Things to do around Hunter Valley

Hunter-Valley-accommodation-Travellarks-NSW

Hunter Valley one of Australia’s major wine regions 2 hours north of Sydney has a long standing viticultural history. Renowned for varietals such as Chardonnay, Semillon and Shiraz that draw their nutrients from an ancient seabed, giving it rich and diverse soil. It’s home to world-renowned brands and smaller boutique wineries. Hand in hand with wine goes equally alluring food. You cannot visit just for the day, discover a wide variety of accommodation options, from off grid sustainable stays to small and large digs as well as sprawling manors amongst the vineyards, look up Travellarks Wine Experiences.

The Hunter Valley lies at the foothills of the Brokenback Range, part of the Great Dividing Range and bordered by UNESCO World Heritage National Parks so for the not-so-enamoured with wine and food types, bushwalking, golf, hot air ballooning, a spa week-end with the girls, hens getaways, large group gatherings, couples retreats, elopements or weddings, the Hunter has it all.

The Newcastle Airport development (near Williamtown), will significantly increase connectivity across Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and the Central Coast. Towns of Broke, Cessnock, Lovedale, Maitland, Morpeth, Paterson, Pokolbin, Rothbury, Singleton and Wollombi are dotted about each with its DNA worth discovering.

Wellness & Pampering

Explore & Discover

  • You’re about to embark upon legendary labels as we open our list of vineyards & cellar doors to visit, taste test, open the boot for a dozen of your favourites, here we go…legendary Tyrells ; Tulloch offer a range of exciting wine tasting experiences in their award winning Cellar – Group Wine & Cheese Tasting, Wine and Chocolate Tasting or Mystery Wine Tasting to their premium tasting experiences the Vertical Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz Tasting & ‘Hunter Heroes’ tasting featuring the well known grape varieties of the region. A generous Local Cheese and Charcuterie Board is included in most of their tastings. High on a hill of the Brokenback Mountain Ranges lies Audrey Wilkinson ; the De Bortoli heritage encompasses the universal story of immigrants making good in an adopted land; wine & dine at Brokenwood home to the famous Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the highly acclaimed ILR Reserve Semillon, and the popular Cricket Pitch Range. The oldest winery in Pokolbin is Draytons with 170 years of wine making under their belt
  • Sample fabulous sparkling wines made by the authentic ‘Méthode Traditionelle’ at Pierre’s Wines
  • For concert tickets & events in the Hunter Valley here’s some tips: Concerts are usually held at Hope Estate, Roche Estate and Bimbadgen. Check on site parking details & book a transfer in advance to avoid delays (some transfer companies offer ticket & food combo or grazing hampers). The most direct approach is via Allandale Road/Wine Country Drive through Cessnock/Nulkaba to Pokolbin turnoff. Or take the back roads through local wineries via Mount View Road. Don’t assume it’s BYO either at any concert.
  • ESTA COTTAGE ACCOMMODATION WITH TRANSPORT – If you are staying at ESTA COTTAGE ONLY & have concert or event tix, the transport company, Rover Coaches, have agreed to add a stop to their current route for their Guests, making transfers to/from concerts & events super simple! An easy 750m walk from Esta Cottage to the pick-up point, and then back again.  Couldn’t be easier! Cottage to the pick-up point, & then back again! 
  • Multi award winning Margan Wines are Estate Grown & made as well as certified Sustainably Farmed. Rated a five-star winery (James Halliday Wine Companion) amongst many other accolades
  • If you’re short on time, The Wine House is a great way to taste test (please book in advance) & buy from a collection of independent, family-owned winemakers in one place with over 40 wines available for tasting every day.
  • Vintage Golf Club in Rothbury features a Greg Norman-designed championship course Chateau Elan Hunter Valley Golf Course beautifully set alongside wetlands, eucalyptus & the vineyards
  • The Richard Mercer Golf Academy at The Vintage provides golf lessons and schools at The Vintage Golf Resort in the Hunter Valley Richard Mercer Golf
  • Enjoy watching the Webex Players Series (golf classic) at the Oaks Cypress Lakes
  • Set on a picturesque 6,487 metre par 72 18 hole championship golf course, ranked among the top resort courses in Australia is Cypress Lakes Golf in Pokolbin
  • For a shorter games, you’ll find lovely nine-hole course at Branxton Golf Club north of Cessnock, Paterson Golf Club or  Singleton Golf Club
  • Vineyard Shuttle Service (VSS) is one of the most referred wine tour companies in the Hunter Valley, a family owned business servicing the Hunter Region for over 20 years
  • ‘Ride the Wine Trail’ with Grapemobile Bicycle Hire in the Hunter Valley, centrally located in Pokolbin – eBikes and traditional
  • Hunter Valley Classic Carriages is the largest and most trusted provider of private carriage charters, wedding transport & specialist wine tours e.g. Cobb and Co Stagecoach Experience. They are also located in Morpeth.
  • iHop Hunter Valley Tours offers self-guided personalised hop-on hop-off bus tours, on-demand bus, private bus hire, wine and food tours, & customised private and corporate tours.
  • Unique tours with Two Fat Blokes offering tours with a twist (eg in a Maserati) picnic lunches, brewery tours & a kitchen cafe open
  • Attend (any Sat & Sun in January, April & August 2024) a cooking class or a Low and Slow Smoking Rib Masterclass
  • Tap into local breweries such as Iron Bark Beer4Pines at the FarmHope EstateSydney Brewery Hunter Valley; 
  • Pokolbin Cider House
  • A certified organic distillery that produces a top range of spirits Hunter Distillery includes vodka, liqueur & schnapps, including award-winning Valli Vodkas. Try the Black Label Chocolate vodka!
  • Millbrooke Estate tantalizes with a distillery, winery & wine tasting on site – 1617 Mount View Rd, Millfield
  • Hop between vineyards in a helicopter with Aero Logistics Helicopters.
  • Hot air balloon with Balloon Aloft and Beyond Ballooning and soar above the rolling vineyards with spectacular horizons and scenery
  • Immerse yourself in a four-hour guided walk or learn through different experiences on offer about Australia’s oldest living culture with Girra Girra Aboriginal Cultural Experiences or Wollombi Aboriginal Cultural Experiences
  • Between November & May is the Wupa Aboriginal Art Trail, a free Aboriginal art trail that takes you through the Hunter Valley vineyards, exhibiting traditional & contemporary works of local Wanaruah artists.
  • By taking the Finchley Cultural Walk you’ll experience a fairly easy walk to learn about ancient Aboriginal rock art, as well as great insights into Aboriginal history.
  • Hunter Valley Gardens sprawls across hectares of themed gardens including for big & little people the Storybook Garden. 8km of pathways will lead you to spectacular vistas including a 10m high waterfall, topiary displays, man-made ponds, statues, murals, beautiful architectural structures and more. There are 6,000 trees, 600,000 shrubs & over 1 million ground covers to discover from Australia & around the world
  • Choose to meander through the The Hunter Valley Wildlife Park
  • Find your way to the many award-winning restaurants, boutique food producers & more than 150 cellar doors to sample & learn about the winemaking process in the Hunter Valley region
  • You may like to try horse riding at several locations. try Chapman Valley as well as at Lovedale
  • If you’re staying in the Hunter for a major concert event held nearby venues such as Hope EstateRoche Estate and Bimbadgen.
  • Listen to live music every Saturday or Sunday at Vincent St Kitchen and Bar (Every Friday & Saturday from 8:30 pm and 12:30 pm on Sundays or at the Huntlee Tavern (every weekend. Fridays the Hunter Valley’s best Dj’s, Saturdays live bands & Sundays with a live soloist or at Harrigans). Check the monthly line-up, specials & events when dining or try Quirks
  • Enjoy live music with pizza & wine every Friday night from 4.30pm – 8pm known as Sunset Sessions at Bimbadgen wood fire pizza restaurant. Happy Hour 4:30pm – 6:00pm and receive 50% off any glass of wine purchased from the Hunter Valley Range. Bookings are recommended
  • Have fun at Trivia at Vincent St Kitchen and Bar every Wednesday
  • Watch a theatre production at The Tulloch Wines theatre under the stars (Watch their website for dates). Bring your own picnic or add on one of their generous cheese & charcuterie hampers for $40 (enough to comfortably feed 2 people). Then relax with a glass of wine whilst you’re entertained under the stars on our terrace lawn
  • Savour an exceptional Elay High Tea

