2018 Denman Trip
Various commitments saw a staggered arrival at the Sandy Hollow Tourist Park, about 2 hours north-west of Newcastle. Those with the good life travelled up early and enjoyed an easy start to the weekend - those running late caught the traffic coming out of Newcastle. Chris and Manny made the late comers feel good by texting that they were already at the pub. Upon arrival most people were presented with Prosecco Spritzers served by event co-ordinators Pete and Sean in their party bungalow, Wollemi. As much as we tried on our Amazing Race we couldn't find the major prize of Rolene and John (sadly they couldn't make it at the last minute - we missed you!). Megan and Phil turned up just on time and, unusually, Campbell and Sally were late so met us at the next stop.
Onto a bus we hopped for the 15 minute drive to Denman RSL for a night of Bush Poetry, which most of us, especially LA-based guests, Tom and Sharon, had never experienced. It was a bit corny but never the less enjoyable. It did highlight how important events like this are for small country towns doing it tough (especially in a horrendous drought). There was also an interesting marriage in towns like this between the very rich mining companies (which do sponsor a lot of community events) and the hard-working farm and bush folk who are directly affected by the impact that mining brings. But that is a topic for a different rant!
On the way back to Sandy Hollow, Lee-Anne and Michael accidently got off one stop too early at the Tourist Hotel. Two minutes later Adrian, Sonia, Campbell and Pete turned up and a couple of night caps were consumed. A vigorous rendition of Khe Sanh had the locals singing along to drown out Lee-Anne and Sonia on the mics.
Saturday morning started with coffees in Cabin One and Wollemi and we heading off back to Denman for the Upper Hunter Wine and Food Affair. We arrive nice and early and could check out the provisions for the day. The weather was brilliant, so much so that Sheila was stripped down to a single T-Shirt. Great food was consumed from a variety of sources - cheeses, breads, smoked trout, beef jerky and plenty of wine tasting and the smallest beer tasting you could imagine. The wood chopping was brilliant - this is a serious sport and was great to watch.
The stand out wines were from Small Forest (http://smallforest.com.au) and Atsuko was fantastic to talk to about the application of Japanese philosophy to wine making and her wines reflect the care and love she shows. Phil talked to her in Japanese, Sheila tried and Sally and Campbell just hung out there all day. The Small Forest 2014 Shiraz Orange was outstanding and most Throsby Creekers just drank their wine all day.
There was a really nice vibe with great music on the street and good food, wine and beer to be enjoyed. The Throsby Creek Oenological Phalanx adjourned to the pub for some afternoon refreshments before the crew headed back to home base.
Back in Sandy Hollow we decided to investigate the town but got no further than the "Village Emporium" whose proprietors and local friends were sipping a few charddies out the front in the most relaxed manner. You cannot go into this shop and refrain from purchasing something awesome, and most people did. I wasn't allowed to buy the $2.5k chair though :-( Lots of fluffy cushions were bought!
Evening snackfest started at the party shack with every manner of delectable snacks purchased throughout the day coupled with appropriate wine and beers. The big Jenjo made an appearance and Campbell and Michael fixed the outside lights that had been apparently impacted by a Tesla charging nearby. Michael did not die from electric shock, just.
Tea was a long winded affair at the Tourist Hotel where the meals were absolutely massive but took a while to be served. Coins were tossed against the front wall of the pub in some sort of illegal gambling game, pool was played and right across the board the locals were hugely welcoming and we had a great time. Then the Jets got cheated in the Grand Final.
Sunday morning started again with coffee and then a trip to Hollydene Estate for brunch at Vines Restaurant. It is a gorgeous location and we followed the food with some wine tasting. The Phalanx then parted ways and scattered to the wind until the next event.
A brilliant event arranged by Peter and Sean. Thank you very much. Lee-Anne also did much co-ordination with the Member Jungle Membership System app in hand. It was also great to share our weekend with Tom and Sharon from across the big pond. The Sandy Hollow Tourist Park was very nice, welcoming, clean and comfortable and in a beautiful spot. If you are ever in the area it is a great place to stay. If you have an Electric Vehicle then I recommend Motel Cabin 1.