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Lovedale  New South Wales

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Cessnock may be the shopping centre of the Lower Hunter, but for wine and food the surrounding villages of Pokolbin, Lovedale and Rothbury are taste central. The area is situated 150 km to the north of Sydney, and 60 km inland from the Pacific coast. Lovedale is a quiet hamlet surrounded by vineyards, 12 km from Cessnock and just a short drive from Pokolbin.

The growth of the region has been proportional with the success of the Australian wine industry. Grapes were planted in the Hunter Valley the 1820s, with wine produced since the mid-1800s, though for a long time wine was the sleeper of the local alcohol market. As Australians began to drink more wine in the 1970s, and as our wine reached a wider market overseas, areas such as the Hunter Valley have undergone remarkable growth.

The explosion of interest and growth of Pokolbin has resulted in a number of Lower Hunter Valley sub-districts, one of which is Lovedale.The roads to visit in Lovedale are Lovedale Road, Wilderness Road and Talgo Road, where you'll find vineyards, restaurants and accommodation. A highlight of the Lovedale year is the Lovedale Long Lunch, a two-day moveable feast organised and operated by a consortium of wineries, held annually in May. Local restaurants or guest chefs, present entree-sized servings of gourmet dishes, accompanied by selected house wines in an al fresco setting. Cellar door premises and courtyards are dressed up with add-on attractions such as art exhibitions, jazz and classical musicians and the event now attracts more than 10,000 visitors arriving by car, bus, bicycle, aircraft and even a special steam train.

Looking a little further afield, the vineyards, wineries and restaurants of Pokolbin are just a short drive away. Golfers will love the area, with several courses ranging from link-style courses to resort-style.

An excellent starting point for exploration of the area is the Visitor Information Centre on Allandale Road near the start of Broke Road. In addition to information the centre also houses the Hunter Valley Wine Society, the Wine Country Cafe and a wine interpretive centre.


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