Hunter Valley

Things to do in the Hunter Region/Valley

A few years ago, I was in love with wine. I still am. I enjoy the way wine tastes, smells and the way it is made. So, when I shifted to Sydney, I realised that Hunter Region was so close to Sydney that one could just go for a day and return with lots of different wine bottles that can last for months, I was elated.

For fun big things to see on the way, read 11 big things to see in NSW.

Hunter Valley

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About Hunter Region

The Hunter Region, also known as Hunter Valley, is one of the major wine regions in Australia. Known for its many wineries and shiraz wines, the Hunter Valley is in the state of New South Wales (NSW). The Hunter Region has mainly four cities, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Maitland and Cessnock and other centres include Kurri Kurri, Singleton, Scone, Dungog, Gloucester, Muswellbrook and Reymond Terrace.

The best time to visit Hunter Valley is during the summer season (between the months of December and February). The summer season is the harvesting season.

How to get to Hunter Valley?

  • Driving – The Hunter Valley is about 170 kilometres from Sydney and takes close to 2 hours by car. The easiest way to reach the Hunter Valley is by driving.
    • The route has toll roads.
  • Public Transportation – There are train routes that connect Sydney and the Hunter Valley. One needs to take a Newcastle train line from Sydney Central train station to Newcastle train station. And then change the train at Newcastle train station to the Hunter Valley towns (Maitland and Singleton).
    • Up-to-date information on train timings and routes can be found on the Transport of NSW website.

Hunter Valley wine tasting tours

It is estimated that the Hunter Valley has more than 150 wineries. The region is famous for the different kinds of wines that are made from a variety of grapes, most famous being the Shiraz.

Hunter Valley

Many tour agencies organise one day trips from Sydney. The best and cheapest way to find a tour agency is by finding a deal on Groupon website. The tour agencies take the visitors to say 4 to 5 wineries throughout the day where the wineries provide a brief overview of the wines produced at the winery and immerse the wine drinkers into a wine tasting experience. Usually, wine drinkers are provided with at least 3 or 4 best wines that the winery produces.

  • I have taken the one day wine tours many a times with different tour agencies. I have had good experiences with everyone and has never had any issues.
  • One day tours with wine tasting costs around AUD 69 to AUD 119 depending on the deal.

Things to do if you do not drink wine

Would you believe if I said there are things to do in the Hunter Valley even if you do not drink alcohol? Yes, the good news is there are plenty of things one can do even if you are not a wine drinker.

Picnic at Hunter Valley Gardens

The Hunter Valley Gardens is an amazing place to hang out on a beautiful sunny afternoon. A picnic at the Hunter Valley Gardens is an amazing way to spend an afternoon where one can have a beautiful lunch listening to live music. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area.

Picnic at Hunter Valley Gardens
  • There are many other things to do in the Hunter Valley Gardens. Its a complex with woolen and Christmas shopping, restaurants, cafes and sit outs.
  • The gardens have public toilet facilities.
  • There are plenty of public free parking in the complex.
Hunter Valley Gardens

Ride the Hot air balloon

Riding the hot air balloon is rated as one of the best experiences in NSW. Watching the sunrise over the Hunter Region is definitely a dreamy experience one can do.

  • The sunrise flights depart everyday.
  • The best way to book the experience is either on Adrenaline or Red balloon websites.
  • Hot air balloon activity happens in the Lovedale NSW.
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to take the hot air balloon over the Hunter Region.

See the Horses at Glenworth Valley

The Glenworth Valley sits as a gateway to the Hunter Valley region. The place is owned by Lawler family and it spans for around 3000 acres of land. The Glenworth Valley is just about 50 kilometres from Sydney and has a horse farm. It is one of the most magical places I have seen with so many horses around.

I do not believe in riding horses so I have not tried horse riding at Glenworth Valley.
Horse at Glenworth Valley

Shopping

There are many cute shops that sell souvenirs, clothes and many pretty things. So, it is a great place to shop for local products.

!! You can also purchase souvenirs online from Gifts Australia website.

Chocolate and Cheese tasting

There are many shops and factories that sell chocolates and cheese in the Hunter Valley. The best combination with wine is always chocolates, so you do get best home made chocolates. And there are different kinds of chocolates.

