands as one of Australia’s most revered wine labels. Having originated in 1970, they’ve garnered acclaim for their mastery in sourcing premium fruits from the finest regions and crafting exceptional bottles right at their Hunter Valley location. Noteworthy mentions include their exquisite Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the ILR Reserve Semillon, and the entire Cricket Pitch range.

When you step into their cellar door, you’ll be greeted by a unique experience – the tasting pods. Gather in a circular format with the host in the center, immersing yourself in an interactive tasting session. It’s not just about tasting their best wines, but also about learning and engaging in a shared appreciation for the craft. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head next door to their restaurant The Wood, serving up modern Australian cuisine where locally sourced ingredients take the spotlight.

Where to stay:

Spicers Guesthouse

Experience a retreat of unparalleled luxury and serenity at Spicers Guesthouse. The meticulously designed rooms deliver comfort and sophistication where you can truly unwind. Ranging from expansive suites to cosy hideaways, each room is adorned with modern conveniences and decor that harmonises with the natural beauty of the surroundings.

There’s no way you can stay without a dip in the infinity pool… Nestled within a lush landscape, it’s the perfect setting to relish in the sun or take a refreshing plunge.

From the moment of arrival, guests are embraced by the modern country farmhouse ambiance: the rustic charm of sandstone walls, the inviting warmth of a fireplace, and the opulence of plush furnishings. As you explore the sculpted gardens and pergolas adorned with vine leaves, you’ll find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that celebrates Hunter Valley.

While you’re in the area, discover some of the best things to do in Maitland.