Day 6: Brekkie, Kangaroos, and Vegemite by Day – Sir Stamford, The Opera House, and Dinner on the Quay by Night
We slept in! 6:00am and feeling good!
I only woke up kicking the Transformer-Kardashian-Wooly-Mammoth Spider of the bed once, so that was good. As I was typing up yesterday’s blog, Tony noticed a little something out of our back door, and BAM! Kangaroos first thing in the morning!
Breakfast was included with our night’s stay, and DANG! The biggest breakfast ever, and very Australian. There were eggs, chipolatas, beans, bacon, tomato, fruit loaf, quiche, bircher muesli, and vegemite!
The Aussie ladies sitting next to us instructed me so that I knew what to do: first toast the bread, then smear some butter, then a little vegemite. They thought I would hate it, but I didn’t.
Salty, goopy, and weird, but not horrific or anything. Kind of like Worchester sauce jam. Except non-horrific.
Anywho, we were so full we did not eat again until after 3. But even then we just had a snack (This is the equivalent of a normal couple saying they did not eat for two days after brekkie).
Off to explore! We checked out of our Tuscan mini-villa and met again with Jayne, who was so lovely and helpful. We got the HOOK UP for a tour at the Tyrell’s Winery, and some other little suggestions about a few to-do’s before heading back down to Sydney.
We checked out the Hunter Valley Gardens shops, and FINALLY found some flip-flops for Tony! Here he is – happy to be freeing his feet:
Then, on to Tyrell’s Winery. It looks gorgeous, it smells gorgeous, and of course, it tastes gorgeous. We were a little early for our 10:30am tour, so they offered us a glass of bubbly while we checked out the beautiful grounds:
That’s Brokenback Mountain in the background; not to be confused with Brokeback Mountain for you movie/Heath Ledger fans.
Then Damian provided a 90 minute tour, with the most informative lecture on wine making I have ever heard! I’ve been lucky enough to visit wineries in Sonoma, Napa, Tuscany, the Alsace, and the Winstrasse in Germany, and Damain surpassed all of those experiences. Here is Damian next to some insane smelling Shriaz grapes:
Note from Tony: Lisa totally had a crush on him.
After the tour we (I) tasted a little. Damian provided, “Water for the dry bloke!” (That would be Tony). All along I’ve been thinking I’d FINALLY be in a wine region with my kind of wine! Full bodied, masculine, lots of structure, and a smell like a forest floor.
Unfortunately, it is so hot in the Hunter Valley that the grapes ripen too quickly to produce this kind of wine. So the Hunter Valley Shiraz (to me) is like a Sonoma Pinot – thin, light, and pepper at the finish. I think the positive-sounding word is “elegant”, but to me it is puny.
So Damian and I talked it out, and apparently I’m more of a Barossa valley wine drinker. Tyrell’s makes a few wines with grapes from this region, and I was very happy to take home a shiraz with grapes grown in Barossa, but turned into wine right here at Tyrell’s.
Overall, it was a wonderful morning! I was very happy to learn that Tony enjoyed the tour as well.
Onward to the Hunter Valley Gardens! Just kidding.
When we got there we learned entry was $27 per person, which included admission to a garden which takes an hour to walk through… we didn’t think so. But here is the entrance, isn’t it nice?
We made a few more stops at a few more wineries, but didn’t pick up anything else. I think Verdelho is my favorite in the Hunter Valley, and I picked up a bottle of that yesterday – so we decided we were all set, and started our journey back to Sydney!
Tony was a pro and stayed to the left all the way back to the airport. We dropped off the car, and took a shuttle to the hotel… Wanna hear about the hotel?
I love bargains, so naturally I was looking for a bargain way to stay in the middle of the city. Hotwire has this function where they offer a certain quality of hotel for a rate, but it’s a “secret” which hotel you get. You essentially you can select 3.5 or 4 star, see the rate you’ll pay and what kind of hotel falls in that category, and then go for it! So Tony and I kept our eye on the rates for a few weeks, and then decided we could afford the 5 star for 3 nights if we went this route. We ended up with the “Sir Stamford Inn” right in the Quay:
Our room is lovely!
Spacious and cozy with a little Juliet balcony. My favorite is the bathroom. It is H.U.G.E. When you walk in the lights automatically go on. There’s a room on the right that’s the shower, and is bigger than my office back home. Then there’s another room with the toilet inside. Then there is an enormous bathtub.
The rooftop pool and lounge are a fav as well:
We unpacked, changed, and busted back out on the town to find dinner! Once again, thanks to our warrior brekkie, we really didn’t want a big meal, so Tony was in search of a salad, and I wanted to try another new fish. Tony had the folks at “Bar 100” slap some grilled chicken on a “rocket” (aka arugala) and watermelon salad, and I had the Barramundi with a prawn!
We found Tony some ice cream after dinner:
And then back to the hotel we went, but not without taking some candid shots of the our walk back “home.”
We sprung for the expensive internet so that we could get yesterday’s travel blog up, and I am hitting the sack! Tony will be up for awhile so he can catch up on emails and whatnot.
Thanks for reading, and talk to you tomorrow!
Lisa and Tony