Chocolate tasting

Visit Barrington Wilderness Cedar Lodge

Barrington wilderness cedar lodge is located in the Barrington Tops national park of New South Wales in Australia. The Barrington Tops National Park is a protected area in the Hunter Region and is about 3 hours drive from Sydney. As the name suggests, staying at Barrington wilderness cedar lodge was truly staying in the midst of the wilderness. It had creeks, forests, colourful birds and the wallabies.

There are many walks in the Barrington Tops National Park. The Gondwana Rainforests of the Barrington Tops National Park is the World Heritage listed site.

How to book?

There are 3 ways to book the lodge:

  1. Online on their website – This requires minimum number of nights stay, as we were staying for 2 nights we booked through the phone.
  2. Phone – Call Tony Skimmings at 0413264314
  3. Email: t.skim@bigpond.com

Cost

The up to date prices can be found on their website. We stayed in a duplex cottage, that costed us approximately AUD 350 for 5 people.

Safety for solo female travelers

The Hunter Valley is very safe for solo female travelers. I have been a few times alone and have never had any issues whatsoever. However, be cautious and know your surroundings, especially at nights.

Hunter Valley

Closing Notes

Even though I do not drink wines now, I still love visiting the Hunter Valley and seeing the wineries. The wineries and the landscapes are extremely beautiful and provide a great background for photographs. One must surely visit the Hunter Valley when visiting Sydney.

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18 comments

  1. I have to say, I am just now getting into the education and art of wine and I want to visit a wine region so badly now! I went to one vineyard in New Zealand but I think I was too young to fully appreciate what I was tasting. Next time I go to Australia I’ll definitely be stopping at Hunter Valley!

  2. Hunter Region Valley has everything that I love – wine, chocolates, cheese and horses. Though I am not much of a wine drinker, however, I love exploring vineyards. And what can I say about homemade chocolates? Anyone can woo me with them! So this is another place to add to my list of places to visit in Australia.

  3. I’ve never gone wine tasting before, as I usually travel alone and I imagine this is something that would be more fun to do with friends. But with tours like these, perhaps it’s possible to meet other travelers. I’d love to pair the wine with those chocolates and cheese.

  4. Happy to know that they have day trips from Sydney. My husband is a wine-lover so I am super he is going to enjoy this. Thank you for the tips. Will keep in mind to check Groupon should we have a chance to visit.

    I am not much of a wine-drinker so happy to know there are other things to do in Hunter Valley.

  5. It’s good to know that there are other things to do for non wine drinkers in the Hunter Region Valley. Cheese and chocolate tasting are always a great one. But I would say the hot air balloon will be the best experience of all. Sounds like a great day trip from Sydney.

  6. Ah! I love visiting wine regions, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that Australia would have one. Taking a picnic sounds like a fabulous idea! And yes, please on the chocolate tasting. It sounds like a fab way to spend the afternoon.

  7. I love wine, and I visit vineyards on every occasion when I travel. The only alcohol he drinks is wine. So I add Hunter Region Valley vineyards to my Australia itinerary. For now, it is on my dream list, but I hope that I will be able to make this trip one day. I like shiraz wines and would love to taste them in the Hunter region scenery. It’s great that it”s so close to Sydney.

  8. I bet you were elated to find yourself shifting so close to Hunter Region Valley. When my friend shifted to Australia, even she couldn’t stop talking about some of the best wines there. I am sure these wine tours are great but I really liked that fact that this place has more. It can be visited by those who do not drink wine. I would love to go there to photograph the wineries, gardens and landscape.

  9. Hunter valley is perfect place for us. One day we’ll be able to do the same and travel to Sydney, this is truly an amazing experience and Sydney is really an interesting place to visit. Your picture with horse is so beautiful.

  10. Wine is all time fav and wine tasting is a bliss to know more about different types of wines. Hunter valley seems interesting place to give it a try 🙂 I wish to visit this place soon.

  11. Hunter Region looks really lovely, and there is so much to enjoy for those whp do not drink wine too. The scenic beauty of the vineyards are by themselves intoxicating! The hot air balloon ride sounds exjhilarating and the horses seem so graceful. Definitely a nice place for a picnic.

  12. I am bookmarking this for my visit to Australia. This has my heart. I always love exploring vineyards in search of wines and this place seems to be perfect.

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