Good Eats

  • Many wineries will have in their offering charcuterie boards, cheeses and alike but if you’re after some fine nosh from local producers, here a comprehensive list to pick from:-
  • At iconic Hungerford Hill Winery fine dining at Muse showcases Hunter Valley produce with an emphasis on seasonality and quality
  • A European Bistro style breakfast and lunch place is Muse Kitchen, situated in the picturesque Keith Tulloch Wines – the first carbon neutral winery in the Hunter Valley – courtyard, Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin. Was also Young Gunn of Wine 2022!
  • Easily imagine you’re in the South of France. Better than Provence. It’s Bistro Molines, with its wrought iron chairs and candelabras, white painted cupboards and casual flower arrangements, paved courtyard and vines that stretch almost as far as the eye can see all speak ‘Provence’
  • Margan Wines as pioneers of Agri-Dining in the Hunter Valley, they are committed to ‘estate grown, estate made’ ethos, crafting menus around the harvest from their one-hectare kitchen garden & orchard, olive trees, free range chickens, beehives and raise their own lambs
  • Renowned for its Bubbly Breakfast, Restaurant Cuvee at Peterson House caters for group brekkies or lunch, including child’s menu
  • Set in the Tuscan inspired Peppers Creek Village in the heart of the Hunter, Enzo serves homemade locally grown produce for breakfast and lunch 7 days
  • Keep things simple, focusing on flavour and quality dine at Emersons Restaurant on a picturesque alfresco deck on the beautiful Adina Vineyard & Olive Grove property
  • Hatted Circa 1876 is located in an historic cottage on the picturesque grounds of Roscrea Estate with a farm to fork’ ethos to life as guests overlook the organic kitchen garden which is the origin of their food
  • Esca Bimbadgen at Bimbadgen Winery offers simplicity and letting flavours and freshness of the produce speak for themselves
  • According to legend, Yellow Billy was a gentleman bushranger who roamed the Hunter Valley areas of Broke and Pokolbin during the 1860’s. An early forager who allegedly lived off the land and slept in caves under the Brokenback Ranges. He cooked food over fire to survive and so an insight into the Hunters hottest new restaurant
  • Sexy dining hatted restaurant in Pokolbin at EXP Restaurant – dark, moody and intimate with hand crafted local furniture
  • Hunters Quarter located in the Pooles Rock Vineyard of Pokolbin, it’s a dining space with something for everyone, whatever the occasion
  • Treat yourself and your loved one to a special Valentine’s meal at Ryde’s Boydells or at ‘The Gates Restaurant’. Indulge in a curated menu crafted with love, featuring the finest ingredients and flavours that will set the perfect mood for a romantic evening
  •  Be an early bird and grab tix to the once a year Barrel Room experience- Harvest Lunch 2025
  • Savour an exceptional Elay High Tea

