Even though it’s only about a three hour drive from Sydney , perhaps not many of us know what the Hunter Valley is, where it is, and what it did last night. Today, many people know the Hunter Valley as Australia’s number one wine-producing region, even though the Hunter Valley is not just about wine and intoxicating drinks.

Founded in 1797 by John Shortland NR, the area is named the Hunter Valley not because there are many hunters here, nor because the natives love to watch the Hunter series, but because it takes the name John Hunter, a captain of the HMS Sirius that sailed from Portsmouth in England. in 1787 with the aim of establishing a European colony in New South Wales , Australia. In addition, John Hunter is also known as the second governor of New South Wales.

As I mentioned above, the Hunter Valley isn’t just about wine, as there are lots of fun activities to do there, such as:

1. Berkeliling Hunter Valley Gardens

A gust of cold wind greeted me as soon as I got off the minibus driven by Edmund from Sydney, I understand, because it was winter in Australia at that time. But one of the interesting things about some areas of New South Wales – including Sydney – is that you can still see the sun in winter.

“ We have sun in the winter .” If said Simon, the Harley rider I met in Sydney.

Next I stepped into the gates of the Hunter Valley Gardens, and began to marvel at the beauty of garden after garden there. It is said that there are 10 thematic gardens there, including the famous Sunken Garden with its waterfalls, the Asian Oriental Garden, to the Storybook Garden based on children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland and Hansel & Gretel.

In total, there are more than 6,000 trees here, with an 8-kilometer trail that surrounds them.If you are an adventurer who has a lot of time, maybe you can walk around the park after park, while occasionally resting by the lake while writing poetry. However, if you are someone who doesn’t have much free time – like me – there is nothing wrong with using a mini train to go around the park, which at first glance is similar to Taman Bunga Nusantara.

2. Cycling at the Crowne Plaza Resort

In my whole life, this is probably the  most luxurious resort I’ve ever stayed in. How could I not, at  this resort  I found a real golf course with 18 holes, wineries including a distillery, various other sports facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools, to a clean and fragrant non plus plus spa.

Can you imagine how big  this resort is? Therefore, I decided to go around it with the bicycle provided for free, without the need to commit immoral acts to rent it.

Crown Plaza Resort Hunter Valley

Crown Plaza Resort Hunter Valley

3. Attend Candy Class School

It may sound cute and  so cute , but it turns out that making candy can’t be careless, because we have to mix some of the raw materials properly in order to produce caramel cashew, chocolate marshmallow, and strawberry dip candy that is both delicious and not bad.

In this room, my macho and toughness are in vain.

Candy Class School Hunter Valley

Candy Class School Hunter Valley

4. Try Aqua Golf

If making candy seems too childish and less  manly , then aqua golf is the answer. Here, visitors are challenged to do  driving (hitting a golf ball placed on a tee, not driving a car while holding a golf club held out the window while shouting “Allahu Akbar”) towards a large lake.

What’s interesting here is that there are prizes of up to $100,000 for those who successfully hit the golf ball into the small targets placed in the lake.

It is said that this game requires not only  skill , but also luck. Like me, the  skilled and lucky one was able to hit the golf ball twice! A fantastic record, after trying dozens of times.

5. Stroll the Vineyard

Haven’t been to the Hunter Valley, if not for a walk around the vineyards, or what in the local language is called the  vineyard . The most famous grape from the Hunter valley is Semillon although there are actually many varieties of grapes grown here, such as Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelho.

If you want to enjoy the grape harvest season, come around December to May, and if you are lucky, then you can also find kangaroos roaming around the vineyard .

Vineyard Hunter Valley

Vineyard Hunter Valley

6. Riding a Segway

Tired of walking around the  vineyard ? Then this one means of transportation is worth a try. Its name is segway, which is controlled by your weight. Bowing down will increase the speed of your segway, while moving your body backwards can put the brakes on its speed. If you want to turn, just move the steering lever left and right.

Remember, safety first here, don’t forget to always wear a helmet when riding a segway, and don’t forget to say Bismillah when you start.

Hunter Valley Segway

Hunter Valley Segway

7. Play Grape Stomping

One of the fun activities that you can do together in the Hunter Valley is playing grape stomping, or stomping grapes in a bucket. Basically, the game is simple, where there will be at least 2 teams competing, which is divided into 2 rounds of play.

In the first round, 2 players in a team will pair up in a bucket and stomp on each other’s grapes. And because of the narrow shape of the bucket, this pair will hug each other, squeeze each other, and grip each other so that they can still fit to trample the grapes in the bucket.

The winner, of course, is the one who removes the skins of the grapes the fastest, squeezes the flesh, and extracts the grapes.

