Regional New South Wales can be rugged, luxurious, authentic and even a little playful. Discover all the variety the state has to offer through one the country’s leading wine bars, architecturally and naturally jaw-dropping accommodation, and animal encounters that bring you up-close and personal with alpacas and koalas.
New food and drink
Unpretentious but outstanding: Bar Heather is now open
One of Australia‘s most anticipated wine bars of the year, Bar Heather has opened its doors in Byron Bay. Expect a wine list that brings together oddities, characters and the exceptional from both Australia and further shores, paired with a creative but unpretentious menu from a chef who previously worked at Sydney award-winners Sixpenny and Ester. But, most of all, expect a good time.
Taste the coastline in a gin
Port Macquarie Distillery is the Mid North Coast’s newest small batch distillery. Whether you’re a connoisseur or a first-time gin drinker, master distiller Ray Barth and the team will tee you up with an experience right for you. Maybe that’s a cocktail or two at the bar with your pals, or maybe it’s a full gin tasting ending in a takeaway bottle of their signature dry gin, Lighthouse, modelled on the smell and feel of the town’s coastline.
Literally paddock to plate
This is the experience at The Artisan Farmer in Nabiac, just inland from Foster. The vegetables and herbs you eat in the café, you can see those growing out back next to the beehives. The beef for your burger, that’s from the paddock next door. The bread you’re about to eat, that was baked this morning just inside. And that coffee you might order to go, that’s made with beans roasted here, too. A lot of people claim to be paddock-to-plate, but The Arustab Farmer’s bakery, café and butcher are the real deal.
Hand built in the wilderness
A wood cabin set within an old cattle ranch that’s being rewilded into true South Coast bushland – the Sugar Rock Ranch is dream for a couple looking to get off grid and away from it all. Take a fishing rod to the coast and return to barbecue your catch in the fire pit outside. Have a morning coffee on the deck overlooking the dam. Or go for a bush walk in Beowa National Park next door.
Somnium at Bingie: pristine luxury on a coastal headline
As soon as you get to the end of the driveway, you’ll feel like the entire world is just you, your family, the lake in front of you, the trees around you and the roos outside your front door. Inside is as spectacular, Somnium at Bingie’s two architecturally unique buildings (by Sydney architects Eoghan Lewis) will leave you feeling like you’ve fallen into the pages of a magazine. It’s not all awe either, in the day lean on your adventurous side and get a handle of the property’s mountain bikes, kayaks, and firepit.
Sleep among the koalas
Be lulled to sleep among the smells of the Worimi bush and the sounds of the local koala mob at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary‘s newly updated hotel rooms. Your stay among the gum trees within the endangered species’ natural habitat also includes access to a pool, outdoor barbecues, and a spa. While you’re in the area, it’s only ten minutes by car to the dunes and waves of Stockton Beach.
What’s it like being an Alpaca farmer?
A two-hour exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at Murrumbateman’s Blackwattle Alpaca Farm will introduce you to the farm’s friendliest alpacas – let them eat out of your hand, get in for a cuddle and nab a selfie with your favourite. Then, find out how their shaggy coats turn into silky fabric, and hear a story about how on earth someone started an alpaca farm in rural NSW.
Aboriginal art in the Hunter
In between wines, adventure and sunshine find a connection to Country and to our lands’ great cultural heritage along the [email protected] Aboriginal Art Exhibition and Trail. Curated by Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation, the art exhibition is back open after two years. Find local Aboriginal art across venues dotted throughout the Hunter Valley: Crowne Plaza, Drayton’s Family Wines, Hunter Valley Resort in Polkobin and the Hunter Valley gardens at the Mercure Polkobin.
Pedal, drink, eat, repeat
Take in 25km of the Murrumbateman wine region’s beauty on two wheels with Canberra Wine Region E-Bike Tours, only stopping to trial both drops and bites of the region’s famed vineyards via the comfort of a Lekker Jordaan e-bike. The new one-of-a-kind off the beaten track tour includes a guide to not only introduce you to the countryside and the wine makers, and help with any bike tune ups.