The Hunter Valley region has made its reputation for great Australian winemaking, but, over time, lots of other fantastic food, wine, beer, spirits, entertainment, arts, and culture businesses have added to this thriving tourist destination.
The iHop Hop-on Hop-off bus service is a great way to get around and see as much of the Central Pokolbin area as you want, all at your own pace. So let’s look at some destinations on the route that offer various options!
Hop 3 – Tamburlaine Wines
Tamburlaine Wines offers a point of difference, having committed to producing ‘organic’ and “vegan-friendly” wines. For anyone interested in winemaking, it’s interesting to learn how winemakers meet this challenge as the consumer demand for organic wine takes off worldwide. Established in 1966, Tamburlaine Wines (named after Christopher Marlowe’s famous play and character ‘Tamburlaine the Great’) has stayed committed to its vision to produce vegan-friendly, low sulphur and no added sulphur wines. It has won many awards and has become one of Australia’s largest producers of Organic wine.
Hop 5 – Ben Ean
Ben Ean (formerly Lindeman’s) is arguably one of the most beautiful properties in the region. It offers a range of winemakers at one location for tastings and some fantastic specialty shops onsite. It boasts the Baume restaurant, which is well known for its excellent food, and The Still House offering a series of “meet the winemaker” lunches – special events – private tastings, and lunch with the winemaker who will share winemaking philosophies, stories, and of course, the wines!
Hop 6 – Hunter Valley Gardens & Shopping Village
Let’s now go to the gardens. The Hunter Valley Gardens are beautifully manicured gardens you can stroll and picnic in, and some of the prettiest foliage you’ll ever see. Every year the Hunter Valley Gardens hosts the Christmas Light Spectacular, which is fantastic for families. It’s a magical experience to walk around the gardens and decorative displays at this festive time of year.
The Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village is adjacent to the gardens, a unique collection of shops and eateries. You won’t be disappointed – you can enjoy fabulous food, beer, wine and cocktails, coffee and cake, and bespoke shopping – local art, jewellery, clothing, homewares, and gifts.
All of the shops are located within a stroll of each other. This ‘market’ type feel makes the village unique – a must-visit on your trip to the Hunter Valley.
Hop 11 – Estate Tuscany & 4 Pines Brewery at the Farm
Authentic Tuscany, right here in the Hunter Valley, offers breathtaking views of the Broken Back Ranges (one of our favourite photo stops)! Estate Tuscany provides guest house-style accommodation with two eateries – their signature restaurant, The Mill (Awarded Chef Hat 2020), and casual offerings of the Brokenback Bar, along with Andrew Thomas Wines cellar door for a tasting sensation of premium wines (Semillon and Shiraz a specialty) with shopping and other wineries nearby.
In this location, you will also find 4 Pines Brewery. Initially, 4 Pines started in Manly on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, but it’s now had a home in the Hunter Valley for several years. Aside from brewing fantastic beer (which can make a nice change in amongst all the wine!), 4 Pines has a great story to tell about its humble beginnings. This phenomenal success story is, in fact, the result of a chat between mates after a surf who wanted to create a company highly committed to sustainability and community. Enjoy bistro-style food (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and paddles of beers, and be sure to stop in for a tasting at the Hermitage Road Cellar Door featuring a range of local winemakers from the region.
Hop 12 – Piggs Peake
Piggs Peake is one of the smaller wineries in the Hunter Valley, specialising in premium wines. Although the winemaking techniques use state-of-the-art modern technology, the winery processes grapes from vineyards dating back to the 1800s. The Yellow Billy Kitchen, onsite at Piggs Peake, is a 1 Chef Hatted Restaurant and a must-dining experience. Much of the produce comes fresh from the kitchen garden, and the menu focuses on food cooked over a fire, matched with a selection of local and international wines.
So there, you have five worthwhile stops and seven destinations to explore on the iHop bus route. Of course, there is much more to showcase, with over 40 venues to explore on the route, which we can’t wait to share in future articles.
Don’t forget that we offer private transport and customised tour options too so that you can create your itinerary, or we can create one for you – so let us take care of the driving and sit back and relax in your private bus.
In addition to private transport, groups with their schedule or itinerary may like our on-demand bus for an alternative transport service to the hop-on hop-off bus. If you want the flexibility to see and do things at your own pace, anywhere in the region, then the iHopGO service is the perfect option to get you around.
Of course, we also offer fully guided, all-inclusive tours that run in the morning and afternoon. Of course, we’re just at the end of an email or a phone call if you need help planning your perfect wine country getaway. You can also follow us on social – Facebook and Insta for trip ideas.