Grape Stomping Hunter Valley

Grape Stomping Hunter Valley

The second round is, squeezing the juices of the grapes until only the water remains, and competing to fill a bottle to the brim. The overall winner of this game  will get two bottles of wine, which is made by … distilled, of course.

8. Wine Tasting

Apart from being trampled, most of the grapes in the Hunter Valley are further fermented into wine. Of course, this one didn’t go through the stamping process first, it seems.

Guided by Uncle Phil, I and the media group from Dwidayatour had a chance to try a new experience, namely wine tasting. And even though I don’t drink alcohol, I can feel the sensation of the wine itself.

How come? How to? It turns out that according to Uncle Phil, wine can be tasted only by inhaling its aroma deeply. Take a glass, fill it with wine about 1/4 part, turn it on the table until it foams, then take a deep breath.

“ That’s exactly the same taste .” Uncle Phil said, and I nodded. It turns out that you can also taste wine without the need to drink it. Subhanallah .

Apart from that, I also get some lessons here, namely that:

  1. Wine will taste sweet on the tip of the tongue, sour on the sides of the tongue around the cheeks, and will taste bitter in the throat because of the taste of the skin of the grapes. This is said Uncle Phil and other friends who tried it. I just nod like a stuffed dog on  the dashboard of a car.
  2. The taste of this wine can be arranged with the mind. If you think  the wine  is bitter, it will taste bitter, and the same goes for sweetness.
  3. Wine will not taste if you drink it while covering your nose. Curious? Please try it yourself.

9. Beer Tasting

After the wine tasting, still with Uncle Phil, we were led to another room to do some beer tasting. At the long tables in front of us, several sets of beers in small glasses had been arranged. Each set contains 12 small glasses which are divided into 2 groups.

The first group is ginger ale, where Uncle Phil names the food and we are asked to associate it with the beer he sips. While in the second group, namely apple beer, we took a sip of the beer first before figuring out what the name of the food would suit the aroma.

Umm, wagyu steak with black pepper sauce?

My advice for beer drinkers, as excerpted from the song Mirasantika by Bang Haji Rhoma, drink beer and other intoxicating drinks wisely, and don’t harm others, because because of you people can go crazy, because of you. people can drop out of school, because of you people can be crazy, because of you people lose their future.

*You are liquor and narcotics.

10. Cheese Tasting

If you think beer and wine are haram, then there is another trial and error activity that might suit you, namely cheese tasting at the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory.

When it arrived, I immediately found four slices of hard cheese and a small bowl of spread cheese on my table. After getting a brief explanation of the cheeses, we were asked to taste them using  crackers  and jam as a complement.

Cheese Tasting Hunter Valley

Cheese Tasting Hunter Valley

Although there are several types of cheese here, I only recognize them as cheese 1 which is soft inside, cheese 2 which has a hard yellow skin, cheese 3 which looks like bread, cheese 4 which is wrapped in silver , and cheese 5 which can be spread like a balm.

Unlike me, who is not too fond of cheese – except for the cheese martabak –, Rianti and Cas, are actually very hungry to eat it. I like cassava,  you like cheese oh oh oh..

11. Meet the Meat!

In addition to candy, wine, beer and cheese, in the Hunter Valley I also found one of my favorite types of food, namely meat! Thank God I’m not a vegan , because the meat here is the best meat I’ve ever tasted.

I can say that dinner at The Cellar at Hunter Valley Gardens was my best dinner in Australia.  I ordered a lamb chop with a medium level of doneness, while not expecting much, because not many restaurants are able to process lamb properly, especially since this is only a restaurant in a small town. But it turned out that my guess was wrong!

The meat was so tender, I didn’t have to bother slicing it, and when it was sliced,  the juices of the meat slowly leaked out onto my plate, leaving red meat on the plate which said, “EAT ME MAS!”. Not to mention the fat that sticks to the lamb bones, savory and the sensation immediately fills the mouth at the first bite.

*the paragraph above, was written while holding back the saliva that could drip at any time.

Hunter Valley Lamb Chop

Hunter Valley Lamb Chop

I enjoyed the super delicious dinner while sharing mystical stories with Rianti, Cas, Duglass, and Edmund who had goosebumps .

12. Catching The Stars

This was something I didn’t really plan, but because that night the sky was very clear and thousands of stars (if you don’t believe me, please count yourself) appeared in the sky, I immediately went out to the backyard of the room with my camera and tripod, accompanied by Edmund who turned out to be a man. photographer, but of a different religion. Because he’s using a Canon 6D with his red ring lens.

After several trials, I set my  Fuji camera  to a focal length of 16, F number 1.4 and an exposure time of 15 seconds, and this photo is the result. Not bad for a beginner because this is my first time photographing stars since buying the camera a year ago. A shooting experience that I will not get in Jakarta which is full of pollution.

Milky Way Hunter Valley