Broke Fordwich in the Upper Hunter Valley is a very special area, one of the first settled by colonists yet not at all over developed today.
Here you will find rolling vineyards and splendid vistas over the foothills of the Brokenback Range. And looming over the valley is Yellow Rock, the large escarpment which rears high overhead.
There are 12 cellar doors to visit, olive groves, macadamia farms and all sorts of other hidden treasures. Wollombi Brook meanders through the landscape.
I’ve just spend a couple of days up in Broke Fordwich and now can understand completely why this area is known as:
The Tranquil Side Of The Hunter Valley
Here’s my first post on this charming area, a collection of must do’s when planning a trip to Broke Fordwich.
1. Take the Scenic Route via Bucketty and Wollombi
Do it just for those names! As soon as you leave the F3 you’re in the country. Buy fruit and veg from the farm gate around Calga Springs, buy chicken manure if you need some.
Pass by beautiful bush, gorgeous trees, paddocks full of horses and lots of funny old mail boxes.
You can explore historic buildings in Wollombi and try the infamous Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice. More information on Wollombi here.
There are many restaurants and cafes in Broke Fordwich, but really, what’s more relaxing than spending at least one or two nights in? There’s no need to stint on gourmet meals, though.
Melissa O’Toole and her family grow their own veggies and herbs, and farm their own meat and poultry. Then they cook up a storm and deliver fresh meals to you. It’s home grown and home cooked and you can taste the love and care that goes into each meal.
Read more on the Motty’s Farm Cuisine website here.
There are lots of accommodation options in Broke Fordwich. I stayed at the lovely Pemberley Grange in one of their six cottages. Check out the website here. More info to come on Pemberley Grange. Stand by!
If I were to stay with the family, I’d be very tempted to check out Starline Alpacas Farmstay Resort.
For comprehensive information about all accommodation on offer, click here.
There are 12 cellar doors to explore in Broke Fordwich, including the largest organic vineyward in the Hunter Valley, Ascella Wines. The biodynamic vineyard Krinklewood is also found in this area.
The marvellous thing about Broke Fordwich is that so many of the wineries are owner operated, so very often you will be being served and assisted by the owners themseles- a rare treat!
Nightingales Wines has a fine dining restaurant open for lunch and dinner, a well loved local institution. I really enjoyed my poached pear sections stuffed with feta wrapped in prosciutto and served on baby spinach salad.
I then went completely mad and had Nightingale verdelho liqueur accompanied by rich dark chocolate ganache enveloping dried fruit and nuts, finished with dark berry compote. Waistline, forgive me!
Nightingales also has some lovely accommodation, see the website here.
6. Visit Margan Restaurant and Wines – Not To Be Missed!
You really must visit Margan Wines and try the restaurant too. It’s a very special place. There’s a working farm which produces most of the food cooked in the kitchen. The menu is based around what is seasonal in the kitchen garden and orcahrds. And you can taste that freshness in the food.
The wines are estate grown and made. Andrew and Lisa Margan are very passionate about what they have created here. Read more about it on the website here.
I’ve posted some more photos of Margan here, check out their gorgeous kitchen gardens.
I find there’s nowhere better to study history than when you’re staying in the place it happened. It’s so much more chilling to read of murders and mysteries when you are right beside where they happened.
Area first settled in 1820, dispossessing the local Wonnarua people, several incidents of violence occurred as the first peoples were forced off their lands.Village of Broke founded in 1860. One of the early landowners was John Blaxland who was granted 4, 280 acres in 1825. He named his estate Fordwich after his birthplace in Kent in England. Sheep and cattle were raised and a home built, all using convict labour.
Planning Your Next Trip
I’m already planning a trip back to Broke Fordwich with my family. I’d love to try:
A Wine Tour of Broke, small personalised tours of the area metting local wine makers.
Pickled and Pitted, the retail outlet of River Flats Estate selling olive oils, gourmet produce, cheese, soap and moreat 67 Wollombi Road, Broke
Peaks Retreat 9-Hole Golf Course, earmarked to keep my husband amused.
I’ll also be looking for kid-friendly bush walks, some horse riding, a chocolate shop or two… or I think we could spend some very happy days here as a family!
Broke Fordwich Wine Country – Information
Check out the Broke Fordwich website here.
Find Broke Fordwich on Facebook here.
Travelling From Sydney Via Wollombi – Very Scenic:
Join the F3 Freeway at Wahroonga but take the exit at Calga and Peats Ridge (route 33 first exit after Mt White). Follow the signs for Wollombi. Travel along the old Pacific Highway for approx 15 kilometres and then turn left at Peats Ridge following signposts to Wollombi and Singleton. The road follows the Old Convict Trail from Bucketty and winds through the valley, past Murrays Run and Laguna before arriving at Wollombi. Continue straight ahead at the Wollombi Tavern – there is a short section of dirt road (half a kilometer only) just outside Wollombi but improves shortly afterwards. Continue along the Wollombi road for a further 30 Kms until you reach Broke.
NB I’d always try to drive this route in daylight if you don’t know the road well.
You can tell I loved this visit, can’t you?
I’ll be taking my family there for a wee stay sometime soon.
Do you know Broke Fordwich?
Do you have a favourite cellar door there?
My visit was hosted by the Broke Fordwich Wine and Tourism Association – grateful thanks to everyone I met and to Ken of Serenity Grove, an olive farm with accommodation, for driving me around- what a treat.
Thanks also for allowing me to use some photos from the media kit provided. It was rainy during my visit so all the gorgeous wide exterior shots on this post were taken by the pros. Thank you…. just look at that shot below- inspiring.