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The Weekender: New South Wales

Here is your complete guide to sipping the best wine and spirits through the southeastern Australian state

New South Wales, located on Australia’s southeastern coast, is the country’s most populous––and dare we say gastronomically diverse–state. There is much to explore across its vast expanse, no matter the purpose of your visit or your personal interests, making it surely impossible to do it all in one shot. For this three-day jaunt, we’ve laid out the best the area’s wine and spirits offerings, zeroing in on two distinctive regions located just a short one-hour flight from one another. Here’s where to find the best wine and spirits offerings in New South Wales.

Where to Stay:

Sydney
While on your way to New South Wales, you’ll likely fly into Sydney first. While you won’t be spending much time at all in the city itself, you might end up spending a night or two on your way in and out; QT Sydney is the perfect place to hang your hat during a whirlwind trip. With its whimsical décor, standout service, and excellent dining and drinking (don’t miss out on breakfast or dinner at Gowings), this is an ideal place to bookend your time in Australia.

QT Sydney

Hunter Valley
For the wine portion of your trip, take a leisurely 2.5 hour drive out to the Hunter Valley and prepare your palate for a slew of dynamic tastings, but not before settling into Spicers Guesthouse, home to 49 stunning guest rooms on 40 sprawling acres amongst the valley vineyards.

Spicers Guesthouse

The Tweed
A stretch of beach dotted with distilleries and notable dining, the Tweed is the perfect addition to this drinks enthusiast’s getaway. Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach is a picturesque poolside getaway with an idyllic beach bar and restaurant, all situated a stone’s throw from the beach. For longer term stays, check out Oaks Santai Resort Casuarina, a quiet Balinese-inspired cluster of apartments centered around a glittering turquoise pool.

Oaks Santai Resort Casuarina

Where to Eat and Drink:

Hunter Valley
Each year, the Wine Media Conference is hosted in a different wine region somewhere in the world––this year, it drew dozens of attendees to the Hunter Valley, a testament to the decades of family winemaking coming to light with more and more force on a global scale. During your visit to the Hunter, must-visit wineries include Briar Ridge, Carrillion, Tyrrell’s, Degen, De Iuliis, and Brokenwood. Dining highlights include Éremo Restaurant (located at Spicers Guesthouse) and Bistro Molines on Mount View Road.

The Tweed
The Tweed and its surrounding areas have become increasingly known for their spirits scenes, with local distilleries reshaping the way residents and visitors drink. Spend an afternoon or evening touring, tasting Australian rhum and other specialty spirits, and sipping cocktails with live music at Husk Distillers’ brand new estate; make time to visit Lord Byron and Cape Byron distilleries in the nearby Byron Bay. In terms of dining, you won’t want to miss Taverna, Bombay Cricketers Club, and Osteria Casuarina; coffee lovers should make it a point to stop at Ground Control for a pick-me-up and a few bags of beans (roasted onsite) to take home.

What to Do:

Hunter Valley
Most of your time will be occupied by wine tastings and dinner reservations, but if you’re an early riser, be sure to squeeze in a hot air balloon ride with Balloon Aloft at beloved local winery and restaurant Peterson House, followed by a sparkling wine breakfast experience on the winery’s grounds.

Balloon Aloft

The Tweed
No visit to the Tweed would be complete without an off-the-beaten-path adventure by Tweed Eco-Cruises. The Pot to Plate experience is a highlight, giving an intimate group of guests an inside look at the lands and traditions of the area’s aboriginal community guided by Bundjalung Nation descendant and artist Luther Cora.

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