There is something really special about riding through vineyards. So, with tickets to Jazz in the Vineyards Festival (headlined by James Morrison), I loaded the ebike and we headed to the Hunter Valley for a couple of nights. The Leisure Inn is set amongst greenery near the Hunter Valley Gardens and the concert was brilliant.
The sun was barely up the next morning and all I wanted to do was get amongst the vineyards. It is so nice riding on tractor paths close to endless rows of vines; most estates are unfenced and visitors are welcome.
All the roads have bike lanes and there is 12km of newly opened cycleway, but getting onto dirt is more fun. After 35km of riding, I found the wonderful Nana Kerr’s Kitchen overlooking vineyards.
Luckily, the Pokolbin Mountains Road was right in front of the café and it pointed towards the highest lookout in the Valley. It turned out to be such a sweet experience: dirt all the way to the top and the views were breathtaking.
Back at ground level, I stopped at a couple more vineyards before getting off the bike after 50kms of heaven.
For those who are interested, this time of year the Gardens put on their spectacular Christmas lights display. The Teddy Santa is over 10 metres tall; over 100,000 lights are installed throughout the Gardens.
At sunrise next day, seven hot air balloons floated over the horizon: another excuse to jump on the bike.
Every time I see a photo of the Hunter Valley with the mountains in the background, I’ll remember that wonderful bike climb up Pokolbin Mountains Road.
The Strava map shows my route, or you can follow your own nose anywhere in the vineyards. But do check out Pokolbin Mountains Road; not too steep, just a steady long climb that is well worth the effort.