These are Todd & Jeff’s personal recommendations for what to see and do to make the most of your Hunter Valley holiday. (Click on the name to be redirected to their website).
Getting Around: If you’re looking for a tour of local cellar doors, most of our guests use
All Around The Vines. They will pick up / drop off at our property. For something different, you can also hire a bike – Grapemobile will also pick up / drop off at Block Eight. For taxis we use Cessnock Radio Cabs. If you’re attending a concert, Rover Coaches pick up / drop off at the end of the street. Bookings are recommended for all transport.
AT BLOCK EIGHT With 100 acres to explore here’s what we love doing most:
Stroll the vineyard (15 acres)
Stroll the olives groves (10 acres)
We are home to kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, possums, sugar gliders and scores of birds including galahs, kookaburras, magpies, ibis, swamphens, ducks, swans and more
Explore our natural bushland areas and creeks
Join us for a private tasting of our wines (please arrange in advance)
Sport fish the dams which are stocked with silver perch (BYO fishing tackle)
Try your hand at yabbie catching (BYO nets)
Take a six kilometre walk or run along country roads
Say hi to our resident goats, Winston Buttworth-Jones and Wesley Chesney
Meet our free ranging chooks and family of pea fowl (Spencer & Kate, Freddie, Tom & Shelley)
Relax with a great book from our library
Choose from a wide range of DVDs
Our favourite Hunter restaurants – (and we’ve tried them all)
exp. Todd says: outstanding gastronomy and gregarious head chef serves at your table
Muse Kitchen Jeff says: best cafe / bistro food in the Hunter in a lovely setting with brilliant service (duck into Cocoa Nib afterwards for a chocolate fix)
Restaurant Botanica Todd says: amazing winelist, fresh seasonal ingredients grown on the property and very friendly staff in a relaxed setting
Margan Jeff says: high end dining with views of sheer perfection, well worth the drive out to Broke
Leaves & Fishes Todd says: feels like you’re on a tropical retreat, great plates for sharing
Royal Federal Hotel Jeff says: our local little secret, best pub food in the Hunter and great for kids
Grinders Todd says: good cafe food, great coffee… for when you’re passing through Cessnock
Il Cacciatore Jeff says: excellent Italian with the best reputation in the Hunter
Goldfish Todd says: if you can’t leave Sydney behind this is the closest thing to a city wine bar with good food – also one of the few restaurants open Mondays and Tuesdays
You know about all the big ones, but for something different try smaller cellar doors and discover fantastic boutique wines.
Binet Todd says: Dan makes Block Eight’s wines and his Binet varietals pack a punch. Especially the pinot grigio.
Oakvale Jeff says: fantastic semillon, verdelho and rose plus a few surprises like cider and bellini.
Pierre’s Todd says: it’s a bit out of the way but if you love sparkling you won’t be disappointed and a chance to get close to the winemaker himself.
Dark Horse Vineyard Jeff says: run by our mates, it’s one of the most beautiful cellar doors in the Valley, stunningly designed, has some lovely award-winning wines and also sells a range of irresistible homewares.
Usher Tinkler Todd says: every single wine is a winner! Atmospheric cellar door inside an old church and a great selection of picnic ingredients to take away to one of the Hunter’s beautiful look outs or enjoy on site.
Gundog Estate Jeff says: some of the friendliest cellar door staff you’ll meet and outstanding wines from hot young winemaker Matt Burton.
Brokenwood Todd says: okay it is a bigger name but the staff and venue make it feel you’ve discovered a secret and their wines (particularly the reserves) are better than most.
Whispering Brook Jeff says: if you’re heading out to Broke this is in a lovely spot with some delicious and different styles of wine.
Gartelmann Todd says: Jorg is a bit of a local legend and his chardonnay will make you change your mind about that style of wine you say you no longer like to drink!
The Hunter Valley is so much more than just fine wine and dining. Here’s what else we love to do:
Hunter Valley Gardens Todd says: breathtaking attention to detail and often host to family-oriented events such as the Christmas Lights spectacular and Winter in July
Hunter Valley Zoo Jeff says: it’s small but that gives kids (and grown-ups) a chance of a close encounter – plus they have lions!
Hunter Distillery Todd says: take a break from the wine and try amazing home grown spirits but definitely don’t think about driving home
Binnorie Dairy Jeff says: grab some delicious local cheeses to have with the wines you’ve bought throughout the day
Hunter Private Tours Todd says: tour the vineyards in style and comfort in a luxury vehicle. Sure beats elbowing others out of the way on a small bus!
Constable Estate Jeff says: good wine with amazing sculpture and one of the best 180 degree lookouts in the entire Hunter
Hunter Valley Joy Flights Todd says: run by great people, tour the vintage planes before your tiger moth flight (ask for an upgrade and they will fly you over our property for a unique perspective plus you get to fly the plane yourself!)
Ask us about other places you’re thinking of going, and how to get there.