Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley

by Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pat Swain

The stunning Sebel Kirkton Park has recently undergone an incredible transformation by award-winning interior designer Greg Natale. In celebration of this gorgeous new-look hotel, we spoke with chief concierge of the Sebel Kirkton Park, Patrick Swain to gain his top tips on how to ‘do’ the Hunter Valley…

Why is the Hunter Valley the perfect family Winter escape…
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you come, there is always something to do in the Hunter. Nothing closes – all restaurants and accommodation stay open year-round.

It’s the perfect location for families in winter – there are plenty of activities on, like Hunter Valley Snow Time: twelve “Snow Time” activities kick off daily at the Hunter Valley Gardens, including a 40m ice toboggan track, silent disco ice-skating and a giant snow globe.

The Hunter Valley Zoo is also amazing and keeps on getting bigger and bigger. They’ve added meerkats and tigers and it’s a great little location all the family are bound to love. For a regional zoo, it has so much going on.

The winter sunsets, hot air ballooning, cozy fireplaces and beautiful walking tracks all add to a lovely family escape. And to impress the kids, do a gelato tasting at the Hunter Valley Gelato Shop.

What is a must do while we’re here…
If you haven’t been on a helicopter, a flight over the valley is an absolute must do. You get the chance to see the whole valley in 5/10/15 mins. Over Broke Mountain is amazing! If you have the time, a progressive lunch organised by a helicopter flight company is incredible, or flying from cellar door to cellar door for that special occasion is also a must do.

What is your most popular request…
A lot of guests come to the Hunter knowing very little about the area and so, have little plans. They want to know THE SPOT to go… weather it’s a winery or breakfast spot – my personal favourites are always requested.

For my favourite restaurant, besides our on-site Locavore Dining, I always go with EXP – the selection of food is seasonal and local and is operated by a one chef hat owner/chef.

My favourite cellar door is Audrey Wilkinson – it has a fantastic view, great wines, friendly staff, they’re up to date on social media, they have a wine museum, it’s a place you have to visit – weather it’s just dropping in for the view or staying to sample some wines.

I could list a dozen other places, but those two are definite must-visits.

Favourite brekkie spot…
Something a little different is on Wine Country Drive across the road from Potters Hotel Brewery – it’s a little nursery and in the far-back corner, there is a cute little café. I’ve had some of the best breakfasts there. Their chipotle sweet bacon Benedict is fantastic, great coffee too!

Great vineyard experience…
Tyrrell’s Wines do a great ‘behind the scenes’ tour at a small cost, so you can see what it’s like to be in the wine industry. It’s a national and international brand, but there is also a selection of amazing wines that are only produced and sold exclusively in the Hunter Valley, so you can’t just go down to the bottle shop and pick up the same bottle of wine.

What’s something we don’t know about the Hunter Valley…
You need to discover this spot… Bistro Molines at Tallavera Grove Winery. A seat at the restaurant and you’ll be over looking a beautiful gully – it’s a great view and a nice “off the beaten track” find. You don’t see any other wineries, houses, buildings – just an incredible view. It’s around five minutes drive from the Sebel Kirkton Park.

What is the best way to get around the Hunter Valley…
Hire a bike, it’s enjoyable to ride from vineyard to vineyard. A great company is Grapemobile Bicycle Hire, they’ll pick you up and take you to their bike shop to pick a bike, fit you out with all the safety gear, give you maps and recommendations and set you on your way. When you’re done for the day, they’ll drop you back to your hotel.

What makes The Sebel Kirkton Park the ultimate destination…
After the refurbishment, it has a real boutique feeling to it. You still have the heritage, but with a modern chic touch. The rooms have amazing views of the farmland and landscape. Not all hotels in the Hunter have that.

Our incredible restaurant is headed by executive chef Trent Webber (who is also a farmer). Our restaurant offers food as fresh as you can find in the Hunter Valley – the Kirkton Park kitchen team select freshly grown produce from our garden daily and utilise everything from tomatoes and pumpkins to strawberries and pasture-raised beef in dishes served across breakfast, lunch and dinner. A real paddock to plate experience.

Our bar is a great place to rewind after a long day; take a seat in front of the fireplace or play a game of pool while sipping mulled wine. There really is so much to do within our grounds.

We’re also so central within the Hunter – only a few minutes from amazing restaurants and wineries and the staff here are all incredible… I’ve worked at other hotels in the Hunter Valley and as soon as I met the staff here I knew this place was like no other – the staff were all so friendly, welcoming, helpful and genuinely enjoy working here and love making sure all guests have the best time possible.

Take advantage of the Sebel Kirkton Park’s ‘WINTERVENTION’ deal – receive $25 off your room rate with free breakfast included. Click here.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley


Sebel lounge




Sebel suite