Hunter Valley

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Continuing on with my trip to Australia…

After our stay at Kangaroo Island, we spent one last night in Adelaide (you do NOT want to stay in the Mecure Adelaide unless you like moldy bathrooms and dirty carpets… ew) and then flew off to Sydney. Yes, I was straining at the window to see if I could see the opera house while landing. Nope.

We met with a rep from Destination NSW – the tourism office that was sponsoring our final leg of our trip. We were in Nicole’s hands from here on.

First up, was a quick lunch at The Australian Reptile Park, just outside Sydney, on our way to Hunter Valley. Even though most of the agents in the group groused at the thought of having lunch in a “reptile park” it was Disney-awesome. And I only saw one lizard. The staff were super friendly and answered all our North American ignorant questions with smiles: “Will koalas actually give you chlamydia if you hold them?” or “To Tasmanian Devils actually spin?”

One chap, who’s legs were covered in fresh blood, lead us through the big open paddock, showing us koala, wombat and wallaby. What? Oh the fresh blood? He was just playing with the Tassies before coming to meet us, hence the shredded shins. As we walked by the goat pen, he said: “Be sure to give some special attention to Princess Sparkles.”

“It’s amazing you can say that with a straight face,” I replied.

Later, after 14 female travel agents had finished coo-ing over goats, he announced: “Now I’m going to pull out a wombat.”

“Again, you say that with a straight face…” I say.

After a hearty lunch and more visits from Australia’s finest iconic animals (I saw a joey in a pouch!), we boarded the bus for our 2 hour drive up to Hunter Valley.

After driving past endless golf courses and wineries, we pull into the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a 5 star boutique hotel with massive rooms overlooking… nothing. It was a beautiful, modern hotel that serviced the wineries and golf courses but was surrounded by suburban homes. Weird. But I wasn’t looking a (free) gift horse in the mouth.

The beds… oh my god the beds… so comfortable. Yet I was awake again at 3am on my completely screwed body clock.

The next day was the busiest day on our trip: a botanical garden tour, two wine tastings, lunch (with wine), a cheese factory visit, and a chocolate factory tour.

I now know all I need to know about red wine. Sadly, I don’t drink much of it. But the day was delicious, of course.

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