Wholesome food, a modern atmosphere and devoted staff combine to make the Hunter Valley’s recently renovated Blaxland’s Inn a hub of relaxed dining and earthy charm.

Story By Mark Muller

The recently renovated and re-opened Blaxland’s Inn, on the road to Pokolbin in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, has a clean, homely feel to it that is at once inviting and comforting. Exposed stone walls, large windows and sweeping wooden beams all contribute to a bright, cosy atmosphere. The inn has its own bar off to one side and large open areas out the front where visitors can loll in the shade and while away an afternoon. Out beyond the verandahs is a courtyard with a large open fire pit, tastefully gated and grated and home to a blazing pile of logs that kick out warmth and light through the evenings.
Inside, the décor is functional and rustic: large tables and comfortable wooden chairs take up the centre of the main room; smaller tables off to the sides allow more intimacy for those who want it. In all, a sense of relaxation and understated style pervade. Blaxland’s Inn is a place to meet and greet, enjoy simple, wholesome food and generally take it easy with friends and family. This is in no small part due to manager Diana Cormie.
Diana appreciates the value to be had from country charm. She was raised in Coonabarabran, NSW, and her parents now have a sheep and cattle property outside of nearby Mullaley. It was here that the virtues of friendship and hospitality – and a love of good food – were instilled in the tall and talented blonde. She also has experience in dealing with people and delivering what they want and need, courtesy of a stint on the front desk of Sydney’s Regent Hotel. Her organisational nous was honed working for Greg Norman’s events company, Great White Shark Enterprises, co-ordinating such events as the Queensland PGA.
“I love the whole concept of affordable yet good-quality food and a nice night out,” she says. “An upmarket pub garden, a fire, somewhere you can get good wine and listen to live entertainment and not break the bank – these are all part of what we provide.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #61

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2008