Hunter Valley Wine Yards in Australia

Wineyards of Hunter Valley

Wineyards of Hunter Valley

Initially, we scheduled just 3 days in Sydney. However, a good advice of a friend from Australia was hunter valley, with the quote “if you have enough time”. Well, we didn’t have but we created. This cost us the famous Ayers Rock of Australia, but everything has a price right?

We woke up at a perfectly bright October morning once more in Sydney. Our tour guide and transportation today was from AEA Luxury Tours. It was a two hours drive from Sydney, but took a bit longer with a stopover at Australian Reptile Park, which you can read from my previous post.

Hunter Valley is a very wide valley of wine area, with which there are hundreds of wine yards to visit and some local stores to buy local or international food, art work, natural pharmacy, clothes and stationary.

Yummy stores

Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop is a yummy store

Tasting some cheese

Tasting some cheese

Our first stop at the valley was to Cellar Door to taste some cheese and wine, with a lovely view of the valley. Pity that, it is impossible to carry the cheese, all the way back home, but we bought some coconut pastes and oils, with different kind of nuts and some crackers with various flavors from Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop.

Visiting Tempus Two

Visiting Tempus Two

And the first cellar to visit was the Tempus Two Cellar Door.

Lovely weater

Lovely weather

Exploring

Exploring

The clouds and the grape fields, the blue sky and already a bit drunk, we left the area for our next stop for lunch.

I want to write another post about Bimbadgen Estate, where we had a very nice lunch, but for know, let’s go on with the afternoon.

Pepper tree shop

Pepper tree shop

Our first stop in the afternoon was Pepper Tree Wines, this time tried some white.

Tasting white wine at pepper tree

Tasting white wine at pepper tree

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Everywhere so nicely taken care of

Everywhere so nicely taken care of

Flowers so colorful

Flowers so colorful

Our final stop of the day was at Hunter Valley Gardens shopping village where there were many fine art shops, a bookshop, a chocolate shop, many restaurants and cafes and a pharmacy. All worth to visit.

Shouldn't be missed

Shouldn’t be missed

 

 

Australian Reptile Park

Remember our tour to Blue Mountains and where we stopped was Featherdale wildlife park. A nice park that impressed us all. However, the Australian Reptile Park we have been the day after was much more better, clean, interesting, hands on and fun to go.

Learning the difference between crocodile and elegator

Learning the difference between crocodile and alligator

As soon as we entered the park, a cute baby crocodile (or was it alligator? I guess I still do not know the difference) was introduced to us by a very polite and patient caretaker. While we were listening the information about the alligator (or was it crocodile?), another cute animal of Australia came to join us:

Koala

Koala

A baby Koala I loved to hug and smell eucalyptus. So clean and so happy, that you would like to take home to keep on your bedside. I’ve never thought of it that it would be smelling so nice.

Sleeping Koalas

Sleeping Koalas

In the mean time we were served some tea with delicious cookies, while we were enjoying to touch and take close photograph of  alligator and koala.

Than we took a walk around the park. Every corner was very clean and all the animals were carefully taken care off. Another interesting corner of the park was the spiders hall, where various kinds of spiders from all over the world were kept and exhibited. Finally, we did some shopping at the gift shop and headed to Hunter Valley, to explore the fine wines.

See you later, alligator.

The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Sydney, Australia

The Boathouse Menu

The Boathouse Menu

First ever e-book I bought to my Kindle is Top 10 Sydney, of Eyewitness Travel series and the first ever thing I looked was where to eat in Sydney, and first ever thing I highlighted at my Kindle was the restaurant: The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay. After a day out in Blue Mountains, with lots of walking, we thought that we deserved an “out of diet borders” dinner for the evening, with some wine and fine dining. So we made our reservation from this restaurant, took a taxi from our hotel and after about 10 minutes drive, there we were, in a romantic (would be without our son), dark and elegant fish restaurant, with a nice view of city lights and the Anzac Bridge.

Char Grilled Fremantle Octopus

Char Grilled Fremantle Octopus

Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon

Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon

When we travel with a child, the first thing we look in the menu is something to eat for our son (I admit that sometimes I look at it after checking what to eat for dessert). Nothing seemed suitable for him, but our lovely waiter offered him some fish and chips which he loved.

We on the other hand started our meal with some starters of Octopus and Salmon with the wine of the day, once more Pinot Noir, this time from Adelaide.

Nygeringa wineyard, Grower serries

Nygeringa wineyard, Grower serries

Wine of the evening

Wine of the evening

Our main course were Poached Local Ocean Jacket and a Roast New Zealand Hapuka, all very tasty.

New Zealand Hapuka

New Zealand Hapuka

Local Ocean Jacket

Local Ocean Jacket

And finally our desserts were Honeycomb Parfait, Buttermilk Pannacotta and Pistachio Cannoli. Yes, I do not know what they are either, but they tasted lovely and looked like these:

Dessert

Buttermilk Pannacotta

Dessert

Pistachio Cannoli

Parfait

Parfait

After finishing our meals, I asked the waiter to take a photograph of the menu and write down the things we have eaten, to note for my blog. Guess what? The waiter said that we may take the menu with us, as the menu is printed daily. How nice, now the menu is just by my lap top and making me remember this fine dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Mountains Bush Walk day in Australia

On our second day in Sydney Australia, we woke up on a nice Sunday morning, to have a lovely breakfast at our hotel Quay West Sydney. Today our plan was to visit Blue Mountains, a world heritage and a lovely natural area, sure to be visited in a trip to Sydney. Once more, we were picked up by a car and a driver, this time from Mount ‘n Beach Safaris company of Sydney.

