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Thursday, 8 October 2015


A weekend getaway for sydney siders is generally 2-3 hour drive, a nice relaxing location involving a gorgeous view, amazing food and wine, am I right?  Sometimes its difficult to know exactly where to go, where to stay, and the organisation of everything else in between can be more of a hassle than a relaxing time, so let me help you find your perfect getaway, not too far from sydney and in a place you will never want to leave.

I am sure you have dreamt of going, or have been to, or through the gorgeous Hunter Valley in NSW at one stage of your life.  Perhaps for a concert, a wine tour, hens weekend or a romantic getaway,  Its the perfect place to put your feet up and take some much needed time out and enjoy all that our beautiful land here in Australia has to offer. 
I headed down recently for a weekend getaway and I just have to share all with you, it was too amazing !  

After we discovered Peppers Convent Pokolbin, I knew I had to visit, so we booked in for a romantic weekend getaway (cuuute) jumped in the car  ( chips and snacks in tow ) and made our way to the Hunter region !   As we drove into Peppers convent through the long rocky driveway, it was much like something out of Pride and Prejudice, or a villa in france, or maybe even a gorgeous heavenly dream. The trees lining the driveway all the way down to the flowing water fountain, bringing us to the most luxurious, welcoming hotel I have ever layed eyes on.

We couldn't  check into our room fast enough, and as as we entered the room, the decor and comfort blew my mind and I may or may not have jumped up and down with happiness on the luxurious king sized bed while shouting ' i'm home ' ( I wish ). The Convent dates back to 1909 and underwent a makeover/refurbishment in 2015, but they have definitely kept the country homestead feel and added a touch of class and luxury which makes your stay feel 5 star all the way.  


On the Convent lot there is an insanely amazing restaurant Circa 1876, which is surrounded by a kitchen garden, where almost all of the produce for the restaurant is grown and sourced from. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour by the head chef, and were able to experience pulling fresh carrots, strawberries and greens from the garden and pop them straight in our gobs, was a pretty incredible and humbling experience. Supermarket veggies don't get the same love from me now after that experience that's for sure ! 

We headed back to the room to sit on the stunning wrap around balcony, with a glass of rose from the convents winery, and watched the sun go down across the valley while the smell of fresh jasmine in the air made all of my city stresses rise from my shoulders and allowed we to finally feel relaxed ( and completely ready for a large feed at Circa 1876!)

The restaurant is one of a kind and has been built onto the original building at the front, which is like something out of Lord Of The Rings ( so magical, it is beyond amazing! ).  All of the staff are so friendly and are so passionate about the food, wine and what they do, that it makes the whole experience just that, an experience !   We started with beautiful wines and olives, croquets and … yes more wine…  and were then treated to the most heartfelt, beautifully presented meals, from pork belly, to fish, duck and all the way to a willy wonka styled dessert that will have you driving back for more. I'm no food critic ( although I do think I know whats good and what's terrible) but I have to say the food at Circa, primarily due to the fresh ingredients, care and poise that is put into every dish, every plate was a 11/10 . I literally could not fit in another bite yet was still asking for more.   The fact that I was eating things on my plate that I was tasting right outside the window in the garden just a couple of hours prior was beyond me, and just too amazing for words.  I loved the restaurant as a whole, and for a Monday night in the middle of nowhere, the place was pumping !  I can see why, and the hospitality was at an all time high. 
I LOVED it ! 


In the morning after sleeping off our 7 million calories, we walked downstairs to the heavenly communal room and ordered breakfast and coffee and enjoyed the view of the pool and the cascading flowers all around us, thinking to ourselves "how's the serenity"…  

 The hotel have an amazing little package deal where they organise a little picnic bag full of goodies, supplied by Circa,  and you can walk to any of the beautiful locations on the grounds and enjoy… and I can tell you this is just what we did !  We took our meats, cheeses, and aray of fruit and chocolates and sat under the stunning trees near the garden and relaxed in a romantic setting ( and yes ate our way through the morning once again )  … Thats whats holidays are for right!?  It was an incredible experience to just stop, relax and switch off from all of the stresses we are faced with daily, and enjoy the simple things, like a picnic !   

Driving away from Peppers ( can I take the bed with me ??  ) was a sad occasion as I truly never wanted to leave. The location, the serenity and the incredible service made for such a special weekend away and I couldn't recommend it any more . 
You can book out the whole place for weddings, take the girls for a gilt weekend, or take your loved one and get romantic like we did! 
Only  2 hours from Sydney, what more could you ask for ?….  A quick stop at the Smelly Cheese Shop on the way home maybe …..

For more information head to 


( Photography +Augustin Chauvet  : @augustinc )

Have the best time and drink lots of wine and eat ALL of the cheese



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