There is something about a winter weekender that gets my heart racing. I love the cool misty mornings, leaves falling from the trees, being able to layer up and wear winter coats, eat cosy food with friends and read a good book by a log fire. It might be my last day in Bali but I am already thinking about where my next weekender will be when I return home to Sydney (hint: ski trip). Thinking about what adventures I got up to last winter reminded me of when I set off for a weekender with three of my friends to the Hunter Valley. We left after work on a Friday afternoon and drove from Sydney to the Hunter Valley region. We stayed at The Longhouse in Pokolbin, which is a longhouse designed with traditional Australian Woolshed aspects in mind. Using cladding timbers which came from a 130 year old woolshed in Western Australia, the building is set amongst Chardonnay grapes on a 25 acre vineyard. With views to both the Barrington Tops and Broken Back mountain ranges, there are three apartments at Longhouse. Each designed to suit two couples with kingsize bedrooms, private ensuites, kitchen, living area, a log fire and a 48 metre deck. Perfect for a weekender in winter!

There are hundreds of vineyards to choose from and it can get a little overwhelming, so my best recommendation is to choose each vineyard by what your favourite varieties are. Whilst it is Semillon that has put the Hunter Valley on the world wine stage, its the Chardonnay, Verdehlo and Shiraz varieties which are making a lot of noise as well. Most people get around the Hunter with tour groups that charter people in mini buses to a selection of vineyards and open door cellars. The thought of being cooped up in a mini bus with a group of drunk people didn't appeal to us at all. So a friend from work suggested hiring bicycles which is what he had done with a group of mates previously. So that's what we did and it was the best idea. It allowed us to stop whenever we wanted, see the surrounds, take photos, sober up between vineyards and get a bit of exercise in as well. Win win!