- Rustic village surrounded by vineyards and olive groves
- In the middle of the Hunter Valley, west of Yengo National Park
- 189 km north of Sydney, population 300
Why go there
Known as the tranquil side of The Hunter, the Broke-Fordwich area was declared a viticultural sub-region in 1994.
Rustic and set against the dramatic backdrop of the Yellow Rock escarpment, the village of Broke has become the hub of an emerging wine-growing area. The warm climate and fertile soils produce soft and distinctive wines – semillon, shiraz, chardonnay and verdelho as well as Italian varieties such as sangiovese, barbera and dolcetto.
Broke provides a relaxed vineyard experience. The area is free of large-scale developments, and part of its appeal is that visitors encounter winemakers who are proud of their products and passionate about hand-crafted wines.
The area planted to vines has increased massively since the early 1990s, and there are now about 50 vineyards producing grapes for some 30 wine labels and around half are open for cellar door sales.
Broke is also the centre of a new industry that may eventually rival wine production in economic value. Over the past five years, tens of thousands of olive trees have been planted in irrigated groves along Wollombi Brook, and some estates offer tastings. Macadamia plantations and alpaca farms are also new features of the area.
Broke was settled as early as 1824, and subsequently became an important staging point on the overland cattle route between the Hunter and Sydney. Dairying, orange orchards and market gardens also featured in the early development of the town.
Vines were planted in the area as part of the Soldier Settlement Scheme, following World War 1. Soldiers were given 10-acre lots and set about the cultivation of land for wine production. The economic depression of the 1930s, and a severe hail storm which destroyed many of the vines in the area, saw many of the soldiers leave the district. The Tulloch family acquired the majority of allotments and secured their future as one of The Hunter region's prime winemakers.
Things to do
- Go wine-tasting at the local boutique vineyards.
- Get in the saddle and set off on a horse-riding adventure.
- Take one of the many scenic walking trails through Yengo National Park.
- Hire a bike and tour the vineyards on two wheels.
- Dine in style at one of Broke's restaurants or cafes.
- Little Bit of Italy in April.
- Broke Village Fair in September attracts more than 300 vintage cars and motorcycles from all over NSW.
- Broke Garden Ramble in October.
- Spirit of the Vine in October.
- Folk in Broke each November.
- The drive to Wollombi – a historical village 30 km away.
- Picking up a few bottles of local wines.
- The Aboriginal rock painting at Milbrodale.
- A hot-air balloon ride over the vineyards at sunrise.