Cedars Mount View.
60 Mitchells Road, Mount View, NSW
phone: (02) 4990 9009
The location The Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, is Australia's oldest wine-growing area and the nation's sixth-most-visited destination. The area extends from about 120 kilometres to 310 kilometres north of Sydney and is known for its shiraz and semillon grape varieties. There are also plantings of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and a small quantity of pinot noir.
The place Cedar Mount View comprises a "nest" of five luxuriously decked-out cedar cottages that have been carved out of a eucalypt forest, each one located at the end of its own "drive" for maximum seclusion. The setting is idyllically rural and only half an hour's drive from the village of Pokolbin, which lies at the very heart of the Hunter Valley region.
The experience It's hard to think of a more luxurious and private getaway. If you arrive after dusk, you can be sure of being on the receiving end of some good, old-fashioned hospitality; owner Jenny Lewis or her daughter, Bree, will have nipped up from their nearby homestead to light candles and turn on the wood stove (which, as it turns out, is activated - miraculously - by the mere press of a button!). The whole scene will be suffused with a warm, orange glow. All that's then left for you to do is to ease the lid off a complimentary bottle of locally produced Briar Ridge Shiraz and congratulate yourself on the immense good fortune that brought you here. By day, explore the many epicurean delights of the Hunter Valley, which include any number of boutique wineries and, more to the point, their very caring-and-sharing cellar doors.
Don't miss ... making a reservation (Friday and Saturday nights only) at Robert Molines's fine-dining (and hatted) Bistro Molines (749 Mount View Road; 02 4990 9553; bistromolines.com.au) at nearby Tallavera Grove Vineyard. Or if you prefer a more casual vibe (lunches and brunches only), drop in at his lower-key Briar Grillade Cafe (Briar Ridge Vineyard, 593 Mount View Road; 02 4990 8601; briarridge.com.au) for a truly magnificent chargrilled eye fillet of beef on gorgonzola gnocchi.
Cost: The Gums, $315-$425 a night; The Vue, $425-$550 a night (two night minimum stay).
Distance: 160km (2 1/4 hours' drive) north of Sydney.
- Good Weekend