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HUNTER VALLEY BLOG

With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

Follow our insider tips by the people who know best… the locals. We ask talented winemakers, chefs, farmers, brewers and journalists to blog about their favourite places and experiences in this fertile wine region.

Splash zones: desirable digs where you can take a dip

​ When it's time to choose a place to stay for your summer getaway, odds-on a pool will be on your holiday wish list. Here's a list of some tempting swim spots where you can make a splash all summer long. #poolhairdon'tcare #endlesssummer

SPICERS GUESTHOUSE

If you want to plunge into the cool waters of a pool and enjoy oodles of atmosphere, views and history this is the place to do it. This much-loved local opened in 1984 as Peppers Guesthouse and the 40-acre property has just reopened after an 18-month reno including – yep, you guessed it – a dreamy swimming pool.

The new purpose-built infinity pool (pictured above) isn't huge but it's long enough for lap swimming and has a heated inset spa with fab views of the native bush. There are stylish timber lounges and large umbrellas to rest in the shade and you can order a cheese plate and a cocktail to sip beside the pool.

It's a serene spot to relax on a sizzling summer day and you might be lucky enough to spot a mob of kangaroos hopping past.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

CROWNE PLAZA HUNTER VALLEY

Not satisfied with having one enormous swimming pool (measuring 20m x 25m) and spa, Crowne has upped the ante with a brand-new 25-metre, adults-only pool.

The Haven, which opened earlier this year, gives guests over 16 the option to chill out sans kids and enjoy some quiet time. And if you like the luxury of plunging straight into the pool from your own private, ground-floor terrace they have seven exclusive rooms with direct pool access and sparkling pool views.

They're also launching the Haven Pool Bar in December, which will offer a variety of food and drink options with poolside service. In the meantime, you can enjoy snacks and a bevvy poolside in the popular main pool, which is solar heated. It's a livelier family-friendly spot with a massive deck area filled with lounges and umbrellas and a shallow splash pool for the littlies. 

Degen Estate managed by Hunter Valley Stays

HUNTER VALLEY STAYS

Lap pools, lagoon pools, big pools, small pools - you're spoilt for choice when you book a self-contained property with Hunter Valley Stays as they have 36 properties with pools or access to a resort pool.

"We get lots of positive feedback from guests staying in our properties with pools," says Hunter Valley Stays' General Manager Sasha Degen. "In summer temperatures can top 40°C, so a pool really helps our guests stay cool and adds to the fun and relaxation of a summer stay in the Hunter.

We have lots of properties with spectacular pools, entertaining terraces and beautiful views across the Valley, including Greystone Estate, Billabong Moon, Degen, Casuarina Estate, Hillbrook Estate, Alphawood and Binbilla."

Alphawood at Mount View offers an aquatic sanctuary with fabulous views of the Watagan Mountains. The six-bedroom holiday home is set in 13 acres, boasting a 9m x 4m magnesium mineral pool, which are reputed to have health benefits, with a luxurious travertine surround and glass fencing so you can enjoy uninterrupted views. There's also an expansive covered alfresco patio with barbecues – just the spot for a pool party.

You'll also want to take your pool goggles to Binbilla Vineyard Estate as well. The 100-acre estate in Broke has a well-equipped five-bedroom house and a super-private pool with classic sandstone surrounds. The 11m x 5m sparkling pool overlooks a large lake, which is home to a flock of geese – the only neighbours who'll catch sight of you in your swimmers.

Spicers Vineyards Estate

SPICERS VINEYARDS ESTATE

Another place to stay and enjoy a refreshing summer dip is Spicers Vineyard Estate – the sister property to Spicers Guesthouse. A few years ago, this boutique guesthouse won TripAdvisor's traveller's choice award for the most romantic hotel in Australia... not once, but two years in a row.

No wonder as this upscale retreat has just 12 rooms, with all the bells and whistles, including a fabulous swimming pool that is lit up at night.

With only 12 couples, you'll often find you're the only couple using the slate pool, which is very private, nested behind the guesthouse. It's the perfect place for cooling off and when you've finished splashing around you can chill out on the lounges with a drink and a snack, or head to the separate heated spa.

Tinonee Vineyard Estate

TINONEE VINEYARD ESTATE

The letter B features prominently at this 50-acre estate in Broke. It's a breathtaking beautiful property with a boutique vineyard and there's a big B-shaped swimming pool that beckons when the weather is hot.

It's the perfect adults retreat with a grand, stately homestead dating back to the 1930s offering luxurious living areas, six spacious bedrooms and an awesome alfresco area with the sun-drenched 15-metre pool the centrepiece.

You can hang out beside the travertine-tiled pool and take in the uninterrupted views of the vines with a glass of estate-grown 1813 wine in hand, lazing on the on Italian sun lounges under the shade of an umbrella or the dappled canopy of a Japanese elm tree. The garden entertainment space – spanning some 80-metres – also has outdoor table tennis, a life-sized chess set and other lawn games so you can make the most of the long summer days under brilliant blue skies. 

THE WOODS

The new pool at this gorgeous getaway was just completed in October so you could be one of the first to take a dip. The property has three stylish guesthouses set on 25 acres of manicured gardens and established Ironbark trees – and their brand-new pool sits in-between the Folly and Chapel Houses.

They're both four-bedroom houses popular with families and groups of friends, so the new 10.5. x 4-metre pool is a perfect addition with a picnic basket filled with poolside crockery and cutlery in each house so you can move the party outdoors and recline on the lounge furniture under large umbrellas and take in the picturesque woodland views.

Couples looking for a romantic retreat just for two also don't miss out as the architect-designed Blackwood cottage is a chic cottage with a king-sized bed and a secluded outdoor plunge pool with views of the dam and comfy bean bag chairs to sink into. 

Winmark Private Residence

WINMARK PRIVATE RESIDENCE

If you want your own private designer pool, consider a stay at the newly refurbished, two-storey Winmark Residence. It's a luxe four-bedroom house with a luxe pool to match. The pool was designed by Paul Bangay OAM, one of the country's leading landscape gardeners as the centrepiece of the outdoor entertaining area.

The glimmering 12m x 4.5m rectangular pool is strategically positioned, perched above the vines overlooking Bangay's rose and perennial garden, gazebo and tennis court.

"The pool is subtle and elegant, and blends seamlessly into the estate. It invites you in for a plunge and is the perfect place to take in view of the gardens and vineyards," guest Megan Bird said.

The pool deck has been given a lavish touch with marble tiles, complementing the blue mosaic tiles that give the water that beautiful blue hue. One of the highlights is a Gin and Tonic seat – a shallow shelf at one end – where you can relax and gaze at the magnificent Brokenback mountain range. 

As you can see, the Valley has an eclectic mix of places to stay with pools. For more options, click here.

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