Saturday, March 28, 2009

Life in Hunter Valley and Lillians

Hunter Valley is a beautiful vineyard located next to the town of Cessnock. Or should I say Cessnock is located inside Hunter Valley.

And the main spot is called Lovedale.

lovedale map

Locating Lillians took a bit of effort, we came from the south of the map and headed north. It's located in the 5th column 5th row in the map. Can you find it?


We were pretty excited as we drove up the estate house in the middle of a vast empty land (3-4 acres?).

drive up to lillians

The house from the driveway already looked pretty promising.

Soon we were at the front porch moving our luggage into the house from the car.


Due to my personal request for a specific dessert wine that I've heard so much about, Bill from Allandale winery (from next door) specially had someone hand-delivered a bottle of Anna Semillon Sauvignon Blanc to our door step just as the evening arrives.

anna semillon sauvignon blanc

my sweet dessert wine

The wine was awarded wine of the year in some competition btw, just to prove my point of how lovely this wine was. :p

wine of the year sauvignon blanc

We chucked the bottle into the fridge to chill and drove out to a nearby boutique restaurant to have our first wine dining.


Out of excitement, I forgot to bring my camera out. We've chosen Mojo's to have our first dinner in Hunter, a local recommendation.

photo taken from the site.

The dinner cost us almost AUD80 per person, with wine. Not a full three course meal as we're not exactly big eater, but you get the rough idea. Nothing fancy is cheap.

Mojo's was absolutely lovely. I especially adore their cameralised balsamic vinegar they served with their Hunter's own olive oil which you usually dip with home made fresh dinner roll/bread. I even bought the bottle of vinegar and now it's sitting half bottle consumed in my fridge.

That night we got home and took the bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc out and went backyard to spend the rest of our night chatting in the cold winter drizzles.

candle light at night

Nothing beats a lovelier evening. Everything was perfect. If only Kif and I were single back then, damn it. *Potong steam* (kidding :p)

glass of wine at night

We went to bed separately as the night drew in. But not before placing the frozen croissants on the tray in the kitchen for the next day.

frozen croissants

Morning came...

morning lounge

I took the chance to use the beautiful jacuzzi in my bathroom. Ho ho ho...

morning after shower

It got cold so I borrowed a jumper from Kif and pulled it over myself. Brrr....

Morning in Lillians was perfect. The fresh air, the cold quiet lounge, unwashed wine glass on the table. It's something I wouldn't mind waking up to every morning for the rest of my life. We even spotted a few wallabies hopping around the fences out of the kitchen window.

wallabies in the morning

Things got more "homey" when we went to check out our croissants on the table.

raised croissants

It's raised to perfection.

So we stuck the two loaves into the oven and proceeded with our morning hang abouts.

hot oven baked croissants

There, our perfect croissants, with butter, for breakfast.

Before and after

After changing, we drove out to explore the rest of Hunter Valley.

Okay, one thing beautiful about living in Lillians or in a vineyard, is that you wake up to a scenery like this every morning.

Hunter Valley

Makes you wanna skip a few steps everywhere you go.

jumping around

We visited some chocolate shops (will blog about this more, he he he).

chocolate shop next to smelly cheese shop

Some cheese shop.

more cheese

Some wineries.

me and kiff and huge ass shiraz

There was one winery that has everything to do with pigs.

piggies welcome sign

metal pig

sucking pig on wine bottle

You know the owner is obsessed with pigs when you find the name of the bottle of wine named after this.

suckling pig shiraz

Wanted to walk around the Hunter's garden when it started raining. So only got to see the map at the entrance of the garden.

hunter valley village map

So instead we went back to Allandale and met up with Bill for lunch at Leaves and Fishes.

lunch leaves and fishes

bill and kif at lunch
Bill and Kif talking about the wine industry in Malaysia

Baked salmon and fish & chips here were excellent.

salmon on a bed of mash potatoes

fish and chip

Service was wonderful, so was the humor of the place.

stressed is desserts

"Stressed is Desserts spelt backwards" Haha! I never knew that!

Making this my new fav phrase, I decided to live up to the phrase.

merlot wine chocolate

Wine chocolate! What better choices of dessert in a wine country!

We proceeded to visit more wineries after lunch. And get drunk while at it. Make sure your driver was either a very responsible driver, or pretty darn good drinker.

Having visited more cheese shop and wineries, we ended up making our own candlelight dinner at Lillians.

me at dinner

Perfected with bread, vinegar and olive oil, salads, and steaks as main.

beef salad
Salad and beef from supermarket in Cessnock.

As a bottle of sparkling sweet rose from a nearby winery.

sparking rose dessert wine

Dinner, as I may put it, was superb. Prepared by yours truly. :p

blue cheese and beef
Sirloin and blue cheese

We ended the night by playing Oreo Checkers and Kif eating up all my checkers.

kif eating oreos

On our final morning, we packed our bags and went next door to pay a visit to Allandale Winery. :D

allandale winery in hunter valley

allandale winery

Met up with Bill, manager of Allandale,

me and bill

chatted for a bit and had him gave us a tour around his distillation.

posing in allandale winery distillation

Bad move, Bill, bad move.

digging for wine

Next thing you know half of your distillation will go missing overnight, especially that distillation tin with Sweet Semillon Sauvignon Blanc listed on it.

semillon sauvignon blanc in the making

We learnt a lot about wine making that day.

Facts like French oak is a favorable choice for aging red wine or Chardonnay, it's one of the most expensive oaks too,


or the fact that you have to change a new oak barrel every five year or so because the wine would have soaked away a thick later of the oak.

soaked oak

or the fact that if you like free wine as I do, make friends with the wine connoisseur of the winery.

wine connoisseur

By the end of the tour, you'd end up with more than a dozen glasses of wine down your liver.

allandale wines

We then returned to the house and moved our bags into the car to prepare our trip north into Newcastle.

Before we leave, we flipped through the guest book and left a comment, or two.

guest book

If you're ever had the chance to stay in Lillians, look for my signature. :)

my comments in guest book

Till then, we'll miss you Lillians.

goodbye to lillians

Thank you for the most amazing experience.


  1. I wonder if Kif ate more Oreos or if he drank more... :p he looks so red with his mouth stuffed with oreos... or is he out of breath..?

  2. I visited Oz for the first time a few years back. Spent most of the time in Sydney, but took four days off to visit Cessnock and the Hunter Valley. I stayed at the HI Hostel out there which was new at the time and made it a point to visit Piggs Peak. Did you try the House of Bricks Shiraz? Awesome jammy stuff!

  3. hehe.. at 1st i tot the two white things is garlic, before turning into croissants.. hehe..

  4. Hi Nicole, I read about ur story of hospital in the paper yesterday, quite worried...Glad to see that u r ok now...and it's the first time I'm coming to ur blog...good going, girl...

  5. i'd tried many aussie's wine but nvr try that piggy. i wonder if that it is available in KL.