Traversing the north-western parts of Pokolbin is picturesque Hermitage Road, a coveted destination for wine enthusiasts and foodies, for adventure seekers and for those yearning for serenity and natural beauty.
Early vine plantings in this area date back to the 1830s. By the latter part of the 19th century, the Tyrrells, Tullochs, Wilkinsons and Draytons all had established vineyards here. To this day, the area around Hermitage Road is home to some of the Hunter’s most renowned vignerons, but also to boutique wineries and newcomers who love to innovate and push boundaries.
You will find the Hunter’s traditional trifecta of Shiraz, Semillon and Chardonnay, but also more unusual varietals like Pinot Grigio, Chambourcin, Barbera, Montepulciano or Touriga. There’s locally brewed craft beers and a variety of spirits, handcrafted chocolates and lovingly tended olives, locally produced and hand pressed cheeses and all the accompaniments required for aspiring gourmet chefs to stock their pantry for the next dinner party.
Make sure to drop into one of the friendly cafés, relaxed bistros, delis or fine dining restaurants. From casual to hatted venues, there are tasty offerings for even the most discerning of palates.
If you are starting to worry about your waistline, let’s grab a bike and get pedalling. A dedicated, 10.6km cycleway starts on the northern tip of Hermitage Road, just off the New England Highway. Taking you along some of the most picturesque stretches of the Hunter it’s a leisurely way to explore the sights and delights of the Around Hermitage Wine & Food Trail. If you don’t want to bring your own, there’s plenty of bike rental options available and cellar doors will happily deliver your wine purchases to your accommodation anywhere in Pokolbin.
If you want to just easily cruise along, an electric bike might be for you, or you can zip about on a segway.