Tuesday, May 24, 2011

7 May 2011: The Scenic Wine Tasting Tour by the Red Carpet Tours

A glimpse of Hunter Valley.

7 May 2011 (Sat): Sydney has many natural attractions that would mesmerize. I had wanted to consider one of the natural parks so as to spend some time away from the city. Yet, I felt that I would be too tempted to walk very long distances when I am in a natural park such that it may be too tiring for my dear mother to catch up with.

A visit to Hunter Valley with a tour operator seemed to be a solution that could please both my mother and myself. I could be out in the suburbs and enjoy the views of the vast valleys of Hunter Valley while my mother could experience the beauty of Hunter Valley with occasional stops for wine tasting. Actually, both of us rarely drinks. I thought it would be good fun to do something different from time to time.

My mother and I visited one of the Australian Travel Specialist outlets to get some ideas and decided to sign up for The Scenic Wine Tasting Tour by the Red Carpet Tours. The Scenic Wine Tasting Tour is a tour that I would recommend especially if you prefer to travel in a smaller tour group. The service is thoughtful and our guide is knowledgeable about Hunter Valley.

Our first stop was the Australian Reptile Park.
The stop at the Australian Reptile Park was a relatively short one. We were there for morning tea. Nevertheless, during our short visit to the Australian Reptile Park, we were pleasantly surprised by a koala which greeted us wide awake, and many hungry kangaroos which were waiting for their morning feed. I sensed that my mother was pretty delighted by the Australian wildlife that she had gotten close with at the Australian Reptile Park.

To complete the experience, we met a young American alligator which was pretty harmless to caress. It seemed to be one of the Reptile Park's most appropriate ambassadors.

The scenic circle route
One of the highlights of this tour that I greatly appreciate was the fact that instead of using the free-way, the tour bus took the more scenic route to Hunter Valley. While travelling on this special route, we managed to catch a glimpse of free-ranging Australian wildlife and the beautiful scenery of the countryside. During one occasion, the tour bus stopped by for us to quietly listen to bell-birds singing away. Their singings may be ordinary and yet were like music from heavens for yours truly.

Visit the Wollombi Tavern for enjoy some Jungle Juice.

Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice was one of our stops for a tasty and sweet concoction of the alcoholic Jungle Juice. I could not make out what had made up the concoction. I could only tell that it tasted pretty nice.

Take a sip of Jungle Juice.

Cheese-tasting at the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop was a memorable and positive experience. I gladly enjoyed the dairy products that were offered to us for sampling even though my usual diet has minimal dairy product in it. Cheese galore at the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop. One of my favourites was the Feta with Pesto. Lovely treats to cheese!

Yummy Cows Feta with Pesto

Wine-tasting experiences
During our tour, we visited Brokenwood and Oakvale for professional wine-tasting sessions. From white wine to red wine, we had the pleasure to enjoy wonderful wines. I was introduced to varieties such as semillon, viognier, chardonnaysangiovese, shiraz and more. The wine-tasting sessions ended with dessert wines that were golden in colour with a nicely sweet taste. My favourite was the Old Liquer Muscat from Oakvale perhaps due to the recency effect.

There were of course better treats than wines at Hunter Valley. I appreciated the beautiful sceneries and the occasional fragrance from the roses that were grown side-by-side the vineyards. I learnt that these roses serve as first-line indicators to the conditions of the vineyard. If the roses were found to have fungus, the farmers will be very vigilant and spray the vineyards before the fungus spread to the vineyards.

Delightful lunch with wine appreciation
We had a hearty treat to wonderful delicacies and four different kinds of wines during lunch. Lunch was prepared with pride and joy by the team at Bluetongue Brewery Cafe at the Hunter Resort. Till today, the images and tastes of the lunch still remain positively in my memory. Life has been great.

Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
Rounding up the tour was a visit to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company where we have had some sampling of some fine chocolates.

Hunter Gardens
A few of our tour-mates paid an extra fee each to visit the famous Hunter Gardens which has interesting floral displays. My mother and I gave the Gardens a miss that day.

You may notice that there are minimal photographs of the beautiful scenery of Hunter Valley in this post. This is because I realised that it is better to experience the beauty of Hunter Valley personally than through photographs. Furthermore, I was too busy enjoying the scenery to take much photographs.

A friendly tour guide and driver. Safe driving. Scenic routes. Fine wine-tasting and an indulgent lunch. A comfortable group size and a comfortable bus. A friendly and helpful group of tour-mates. Interesting itinerary delivered with sincerity and an x-factor. These are wonderful reasons that led me to recommend you to consider the Scenic Wine Tasting Tour by the Red Carpets Tours.

Red Carpet Tours
Tel: (+61) 2 9971 0796

Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.


kyh said...

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! Gimme some. :)

I'll skip the wines as am not a wine or beer fan. But I love vineyards nonetheless. :)

oceanskies79 said...

kyh: Sure. It was yummy.

During the wine-tasting sessions, many were seen spitting out the wine since it is wine tasting not wine drinking sessions.

Andrew Bert said...

really a wonderful tour. Many thanks for taking the time to discuss this.
Genuinely enjoyed the post.

Douro valley wine tour