15 Top-Rated Things to Try in The Hunter Valley
An easy two-hour drive from Sydney and Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley has so much on offer. From award-winning wineries and exceptional restaurants to hot-air ballooning and concerts under the stars, there’s always something to keep you going back for more.
Here’s some suggestions to get you started!
1. EXPLORE THE SUB-REGIONS
Hunter Valley wine country is made up of several unique sub-regions, so it’s really worth exploring further afield than just Pokolbin, which is in the heart of the wineries. Head out to the smaller and beautiful Broke Fordwhich where you’ll find Margan Family Wines and Krinklewood Wines; to Denman in the Upper Hunter to visit Two Rivers Wines and Hollydene Wines; Lovedale for Allandale Wines, Domaine De Binet and Adina Vineyard & Olive Grove, and of course, Mount View for Briar Ridge Wines and Tallavera Grove Wines with their stunning views.
2. THE ONLY WAY IS UP
Take to the skies on an early morning hot air balloon ride, a scenic helicopter tour or a spin in a vintage tiger-moth – it’s the perfect way to really take in the vast and diverse area that is the Hunter Valley wine region. Check out Balloon Aloft, Hunter Valley Joy Flights and Slattery Helicopter Charter.
3. DINE IN STYLE
It’s foodie heaven in the Hunter. Experience world-class cuisine at Muse (Hungerford Hill), Bistro Molines (Tallavera Grove), EXP (Oakvale), Muse Kitchen (Keith Tulloch Wines), The Wood at Brokenwood, Restaurant Botanica and so many more fantastic restaurants.
4. TRY SOME TASTING TREATS
The Hunter has always attracted visitors for its great wine. It’s now doing the same for its fantastic fresh produce. Make sure you take time to taste some cheese at Binnorie Dairy, The Smelly Cheese Shop, Hunter Valley Cheese or Hunter Belle Cheese. Indulge in decadent offerings at Cocoa Nibs and the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company, and sample some charcuturie at Usher Tinklers Cheese & Salumi, and the Lovedale Smokehouse. The region’s olives and olive oils are absolutely delicious, so stop in at Pukara Estate, Hunter Valley Olive Co, and Adina Vineyard & Olive Grove.
5. EMERGING WINE BRANDS
Check out some of the newer boutique wineries who are making a name for themselves – Usher Tinkler, Hart & Hunter, Silkman Wines, Boydells, Domaine de Binet and loads more.
6. TAKE A SWING
Hit the greens on the Hunter Valley’s seriously good golf courses. Cypress Lakes, Hunter Valley Golf and The Vintage all offer world-class greens and panoramic views that are guaranteed to take your eye off the ball.
7. GO TO A CONCERT
The Hunter loves an open-air winery concert, especially over the summer months. Bimbagden Estate, Hope Estate, Roche Estate are the big venues where the likes of The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Midnight Oil have all entertained. Seeing your favourite bands while watching the sunset and dancing under the stars is a must-do experience.
8. GET ALL ARTY
Explore galleries show-casing a fantastic range of local artists’ work, from paintings and sculptures to glasswork, woodwork and jewellery. Check out Pokolbin Gallery & Mistletoe Sculpture Garden, Cessnock Art Gallery, Emma’s Cottage Gallery, Wilderness Art Retreats, Ogishi Craft Centre, Greg Wilson Art Gallery, Australian Woodwork Gallery and Buttlerflies’ Gallery. Many of the cellar doors also display local art.
9. MARKET TO MARKET
If you’re visiting on a weekend there is always a market or two to wander through. Check out Handmade in the Hunter Markets, Broke Community Markets, Wollombi Village Markets, Dallwood Markets, Hope Estate Markets and more.
10. SPOIL YOURSELF AT A DAY SPA
Treat yourself to a well-deserved pampering at one of the area’s divine day spas. Golden Door Spa Elysia, Chateau Elan, Spa Anise and Ubika Spa will massage your stress away, freshen up your face and have your nails buffed and polished in no time.
11. ENJOY A CLEANSING ALE
When you’re all wined out, don’t despair, there are several local breweries and distilleries to discover. Enjoy a pint or two at Matilda Bay Brewhouse, Peter Drayton’s Wines & Ironbark Hill Brewhouse, Hope Estate, Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley, Hunter Distillery, Potters Hotel & Brewery, Lovedale Brewery, and Hunter Beer & Co.
12. HITCH A RIDE
Saddle up and soak in the views with a horse ride between the vines or out in the bush with Hunter Valley Horses or Hunter Valley Horse Riding. If you prefer things a little more subdued, clip-clop your way along the tree-lined backroads in unique covered wagons or open carriages with Hunter Valley Classic Carriages.
13. GRAB A COFFEE
Keen to get caffeinated before a day of tasting or wanting to sit down and enjoy a tea and pastries, try Café Enzo, Gundog Estate, Fawks Foods, Simply D’Vine Nursery, Loaves & Fishes and Sabor desserts.
14. TAKE A TOUR
There is no shortage of tour operators in the area. Take a tour anyway you like – in a horse-drawn carriage, a convertible, a sleek modern limousine, a chartered helicopter or the back of a bike.
15. TRY BACK VINTAGE SEMILLON
The region’s white varietal hero, Semillon has been described as “the Hunter Valley’s gift to the wine world”. Sample some of the aged expressions to experience where current releases will be in the years ahead.
EXPLORE HUNTER VALLEY WINES
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