Hi all, it’s Bruce here, from Best Tour. As you may know, the Hunter Valley is a great place to spend a day visiting cellar doors and enjoying a good drop or two along the way, so it’s a great idea to leave the car at home so that you can relax and enjoy the sights!
We think that it is really
important to pick the right winery tour to suit your needs to ensure a great day out is had by all! I want to share with you a few tips about how to pick the right tour for you.
Tip #1 – Book your tour
When you start looking for a tour, you might find that here can be lots of tours to choose from, so the best way to start is to contact an accredited tour operator or a local Visitor Information Centre, to find out which tours are running and what they do. It is good to speak personally with the tour operator, as they will be friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and flexible to help you make your choice. At Best Tours we like to discuss a few of the finer details with you to make sure that we can give you a great day out, such as whether you have been wine tasting before, what you want out of your day, dietary requirements and of course, any special requests such as a favourite winery that you want to visit!
Tip #2 – The Vehicle
The condition and size of the bus is important, remember that you will be travelling in it all day. Try to see a picture of the bus online, or on a brochure to get an idea of what you are booking. The inside should be clean, the seats should be stain free, comfortable and adjustable. Before every tour, we like to ensure that the bus is cleaned inside and out, including sparkling clean windows for a pleasant ride in the bus, to take some great photos and most of all, admire the view.
Tip #3 – The Tour
Don’t forget that some bus tours include other people for a great social experience. If you would prefer private tour, they can usually be arranged. We are more than happy to accommodate groups who want a more private experience and so we can book the bus out for them, all that you have to do is make sure that you call in advance to make a booking.
Tip #4 – Wine and Dine
There are over 150 wineries to pick from in the Hunter Valley, but the tour operator that you choose might have a set itinerary – remember to let the tour operator know if you have somewhere in mind that you want to visit. Five wineries make for a full days comprehensive tasting. The wineries that you will visit should have passionate, knowledgeable and friendly staff. At Best Tours, we like to also visit boutique wineries for a more personalised experience. This means that you will likely be served by the owner or the wine maker, who will have a few good stories to share with you about the area and their wine.
It’s a good idea to include lunch with a tour as it breaks up the wine tasting and gives you a chance to refresh your palate. You can’t beat a two course restaurant lunch with an entrée, choice of 4 mains, desert, tea and coffee, all prepared while you are tasting a few great Hunter Valley wines!
Tip # 5 – Don’t forget your camera!
At least one winery in the itinerary should have spectacular views for a few great photos. The Hunter Valley has some amazing countryside for you to enjoy. We think that it is really important to include at least one winery with spectacular views of the Hunter Valley and the Barrington mountains for some great photo ops. If you have any special requests, remember to tell your guide so that they can plan your tour route in advance.
Tip # 6 – Finish on a sweet note
Our favourite way to finish off a tour is with a cheese tasting and chocolate tasting. There is always someone on the bus who loves cheese or chocolate or both! So what better way to finish off the tour than to visit the Smelly Cheese Shop and have a private fetta tasting followed by cheese tasting at the counter, then onto the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company where a plate of samples awaits you. You can then sing along to great 70’s music on the way home!
Hopefully these tips will help you to pick a tour that is best for you. So next time you are thinking of heading to the Hunter Valley for a visit, leave the car home and jump on a tour for a great day out! Best Tours –