HUNTER Valley wineries have been named among the top 20 must-see destinations on the Australian east coast by travel content provider Lonely Planet.
Just three years after Lonely Planet named Newcastle as one of its top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2011, it has once again shone the spotlight on the region in its fifth edition of Lonely Planet East Coast Australia, released this month.
The book refers to the Hunter Valley vineyards as the ‘‘premier wine district’’ in NSW and ranks a visit to the region as number 13 in a list of 20 highlights across the country’s east coast.
“Picture this: a glass fronted pavilion overlooking gently rolling hills covered with row after row of grape heavy vines,’’ the book says.
‘‘Inside, you’re sipping a glass of golden-hued semillon and pondering a delectable lunch menu of top-quality local produce.
‘‘Make your choice, settle back, slide into a glass of earthy shiraz and thoroughly enjoy your meal. It’s the stuff of which travel memories are made.”
Of the valley’s 140 plus wineries, it singles out Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, Brokenwood, Macquariedale Estate, McWilliams Mount Pleasant, Pooles Rock Wines, the Small Winemakers Centre, Tamburlaine, Tempus Two, Tower Estate and Wyndham Estate.
It also points to restaurants Muse Kitchen, Enzo, Muse Restaurant, Bistro Molines and Margan.
Elsewhere, the book refers to Newcastle as having ‘‘down to earth larrikin charm’’ and includes alongside the city’s beaches other noteworthy sights such as Christ Church Cathedral, the Lock Up, Newcastle Art Gallery, Fort Scratchley, Nobby’s Head, Newcastle Museum, the Maritime Centre and dining hotspots including Estabar, Bocados, Sprout Dining, Merewether Surfhouse, Three Bean Espresso, Delucas Pizza, Subo, Restaurant Mason and Bacchus.
‘‘Newcastle is the kind of place where you can grocery shop barefoot and go surfing in your lunch hour,’’ it says.
‘‘The city is still one of the largest coal-export harbours in the world, but its undergoing something of a cultural renaissance.
‘‘Rejuvenation projects are breathing new life into the waterfront and an eclectic and innovative arts scene is injecting colour and culture into the streets.’’