When I drove up to the main house on the ridge the owner came out to greet me I was more impressed. It’s not every day you get that sort of hospitality.
He directed me down to the camp ground next to the creek. With my eyes firmly on the farmhouse I missed it. The camping area is in a paddock and toilets and showers are a short drive away at the winery.
I got united with the rest of my camping buddies and promptly set up my tent. I could still see the smoke rising from the fireplace. Obviously the guys had a big fire going last night. After settling in it was time for a bit of exploring. The creek was only just running but the water was nice and cool with a few bigger pools where you could lay down and escape the heat. I’m always on the lookout for some new bird species to photograph. It wasn’t long before I saw a King Fisher, an Emerald dove and a variety of other smaller species.
After lunch it was time to go back up to the house for some wine tasting. Well the place is not called Hunting Lodge Estate Winery for nothing. Walking into the café cleared up another question. Daryl is a hunter hence the Hunting Lodge. He also likes collecting trophies. I didn’t try to count how many there are but three walls are filled with them some from Africa and North America. Standing next to the grisly bear was amassing. More about that one later.
The wine was very nice not that I am a connoisseur. One person in the party seemed to know a bit about the subject and seemed impressed. All I can say is that some of the sweet wines, liqueurs and the ports were really nice and smooth. That is probably why most of us just had to buy a few bottles. And some bought more than a few bottles. Vicky our hostess and lady of the house are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She made the whole afternoon so much fun.
Standing on the veranda looking out over the winery and the round huts (Rondavels) you could be forgiven for thinking you are somewhere in Africa on a cattle farm.
That night we all had dinner and sat around the campfire when Daryl came down to have a beer with us. We exchanged some stories and Daryl told us how he shot the grisly and also that that was only a small one. By the size of it I wouldn’t like to be confronted by a big one.
The next morning we drove up to the winery for some clay pigeon shooting. After a quick demonstration from Daryl and a talk about rifle safety we tried our hand at it with varying degrees of success.
Daryl gave us a tour of the winery and told us how he started making wine after being a third generation builder. He also gave us an insight into what is takes to make some of the very best ports around. And some award winning wines.
Having worked up an appetite it was time to head back to the lodge for some freshly baked scones and coffee.
Then it was time to get into the 4wds and explore the property a bit. Daryl led us around the property from crossing the creek right up into the hills with spectacular views of the valley. Some of the hill climbs were quite steep and some in the party decided not to take it on with their standard road tyres.
That petty much concluded the weekend at the lodge but it would not be the last time I visit this winery. If it is not for the nice wine it’s for the friendly service.
Visit their web site for more information. http://www.huntinglodgeestate.com.au