Hunter delights

Just a two-hour drive north of Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley have plenty to offer gourmets, travel editor Winsor Dobbin reports.

For wine lovers there is a special thrill in staying in a vineyard or on a winemaking property – right in the centre of the action. Innovative Hunter Valley producer De luliis has just launched the Winemakers House at De luliis (above): which for the moment is one of the valley’s best-kept secrets.

The contemporary four-bedroom house is a split-level residence billed as being ideal for up to seven guests. Located on Broke Road at the home of De luliis, Winemakers House has a fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, air-con, wifi, Nespresso machine and an outdoor entertaining area with a private barbecue.

Nestled just 30 metres from De Iuliis’ architecturally designed cellar door, guests are free to wander around the winery and taste premium wines. The house features four bedrooms comprising one king room with an en-suite bathroom, two king rooms, one king single room (ideal for the snorer in the party) , and two and a half bathrooms. Winemakers House at De luliis is pet-friendly, meaning four-legged friends are welcome to join a family getaway.

To celebrate the launch, De luliis is offering a “Book two nights, receive the third night free” deal that includes a premium wine tasting at the De Iuliis cellar door. 

Rates start from $683 per night midweek for a minimum of two nights. 


There can be few cities anywhere on the planet that have made such a success of re-branding themselves than Newcastle. The once-grimy mining centre is now equally known for its gastronomy scene.

The city will host the inaugural month-long Newcastle Food Month in April and will join 80 other global cities as it presents for the very first time, Le Diner en Blanc (above) on Saturday, April 10. 

Over 1000 people will take to the city streets dressed in white for a Parisian-inspired pop-up dinner.

Newcastle is home to an ever-growing number of cafes, restaurants, bars, and pubs. 

Event organiser Louise Maher from Newcastle Events said “Over the next five years our aim is that the Newcastle culinary scene becomes one of our most recognised assets and that the Newcastle Food Festival becomes one of Australia’s leading regional food festivals, drawing diners from around Australia to celebrate with us.

“Barely two hour’s drive from the nation’s capital, New South Wales’ second-largest city has never been more accessible and has the people, the wine and the produce to support the thriving foodie culture that we’re seeing in Newcastle.

“We’re so fortunate to have the Hunter Valley – renowned for its wines, and Port Stephens – known for its pristine seafood on our doorstep and a plethora of amazing produce and talent accessible to us.” 

Newcastle Food Month will include more than 100 food-focused events, including Plate Dates with over 60 local venues each offering their specialities on a plate with a matching beverage for just $25. 

The full program is now available at  

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