Foodies

  • Cheese making a yummy store awaits at Binnorie Dairy, an Aladdin’s cave for turophile (Greek for cheese lovers!): Delight in their  flagship, gold-medal, award-winning marinated feta; our swoon-worthy triple cream brie; & creamy labna (so squishable), vine-ash goat cheese log; spreadable chevre with dill; or plain, unadorned chèvre, washed rind cheese. Want a take away grazing plate? Just ask for a Wine O’Clock cheese platter
  • Daily cheese tutorials & a cheese tasting room at Hunter Valley Cheese
  • Hunter Belle Cheese Room
  • Hungerford Meat Co – Specialty Butcher & Smokehouse. Hungerford’s was originally created by Claude Hungerford in 1937. They work with many small local producers with a charcuterie & smoked meat range. Owner Michael Robinson spent 15 years working as a chef in some of the best kitchens in the world (La Trompette in London to Ortolan in LA & both Bathers Pavilion & Becasse in Sydney), Michael knew what was required to cook the best meat & create the best charcuterie
  • Binnorie Dairy – is one of Australia’s premiere soft cheese makers with state-of-the-art cheesemaking centre and retail store in Pokolbin
  • Lots to love at Majors Lane Cooking School and Lovedale Smokehouse Gourmet Pantry showcasing a range of house made charcuterie, including smoked chicken, duck, salmon, trout, sausages, ham, bacon, cheese, mussels, salt, olives, terrines, jerky and pates as well as house made relishes and sauces. Chef led classes (private or corporate) specialise in Thai Street Food and Low and Slow Smoking
  • Hunter Resort Cooking School is a hands on class. All dishes are cooked from scratch using local organic produce. Recipes are provided and the dishes cooked are eaten for either lunch or dinner (3 courses)
  • Smell your way to Smelly Cheese Shop in existence for almost 20 years. It’s handy for on & off site catering events & they also produce creamy gelato with over 200 handcrafted & lovingly made flavors to choose from.
  • Hunter Belle Cheese Room – is a Cheese Deli, Bar and Gourmet Produce & Gift Store all in one!
  • Hunter Valley Chocolate Company – producing the highest quality, most delicious chocolates
  • Pukara Estate – passionate about Olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and distinctive Fine Food Products. Pukara Estate Vinegar, condiments, olive oil and Skin care
  • Adena Vineyard and Olive Grove – Cellar door, wine and olive tastings. Open 7 days
  • Conveniently located near the three major concert venues (Hope Estate, Bimbadgen and Roche Estate), wineries, restaurants and Hunter Valley Gardens, Handmade in the Hunter Markets  Hunters Hand Made Markets coincide with concert dates and other major vineyard events. Held weekly on Saturdays and Sundays each week at 5 Halls Road, Pokolbin
  • Foodies will enjoy the Chateau Elan Weekend Series of indulging in delicious food and wine

Retail Escapes

  • Wilson and Hunter fashion and accessories
  • Fetch Gifts and Homewares
  • Willow fashion and accessories
  • Check for dates to purchasing from local artisans at Upper Arts
  • Hunter Valley Wool Store is only open on Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment
  • The British Lolly Shop located at 1/2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin – open Wednesdays to Saturdays
  • Find the perfect hand made gift at Handmade in the Hunter Markets (check for dates on their website)
  • Hunter Valley Chocolate Shop open Wednesdays to Saturdays
  • A collection of bespoke stores at this stunning site surrounded by lush and manicured gardens, visit Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village. Wonderful too for children as its adjacent to the playground, BBQ and picnic area
  • The Wollombi Cultural Centre regularly holds excellent exhibitions for local Indigenous artists and photographers to exhibit and offer for sale photographs that have been taken in the regional area and other locations.
  • The local Branxton and Belford areas offer many boutique experiences

If you think the Hunter Valley sounds like an amazing holiday destination, midweek or weekend getaway, why not see Travellarks Wine Experiences Collection of local accommodation.

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