Sydney and the Hunter Valley gourmet experiences
Discover Australia's fine wines and creative cuisine on this five-day culinary tour of the Hunter Valley and Sydney. Wine tasting, cooking classes and dining experiences combine with must-do activities on Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach to deliver a tasty program.
What to know
- Five-day program
- Food and wine experiences in the Hunter Valley and Sydney, plus Bondi Beach and Sydney Harbour highlights
- Sydney Airport is 15 minutes from the city centre. Cessnock Aerodrome is in the heart of the Hunter Valley
Day 1: Wining and dining in the Hunter Valley
Head to Sydney Airport – 20 minutes south of the city – for your private charter flight to the Cessnock Aerodrome in the heart of Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions and home to more than 150 wineries and cellar doors dotted across the rolling green hills.
Begin with lunch at Goldfish Bar & Kitchen in the town of Pokolbin, a five-minute drive from Cessnock Aerodrome. Goldfish offers a range of event spaces, including the sophisticated Parlour, which can accommodate up to 30 people seated; the Bar, which has seating for up to 80; and the outdoor Terrace, which can accommodate up to 500 people and boasts vineyard views plus access to the estate’s lawns. Enjoy a casual pizza lunch or the chef’s tasting menu paired with Hunter Valley wines. Next, head to the neighbouring Tempus Two cellar door for a private wine tasting.
Check-in to Château Élan located in The Vintage Golf Club, just seven minutes down the road. Set on an 18-hole golf course, this luxury resort boasts 100 rooms, including suites and villas, as well as six conference and event spaces. Host a welcome dinner for up to 170 people in the Founders Room, before moving to the sandstone Carriage House for drinks and a surprise movie screening.
Day 2: Cellar doors, spa treatments and golf
After a buffet breakfast in the onsite The Legends Grill Bar and Restaurant, head to First Creek Wines, where you can host team-building activities on the grounds, followed by a winery tour and tasting at the cellar door. Next, travel five minutes by road to Audrey Wilkinson. This historic winery is 150 years old, and boasts some of the best views in the Valley. Enjoy a tour of the winemaking museum, before sitting down to a private wine tasting with cheese platters.
Your next stop is lunch at Hope Estate. Share a degustation lunch with matched wines on the verandah of Harvest Restaurant while taking in views of the surrounding vineyards. For large groups, the Great Cask Hall can accommodate 180 guests seated and the Winery Warehouse 1,000 guests. After lunch, return to Château Élan for your choice of activities. Have a facial or massage in one of 17 spa suites, followed by a soak in the jacuzzi. Play a round of golf on the resort’s Greg Norman–designed course. Or join a sunset horseriding tour through the Molly Morgan Range, spotting kangaroos and wallabies as they emerge for the evening.
For your final night in the Hunter Valley, enjoy dinner at Bimbadgen Estate. Start with a wine-blending activity at the cellar door, then host an eight-course degustation dinner in the Esca Bimbadgen dining room, which can accommodate groups of three to 110 people. There’s also a private dining room with seating for 25 guests. Bimbadgen, Hope Estate and Tempus Two hold music concerts throughout the year, so keep an eye on their calendars for upcoming events.
Day 3: Experiences Sydney's culinary delights
Once you’ve finished breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to board a coach for the two-and-a-half-hour drive south to Sydney. Travel directly to The Langham, Sydney, which offers 98 guest rooms, and views of Sydney and Darling harbours and historic The Rocks district. After you’ve dropped off your bags, head to the harbour’s edge for lunch at Cafe Sydney on the rooftop of Customs House. Make a group booking for 12 to 40 people, or exclusively hire the restaurant for seated events (up to 140 people) and cocktail functions (up to 325 people).
After lunch, take a 10-minute walk through The Rocks to the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Join the BridgeClimb Express tour, climbing to the summit and back in just over two hours. Don’t forget to pose for a group photo on top of the bridge.
Enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the Langham Supper Club lounge, before dining on contemporary Australian cuisine in Bistro Remy or hosting a private dinner in one of The Langham’s event spaces. The Drawing Room can accommodate 50 people for a seated function, while the Ballroom can host up to 150 for a banquet or 200 people for a cocktail function. If you feel like venturing out after dinner, visit historic yet modernised Hotel Palisade, a five-minute walk down the road. The hotel’s intimate Parlour cocktail lounge can be booked for groups of up to 50 people.
Day 4: Art gallery tour and gourmet classes
Begin your day with a private yoga class in the Royal Botanic Garden, on the edge of Sydney Harbour. Next, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in The Rocks for a private one-hour tour of the gallery’s cutting-edge exhibitions, led by an MCA Artist Educator. Head to the MCA Cafe on Level 4 for lunch, where you’ll have uninterrupted views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House while you enjoy modern Australian flavours.
Visit the Archie Rose Distilling Co., a 20-minute drive from the centre of Sydney, for a distillery tour and Blend Your Own Gin class. Choose from a range of pure native Australian botanicals to create two custom-designed gins, which will be bottled into 200-millilitre flasks for you to take home. After you’ve finished the blending session, enjoy a cocktail and a cheese platter at the bar. Private classes are available for groups of two to 120 people.
Return to The Rocks for a sushi-making class at Saké Restaurant & Bar, before heading next door to The Cut Bar & Grill. Set in a historic sandstone building, this award-winning steakhouse offers a range of function spaces. Book the entire restaurant for seated events (up to 60 people) or cocktail functions (up to 140 people), or choose a private dining table for up to 22 guests. Choose from an à la carte menu of premium steaks and seafood, or ask the chefs to set up an interactive carving station.
Day 5: Bondi Beach and Sydney Harbour highlights
After breakfast, climb onto the back of a Harley-Davidson for a one-hour ride to Bondi with Wild Ride Australia, travelling through the city and Eastern Suburbs. Once you arrive at Bondi Beach, swap your helmet in favour of a swimsuit for a surfing lesson with Let’s Go Surfing.
After you’ve worked up an appetite catching waves, have lunch at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Perched above the ocean baths at the southern end of Bondi Beach, this acclaimed restaurant offers jaw-dropping sea views and an Italian-style seafood menu. The light-filled dining room can host 120 people for a sit-down meal, while the open-air terrace can accommodate 60 seated. Once you’ve finished lunch, head to Rose Bay, a 10-minute drive away, to take a scenic flight over the coast and harbour with Sydney Seaplanes, cruising over secluded coves and the city’s iconic sights.
As night falls, book water taxis or charter a yacht for the ride to Fort Denison, a small island in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Built more than 150 years ago, this atmospheric island can accommodate groups of 40 to 200 people for dinner. Host a gala banquet in the marquee, starting with cocktails and canapés on the waterfront.