Among all the different wine-growing areas that I have been able to visit in Australia by now, two regions left lasting impressions: Margaret River in WA, and the Hunter Valley in NSW (and this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills in SA, and the Yarra Valley in VIC).

The Hunter Valley’s scenery is just picturesque, green rolling hills dotted with vineyards, olive tree orchards and wineries with welcoming cellar doors.

We have sampled many different wines, and the following three were my personal favourites:

McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant winery also incorporates a really nice restaurant, and I highly recommend a stopover for lunch.

Audrey Wilkinson’s Gewuerztraminer was one of the best white wines I have tasted in Australia so far (and I am making this statement based on my very individual judgement); this wine was a total surprise to me, I basically tasted it just to see how this grape variety from South Tyrol would turn out in the Australian climate. I was expecting something sweet and a bit overpowering, but this wine was refreshingly dry and crisp, with beautiful aromas of lychees and passion fruit.

A real discovery to me was the Italian restaurant ‘Carmen’s’, located in Muswellbrook in the beautiful Upper Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley itself is always worth a visit for its stunning scenery but primarily of course for its abundance of vineyards and wineries. On our way to the Hunter Valley we drove through the small town of Muswellbrook and decided to stop for dinner at Carmen’s. The restaurant is run by an Italian family and I was positively surprised at the quality of the food. This certainly is a hidden gem!