Updated: Jun 22, 2020
There's a lot of drama that goes on both on and off camera when it comes to Married At First Sight, but you have to admit, the brides and grooms get to do some pretty cool stuff. From dressing up in extravagant wedding gowns to all-expenses paid honeymoons, the contestants experience things that we plebs can only dream of. But the good news is that anyone can live their romantic reality TV dreams as I and my partner did when we visited the place that Poppy and Luke went on their on-screen honeymoon.
Just a couple of hours out of Sydney, the 300 acre Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort is nestled in the heart of Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley- the home of over 150 premium wine producers. Surrounded by the vineyards of Brokenwood, Tamburlaine, Pokolbin Estate, Audrey Wilkinson, Roche Estate (formerly known as Tempus Two) and Hunter Valley Gardens, it's the perfect getaway if you and your partner enjoy a tipple and want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. With a golf and country club, two restaurants, two bars, three pools, two tennis courts and self-contained accommodation at our fingertips, we immediately felt like reality TV royalty and got to work on recreating Poppy and Luke's getaway.
Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort is located in Central Pokolbin. (Image: Nine Network)
It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us, so after seeing the couple go hot air ballooning with Balloon Aloft, we knew it had to be done. The early start (5.15am to be exact) was a struggle for us night owls, but once you see the balloons firing up, the excitement well and truly kicks in. And by the time you're watching the sun rise over the picturesque vineyards in absolute peace, all your stresses have melted away. For those of you, like Poppy and my partner in crime who aren't great with heights, you need not worry as the smooth and silent ride is nothing like a bumpy turbulent flight. "It's not scary at all," Poppy even said on the show. On top of that, you receive a delicious gourmet champagne breakfast at the Peterson House Winery and Restaurant so you finish off the experience in sheer luxury.
There's something pretty special about watching the balloons inflate. (Image: Supplied)
And that view is something else. (Image: Supplied)
Back at the ranch (well, resort), we figured that if Poppy and Luke can show off their golf skills, then surely we can too. The lovely and patient Scott took us to the resort's driving range for a crash course and while one of us was considerably better (hint, not me), being out on the sprawling green was enough to win over even the biggest golf amateur. After a decent swing, what better way to relax than with a treatment at the idyllic Elysia Day Spa & Wellness Centre? Needless to say, we were a lot better at lying down and being pampered than golfing. And to top it all off, we enjoyed a sumptuous two-course meal at the resort's Oak & Vine Restaurant and were served by the same person who served Poppy and Luke! This reality TV nerd had to ask what they were like, but apparently they were just as they appeared on screen.
Poppy and Luke were a lot better at golfing than us. (Image: Nine Network)
Of course, you can't go to wine country and not try out some wines... and some cheeses and chocolates. Booze cruise buses are one way to get from Winery A to Winery B, but we had the memorable experience of cycling around via electric bikes, courtesy of Sutton Estate Electric Bikes. Once you get the hang of it, you'll never want to go back to normal bikes.
On your bikes! (Image: Supplied)
There's clearly a reason why so many Sydneysiders choose the Hunter Valley for romantic weekend getaways and honeymoons, and MAFS didn't do this place justice. It may not have worked out for Poppy and Luke, but any couple needing a break should definitely give the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort a try. It's just a shame when you have to swap reality TV glam life for the real world when you head back home.