The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Wednesday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Auckland
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
15° & RAINY ON WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER IN AUCKLAND
FOOD & DRINK

The Five Best Vineyard Getaways in Australia

Pop open a bottle of estate-grown wine at these stylish stays among the Australian vines.
By Rich Fogarty
February 18, 2015
  shares

The Five Best Vineyard Getaways in Australia

Pop open a bottle of estate-grown wine at these stylish stays among the Australian vines.
By Rich Fogarty
February 18, 2015
  shares

This may not be a revelation worthy of a David Attenborough doco, but after years of hotel sleuthing, boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith tell us they have the check-in patterns of men and women down pat: he sizes up the entertainment system while she susses out the bathroom situation. Then, after flicking on remotes and getting a whiff of Aesop toiletries, both gather to scope the contents of the minibar.

When those half serves of wine and teeny bottles of gin won't do, we suggest checking into one of these stylish wine region stays, all within cork-popping distance of world-class vineyards.

cp-line

1. MONA Pavilions, Hobart

Where: 655 Main Road, Berriedale, Tasmania
What: Pinot noir and aromatic whites

It may be the head-scratching artworks in the museum that draw crowds to MONA, but this multi-tasking maverick has much to keep you entertained once the gallery shuts its oversized doors. Situated on the edge of Hobart's Derwent River, MONA Pavilions mixes a serene setting with ultra-contemporary pavilions and original art from luminaries such as Arthur Boyd and Brett Whiteley.

There's also lip-smacking restaurant Source and a cellar door that offers tastings of Moo Brew beers and elegant Moorilla Estate wines, made using cool-climate grapes from Huon and Tamar Valley. Book through Smith and you'll get a private cellar door tasting and a bottle of Muse Series wine. More info

cp-line

2. Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

Where: 555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales
What: Semillon and shiraz

Just a two-hour drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is the ultimate wine-lovers getaway. Give yourself an early mark on Friday afternoon to beat the throngs on the F3, then check into Spicers Vineyards Estate, an adults-only sanctuary set among shiraz and merlot vines.

Pop open a bottle of the estate-grown wine (free if you've booked through Smith), before slipping into the double spa bath. After a wow-worthy dinner in the hotel's restaurant Botanica, a country-chic space mere metres from your suite, nab a spot by the fireplace in the cosy communal lounge. The next day, after a fortifying breakfast in the dining room, let Spicers staff arrange a bespoke tasting tour to standouts such as Keith Tulloch, Tyrrell's and Andrew Thomas. More info

cp-line

3. The Louise, Barossa Valley

Where: Seppeltsfield Road, Marananga, South Australia
What: Shiraz and grenache

The Barossa may be best known for its big, ballsy reds and Teutonic tendencies, but there's refinement to be found in the vale, too. Boutique hotel the Louise is a case in point: 15 sleekly styled suites with spa baths and private courtyards, plus one of Australia's finest regional restaurants, Appellation.

Reception can help arrange cellar door visits to Penfolds, Henschke and other regional heavyweights – bring a high tolerance level for intellectual wine-speak as you taste the best Barossa drops (expect to hear 'toasty', 'berry', 'liquorice' and 'tobacco' used at least thrice daily). Smith bookings score a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, the perfect pre-dinner pep-up. More info

cp-line

4. Empire Retreat & Spa, Margaret River

Where: Margaret River region. 1958 Caves Road, Yallingup, Western Australia
What: Sem-sauv blancs and cabernet

Housed in an old stone farmhouse among rows of chardonnay and cabernet vines, Empire Retreat & Spa is a soul-soothing sanctuary in the heart of Margaret River. There are 10 modern-rustic rooms located in and around the central lodge, ranging from contemporary Lodge Suites to Luxury Villas, which feature a sunken lounge area, spa bath and courtyard shower.

Hop between Margaret River's surf beaches and cellar doors, such as Moss Wood and Vasse Felix, then head back to Empire. Here, fireside couches beckon for a grazing plate and a glass of wine (you'll nab a bottle on arrival if you book through Smith), and the decadent day spa delivers sigh-inducing treatments including the three-hour Opulence session. More info

cp-line

5. North Bundaleer, Clare Valley

Where: RM Williams Way, Jamestown, South Australia
What: Riesling all the way

There's more than a lilting hint of Victorian luxe to North Bundaleer, a lavishly decorated homestead on a 400-acre sweep of farmland. This is a decadent, all-inclusive affair, with meals and drinks included in the room rate, including evening canapés, killer Clare Valley wines and an open bar. Oh yes.

Lord it up in the Red Room Suite, home to a canopied four-posted, sitting room with open fire and a bath and shower in what was once the conservatory (how very Cluedo). Nearby, notable locals include Sevenhill, Crabtree and O'Leary Walker for refined riesling and elegant reds. If you need to work off all of that indulgence, climb to the top of Maslin Lookout for sublime sunset views. More info

cp-line

Published on February 18, 2015 by Rich Fogarty

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x