The sleepy Hunter Valley town of Laguna may look small but it’s hiding some seriously stylish accommodation, art shows and places to drink and eat.

Laguna is the greatest getaway in the history of the world,” declares Joanna Griggs. Not that you might think so, at first glance – the sleepy town in the lower Hunter Valley has “only five or six buildings when you’re driving through,” she admits, but go looking “and you’ll uncover some real hidden gems.” Here are her favourites:

Great Northern Trading Post (known locally as Laguna Wine Bar): “This is a hodge-podge space where all the locals hang out. There’s a lady who makes olive oil soaps out the back, they have amazing music on Fridays and Sundays, and once a month they host a little market, where all the local producers – bread makers, cheese makers, olive growers, jam makers – come together and sell their wares. The food here is also great.”

Sculptures in the Vineyards: “Usually held October or November each year, where several winemakers around the Wollombi region have a sculpture display in their vineyards and open their cellar doors.”

• The Wollombi Tavern: “This is such an iconic pub to visit for a meal and some of the local drink ‘Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice’ – if you’re game. It’s especially great on New Year’s Eve, mostly because hundreds of people come and camp, and there are fireworks.”

Laguna Lavender: “This farm and its products are lovely.”

•Laguna Art Show: “Usually held in August in the Laguna Hall. This showcases absolutely brilliant artists and craft artisans in the area. Well worth a visit. They also hold a Scarecrow Festival, and the Laguna Public School holds balls twice a year.”

Laguna Cheesemakers: “These guys are absolutely beautiful men who provide you with lots of laughs, entertainment and heaps of yummy cheese to take home. They hold one- and two-day courses a couple of times a year in Laguna, and at other times around the shire.”


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• Accommodation: “We have a farm there – buying it is the greatest thing we’ve ever done in our lives – but some of the places friends stay include Cedar Creek Cottages (from $169 per night), and Arcadian Retreat (from $300 per night, minimum three-night stay).


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