WOOD FIRED CABIN.. CHECK; OUTDOOR JACUZZI.. CHECK; 180º VIEWS.. CHECK; CLOSE TO WINE REGION.. CHECK; OH & KANGAROOS.. CHECK.
Although sneaking off to exotic islands and sunny beach escapes during the warmer months is definitely our thing, we also think there’s nothing better than cosying up in front of the fire in an old wooden cabin, especially when it’s freezing outside. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Newcastle, and doing day trips to the Hunter Valley and holidays in the Barrington Tops, was a common thing. Coming into May of 2014, I thought it might be nice to explore this area again as an adult. A few thousand daggy websites and pictures later, I managed to find a place that I knew may be a bit hit and miss decor wise, but location and outdoor spa with a view wise, I was pretty sure I hit a winner. It was also a much cheaper alternative to those more well known spots closer to the winery. Turns out everything about this trip just kept meeting us with wonderful surprises!
Note this is also a great one for groups and families :)
- Getting there Vacy is about a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney and 1 hour from Newcastle. Once you get to Eagleview you go up quite a windy mountain (which for us was a little scary coming in late on the Friday night) to the cabin. You're about a 30 minute drive from the Hunter Valley wineries.
- Where to stay You can choose to stay closer to the wineries or do as we did and head to Billabong Spa Cabin, featured here. Also check out our 'Where to stay' section for more options around Vacy as well as its surrounds.
- What to do Explore the wineries, go hiking in the Barrington Tops, explore the towns of Patterson, Morpeth, Maitland, feed the kangaroos, play tennis, take in the views reading a good book, do nothing by the fire, slow cook a pie etc, simply read the guide.
Accom = $250pn sleeps 6
Petrol = $80 return from Sydney
Eat in = $50
Eat out = $100-200 (incl. wine)
Total = $400-$800
Our spa cabin for the weekend was called Billabong and it sits high in the mountains of Eagleview Highland Park with 270° views out to Hunter Valley as well as Barrington Tops National Park. It’s by no means fancy, but that’s its charm. It has 3 bedrooms and would be perfect for couples, families or groups, depending on your budget (from $250pn). The kitchen is fully equipped and there are two bathrooms, one with a second spa bath (if you’re not brave enough to venture outdoors). It’s quaint and the views are spectacular, so you can nestle in by the cast iron fireplace and watch the ever changing weather from the comfort of the couch. Or do what we did and poor yourself a glass of wine and quickly run and jump in the hot jacuzzi. Note – yes that is actually a kangaroo in the background!
Waking up on our first morning I looked out the window to see the view and was surprised to see this little guy and his mum waiting out there for us to feed them. The owners kindly leave food out for you and it seems every kangaroo in the area knows about it. They were so cute that I had to wake Andrew straight away and we ran outside like a couple of little kids. It’s was pretty cool getting so close to these guys, they are so tame.
Home made breakfast with a view.
Once you’re done with the kangaroos and starting to get cabin fever, it’s time to get out and explore the area. There are a few little towns nearby like Patterson or Morpeth which are worth stopping in for a cheeky pie or to grab some supplies. Or you can do what we did and make your way to the Hunter Valley for lunch and wine tasting! It’s only a 30 minute picturesque drive.
Our winery stop for the day was for lunch at the delicious Bimbadgen Estate. The food here is always a winner with wine to match. There are obviously so many more that the Hunter Valley have on offer but we’ll have to come back for a proper weekend guide someday soon.
Saturday night we stayed in by the fire and cooked a lamb roast.
Up early morning on Sunday, we were allowed to stay the whole day as no one was coming the next night. We took the opportunity for a slow Sunday with our new friends the kangaroos and watched the ever changing views, fire on, cheese plate out, as we slow cooked a Beef Bourguignon Pie from Delicious magazine.
And it was deeelicious! The ultimate slow Sunday.
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If you’re thinking about heading to Vacy and/or the Hunter Valley for your next weekend away we’ve got plenty of options for accommodation under our ‘where to stay’ section. If you’d like to download a more packaged version of this guide that you can take with you, click here. Or, if you’d like one of our printed guides for this trip we have both him and her versions for that special gift in our shop here.
Of course we’re only two people and can’t get to see everything that this region has to offer so if you have any other tips feel free to leave them in the comments below as we’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in more guides towards the north check out our guides for Newcastle, Port Stephens and Blueys Beach. Happy holidaying!