Escape urban life and head to the countryside to enjoy the local produce, history and scenery of Australia’s oldest wine region.
The Hunter Valley is a must for wine lovers and foodies. The area also has excellent outdoor activities and a wealth of heritage buildings. Visit famous wine estates and vineyards, explore charming towns, hike through national parks, or spend the day in picturesque gardens in the heart of the valley.
Soon after Australia was colonized, wineries sprung up in the fertile plains of the Hunter Valley. The first settlers found that grapes thrive in this region, thanks to a climate that is comparable to the Mediterranean. Now, nearly two centuries later, the valley is a leading producer of a distinct dry white wine: semillon.
Visit some of Australia’s famous wineries and enjoy sampling the local produce as you go from estate to estate. To discover the legacy of Australia’s oldest wine region, visit Brokenwood Wines, Pepper Tree Wines or the Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard. For exclusive blends, visit the cellar doors of smaller boutique wineries, such as Mistletoe and Saddler’s Creek.
Because the attractions are widespread and involve drinking, it’s recommended to book a tour of the region. Coaches leave from Sydney and pickups can also be arranged in the Hunter Valley townships and in Newcastle, the east coast city at the mouth of the Hunter River.
If you decide to rent a car instead, pick up a map of all estates at the tourist information center just north of Cessnock. This rural township in the Lower Hunter Valley is full of colonial heritage, with rustic accommodation, restaurants and bars.
To the northwest, Singleton is another great town in which to base yourself. In between lies Pokolbin, home to the Hunter Valley Gardens, a huge horticultural park with ponds and playgrounds.
Rent equipment or book an adventure tour and go hiking, fishing, mountain biking or kayaking in one of the surrounding forests. Barrington Tops National Park, north of Newcastle, is part of the treasured Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.
Just a two-hour drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley offers a typical Australian country escape for those who appreciate the simple gifts of nature.