Fly Away Day - Luxury Travel Magazine

Fly Away Day

By: Hilary Doling, Issue 32 – Spring 2007
(Fly and Wine Tour – Hunter Valley)


The little Seaplane skims across the harbour like a dragonfly and takes off into the blue. It is the perfect Sydney day; the water glitters, the sun shines and there isn’t a single cloud in the sapphire-clear sky. The only other guests aboard the plane are two visitors from England, newly arrived out of a London drizzle and open–mouthed at the show that Sydney is putting on. It is days like this that encourage immigration –“I’m moving here, absolutely. How can I go home after this?” says one of the visitors. We’re on our way to The Hunter Valley and this has to be the ultimate way to by-pass the traffic out of Sydney at the weekend. I imagine flying free over the bumper-to-bumper cars on the freeway but better still we fly up the coast and look down at a pattern of green and blue where the land meets the sea. There are so many inlets and headlands that it looks like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle waiting for the final pieces.

The journey is so idyllic that I could fly back to the city right now and feel I’d had a good day out, but there is much more to come. Thirty minutes later we land at Cessnock airport to be met by our own personal guide who wastes no time in whisking us to the first winery, and before you can say sante we’re sipping chardonnay. A couple more tasting stops and we settle in to a long, leisurely lunch at Esca Restaurant, Bimbadgen Estate, with stunning views over the vineyards and more wine to compliment each course.

It is about now we realise that the pleasure of a seaplane day trip lies not just in the aerial views but also in the fact that there’s someone else to drive you home. Dessert wines anyone? We’ve lingered so long there is no time for the last winery, which is probably just as well. Sydney Seaplanes offers a choice of day
trips or overnight stays to the Hunter Valley. For example, you can take off, then tee-off with a package that includes a round of golf at either the Vintage or Cypress Lakes from $715 per person. Or fly off for a day of pampering at The Golden Door Hunter Valley from $980. Overnight stays are available at some of the Hunter’s most luxurious properties including Tower Lodge, Peppers Covent or Cypress Lakes Resort from $700 per person. On the way home our pilot swoops low over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House prompting another round of oohs and ahhs from our English companions and, yes from me too – our city looks spectacular.

Finally we’re unloaded at the Seaplane Base at Rose Bay, where strangely the floating wharf seems more difficult to negotiate than it did this morning. Must be a choppy tide.

Seaplanes, ph 1300 732 752,

Cypress Lakes Resort: A golf and spa sanctuary offering a collection of five star villas, set around the grounds and golf course,
Peppers Convent: Once home to the Brigidine Order of Nuns at Coonamble and re-located and rebuilt as 17-room luxury retreat,
Tower Lodge: Twelve top class, individually designed guestrooms set around a Mediterranean style courtyard,

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