Our first stop was Featherdale WildlifePark, to be introduced to the famous wildlife animals of Australia. First impression was very good for all of us. As you may have guessed, we have never seen any kangaroos, koalas or any other Australian animal before. So it was nice to feed them, touch them and get so close to them. However, the park we went a day after was much more interesting, clean and enjoyable to visit. So, wait for my next posts, before deciding to go!

Before wind

Before wind

After wind

After wind

Before reaching to Blue Mountains Scenic World, we did a short break to enjoy some view of the valley on the way. Lovely view, with infinite forest and a very dangerous wind.

Lovely nature

Lovely nature

Our final stop of the day, where we were gonna spent a half day was the Blue Mountains Scenic World, which includes skyways, railways, cableways, and a comfortable walkway in the forests of Blue Mountains, together with some shopping opportunities to do and some picnic tables, to enjoy our sandviches.

Skyway with glass floor

Skyway with a glass floor

Among these, Skyway was by far the best view and the best experience to offer, with a glass floor to step on.

View from Skyway

View from Skyway

View of the mountains

View of the mountains

Me

Me

What is Switzerland doing here?

What is Switzerland doing here?

Have you been to Swiss Alps? We did a lovely holiday about 5 years ago to Luzern and visited Pilatus with the vehicles very similar to here. I may write about it too sometime later. So here is the reason. All rides were made by Swiss and this bell was a present to the park.

Children sure will enjoy this trip

Children sure will enjoy this trip

Our son loved the day

Our son loved the day

 

Jonah’s Whale Beach, Sydney

Jonah's restaurant

Jonah’s restaurant

Remember our seaplane adventure with Sydney Seaplanes from my previous post. Well, Jonah’s was the restaurant we arrived in 20 minutes, not on an island, but on an island-like part of Sydney, which takes about an hour, by car.

Jonah’s was more than we expected with a good variety in menu and a nice wine list. Moreover, every plate looked like a piece of art.

A taste to start

A taste to start

Wine of the day

Wine of the day

Australia has really good wines. I will be writing another post soon about Hunter Valley, a wine paradise. Today we chose a Pinot Noir of Tasmania.

Scallops, gooood

Scallops, gooood

Piece of art

Piece of art

In many day trips in Europe, if lunch is included, you come across with ordinary local dishes, sometimes really good and tasty ones but never so elegant.

The deserts...

The deserts…

...and another desert...

…and another desert…

...and another. Yummyyy

…and another. Yummyyy

So, finished with our three course meal in 3 hours, enjoyed the view of the whale beach and watched a local wedding next room, we were taken back to the beach to return with our seaplane back to Sydney.

Sure I can live here

Sure I can live here

 

A Seaplane Adventure Around Sydney, Australia

Before take off

Before take off

While getting ready for our Australia trip and working on the schedule, one dear Australian friend advised me to take a helicopter trip on Sydney harbor. So I searched for it with the help of Saint Google and my travel agent, and I came across with a good alternative of seaplane trips with Sydney Seaplanes. I’ve experienced a helicopter trip twice. One in Samara, Russia, a business trip, so beyond the limits of this blog and second at Grand Canyon, a few years ago with our son. So I thought a seaplane would be a more interesting experience for all of us.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

The trip we booked was the “Fly & Dine” trip, which very well suited with our travel values. A 20 minutes fly to Whale Beach area, 3 hours-3 course fine dining for lunch and a 20 minutes fly back to Sydney, with a route over Sydney harbor. Well, let the photographs talk:

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Walking to the beach

Walking to the beach

We were about 12 people on the plane, 5 our group, 3 more couples and our pilot. We started the tour with a little safety training, and took our seats, buckled up and took off. Riding on the sea and the first take off was a bit exciting, but than we enjoyed the view and the calm nature of the environment.

The beach

The beach

We got off the plane on a little pier on a very nice beach of an island. The sea we landed was not an open water but an inside area, where people were enjoying many water sports like canoeing, sailing, diving or enjoying the sun on the beach.

A walk on the beach

A walk on the beach

We were welcomed by a lady from Jonah’s restaurant, who drove us to the restaurant with a van and after lunch (which I will write in my next post) we returned to the same beach to find out that our seaplane was gone. So we spent about half an hour more to enjoy the beach and take photograph around.

Resting on a bench

Resting on a bench

Finally our seaplane arrived to the beach and we took off to return where we started.

Waiting our seaplane to arrive

Waiting our seaplane to arrive

Over Sydney Harbor

Over Sydney Harbor

Sydney Seaplanes

Sydney Seaplanes

Lovely area

Lovely area

 

Sydney Royal Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

The first day of our 10-days-trip to Australia, started on a nice Saturday morning with our driver and a car provided by Angelo Riccio Tourist Services in Sydney. After a short drive around the main areas of the city and a short stop at Sydney Opera House, to buy tickets for the evening, we headed to Bondi beach area but my mother-as a nature lover- insisted on to visit Botanic Garden first. So we spend about an hour in the park with a fast walking.

Lovely flowers and natural life

Lovely flowers and natural life

My facebook friends will recognize this photo from my facebook page. Sydney botanic garden is a very well kept garden with lovely flowers, birds, large trees, fresh air, people doing sports and some art installations.

A piece of art of sight and sound

A piece of art of sight and sound

An interesting piece of art is the one above, all sticks have different sounds, forming a nice music with the wind.

Short walk in the garden

Short walk in the garden

Interesting plants

Interesting plants