Hunter Valley Travel Guide: How to Make the Most of Your Trip
Eager to get out of Sydney and head straight to the vineyard? Before you do, here is our travel guide to organising the perfect Hunter Valley weekend.
The Hunter Valley, the oldest and one of the most visited wine regions in Australia right on Sydney's doorstep, is a great example of what post COVID-19 wine tourism looks like. With our Hunter Valley travel guide, we’re here to help you navigate what that looks like and get the most out of your wine weekend. From wine tasting etiquette to which townships you should visit, here is everything you need to know!
*For the most up-to-date information, be sure to visit the NSW Government website before booking your Hunter Valley getaway.
Hunter Valley Travel Guide: Essential Things to Know
- You can now book ahead for most cellar door offerings.
- Just like all venues in NSW, social distancing is advised, so be mindful of other groups and patrons.
- Off the back of the reduction in capacity limits and an increase in resources required to manage hygiene and social distancing measures from 2020, you may need to pay for your tasting experience. For some wineries, this cost can be redeemed when purchasing wine or products at the cellar door.
- You’ll need to provide your contact details to the winery by checking into the venue via the Service NSW app.
Hunter Valley Travel Guide: 7 Tips for Visiting this Winter
- Book ahead, do your research on which kind of wine experiences you’re after.
- If you’re travelling with a group, check with cellar doors if they can accommodate your group size.
- If you’ve got kids in tow, check if children are accommodated, or if there’s any activities for them to do while you taste.
- Arrive on time for your pre-booked tasting experience.
- Allow the time recommended to best enjoy your tasting experience.
- Adhere to NSW social distancing laws.
- Stay home if you’re unwell.
Hunter Valley Travel Guide: One Event You Can't Miss
The Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival is back and with some definite palate pleasers in the month-long program, it’s time to start planning. In partnership with Wine Selectors, the 2021 Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival is a celebration of the region's outstanding wines, diverse and abundant fresh local produce.
Throughout June, expect over 30 daily and weekly tastings and experiences, alongside innovative and unique one-off events. The program showcases incredible gourmet lunches and winery dinners, winemaking, blending and cellaring masterclasses, wine and food pairings, fireworks and bonfires and an array of experiences including hands-on cooking classes for adults and children, painting workshops, cocktail masterclass and outdoor picnics.
With the Hunter Valley already one of the most visited wine regions nationally, you will need to get in quick to secure tickets and accommodation and avoid disappointment.
Entire month of June
Download the full program of events
Across the Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley Travel Guide: Townships & Localities
In the heart of the beautiful Hunter Valley, Pokolbin stands out for its award-winning wineries, elegant cellar doors, renowned restaurants, and a year-round events calendar filled with music, wine, food, and fun. Located within easy reach from Sydney, Pokolbin has long been a popular destination for those curious to get a taste of Australia’s oldest wine region.
The Hunter Valley Gardens is a family-friendly attraction, lovingly located in Pokolbin. Take a stroll along the eight-kilometre walking path of fanciful feature gardens, with thousands of flowers, trees, and shrubs to be discovered at every turn. For gorgeous views of Pokolbin, take a leisurely horse carriage tour with Hunter Valley Horses and clip-clop your way through private properties, vineyards and farmlands.
Lovedale is the gourmet pocket of the Hunter Valley, with its winding country roads lined with charming cellar doors, renowned restaurants and a wide range of things to see and do. Here, the offerings are more boutique-styled, proving that beautiful things come in small packages.
Lovedale's range of cellar doors and producers make it the perfect place to wine hop. For breathtaking views of the Brokenback Mountain Range, look no further than Allandale Winery, and Emma's Cottage Vineyard is a must-visit for wine-drinking art lovers. You can expect an award-winning semillon at Gartelmann Wines, and a delicious shiraz at Saltire Estate. When it comes to bubbles, we love Tatler Wines' frizzante. And for a whole afternoon of wining and lunching, look no further than Wandin Estate.
There’s no doubt that Broke Fordwich is the quieter pocket of the Hunter Valley, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less alluring. Stunning countryside and untamed wilderness surround an area that is spoilt with beautiful wineries, similar to that of Pokolbin and Lovedale. A road less travelled, Broke Fordwich has a slower-paced cellar door trail, with charming bed and breakfasts for weekend getaways. Broke is spoilt with a striking natural backdrop, lending itself to some amazing outdoor activities. Take to the skies in a hot air balloon, go on a horseback riding adventure, or explore the surrounding national parks.
The gateway to Australia’s oldest wine region, Cessnock turns on the charm with its quaint shopfronts, heritage buildings and homegrown country hospitality. From guesthouses to tour-based companies, Cessnock is the backbone to the Hunter Valley’s thriving tourism industry. But what makes Cessnock a real standout is its outdoorsy lifestyle with broad family appeal.
Cessnock’s old-world charm is on full display, with historic, turn-of-the-century buildings available to admire, simply by taking a stroll on foot around the town’s main streets. Vincent Street is the town’s main hub, with a myriad of cafes, affordable eateries, and country-style pubs.
Boasting some of the best scenery in the Hunter Valley, Around Hermitage, just north-west of Pokolbin, is a popular region set amongst the backdrop of the Brokenback Mountains. Known for its many things to do, the best way to see the area is via the Around Hermitage Wine and Food Trail that takes advantage of the brand-new cycleway along Hermitage Road. Along the trail you'll pass through boutique wineries, an art gallery and sculpture garden, antique stores, a chocolate shop, wine and cooking schools, and a day spa. In June, book your tickets for Glandore Estate's Burning of the Barrel. What started as a humble gathering, has turned into a major annual event that combines wine, cheese, food, music, fireworks, and a massive burning wine barrel.
For some good, old-fashioned country hospitality, stop into Singleton for the day. From historic buildings and museums, to the beautiful Hunter River and grand pubs, you will fall in love with the town and its friendly locals. So you don't miss a thing, pick up a Singleton Heritage Walk map from the visitor information centre. At your own pace, you can stroll through town and admire the town's oldest and most beautiful homesteads, buildings and landmarks, like the Singleton Sundial (one of the world's largest).
Located on the cusp of Cessnock, Mount View is a little piece of paradise. Known for its scenic vistas, boutique cellar doors, and fine dining, Mount View provides the perfect place for a quiet country escape. With views stretching from Bimbadeen Lookout to Barrington Tops and to the coast, this picturesque pocket of the Hunter Valley is a must-visit for all weekenders.
Derived from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘meeting place’, Wollombi is a site of great indigenous significance and a town steeped in history. Located in a narrow valley junction containing Wollombi Brook and Congewai Creek, Wollombi is known for its national parks, quaint village life, boutique wineries, historic buildings, arts and culture, and Aboriginal sites.
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