9 Things to do in Hunter Valley


A short two hour drive north of Sydney is a valley spanning in excess of 29,000 sq km. It is comprised of the Hunter River, its 18 tributary rivers which, over the centuries, have carved out a remarkably lush landscape in the Hunter Valley. 

Hunter Valley is home to most of Australia’s oldest wineries, fine dining restaurants run by Sydney's gourmet chefs and a destination for all kinds of grandeur activities. With wine, good food and good weather, you will hardly run out of things to do in Hunter Valley, making this place, a great addition to an Australia tour

1. Experience the Nuances of Award Winning Wines

Hunter Valley is one of the finest wine regions in Australia.
Hunter Valley produces more than seven varieties of wine.
Hunter Valley has many varieties of wines made from the finest grapes.
Home to some of the oldest wineries in Australia, visit Hunter Valley to enjoy the best wines.

Hunter Valley is first and foremost known as incredible wine country. It is home to over 150 wineries that produce more than seven varieties of wine. Many award-winning bouquets have been produced in Hunter Valley, with the entire area accounting for most of Australia’s highly rated wines.

Good to know:

  • Multiple microbreweries offer their own craft beers if your tastes lean towards barley and hops instead of wine.
  • Home to numerous wine schools and personalized wine making services. Learn the complete wine making process from growing the grapes to harvesting, processing and finally bottling. 
  • Sign-up for a cocktail artistry class at many of the areas wineries and restaurants to learn the secret tricks of the master mixologists. 

2. Dine at a SMH Good Hat Restaurant

When dining in Hunter Valley sit outside and enjoy fine weather and food.
Enjoy a gourmet meal at an outdoors location in Hunter Valley.

Many of Sydney’s top chefs have opened acclaimed restaurants across the Valley with four of them being Sydney Morning Herald Good Hat Restaurants. Chefs from more than 60 diverse restaurants create their gourmet masterpieces from the freshest, local ingredients. Dining al fresco in a vineyard that overlooks the lush valley is an experience second to none.

Cooking classes are abundant across the valley. Learn to make Asian Inspired dishes, fresh pastas, Spanish Paella or Mexican churro’s. For something a bit out of the ordinary, there is Smoking and Curing or a Fermentation class where you can learn to make your own Kombucha, sauerkraut and rejuvelac. By far the most popular are the candy making classes. Reservations required and fees apply to cooking classes.

Good to know:

  • The Lovedale Long Lunch (Hunter Valley’s Premier Food and Wine Show) is held during one weekend every May. An event where food lovers and wine connoisseurs feast on the dishes created by the area’s leading chefs and seven of Lovedale’s finest wineries. 
  • Reservations are required for al fresco dining.

3. Rejuvenate Yourself on Pillow-Top Luxury

Hunter Valley is so much more than a day visit with many of the attractions offering accommodations. You can spend a night in opulence at one of the numerous Spa Resorts, or bring the family caravan and spend your evening counting the stars by the camp fire.

Hunter Valley offers many unique options for your overnight stay.

  • Boathouses
  • Boutique guesthouses that overlook ravines filled grapes for the local wineries
  • Self-contained cottages
  • Luxury resort hotels
  • Backpacker hostels

Good to know:

  • Accommodations cater to every budget and preference.
  • Reservations are recommended when looking for accommodations in Hunter Valley.

4. Hunter Valley Gardens

By far, one of the largest and most popular family-oriented attractions in Hunter Valley is the Hunter Valley Gardens.

With events scheduled year round, there is always something happening in the Gardens; such as the Schools out parties, Christmas Lights Spectacular, Snow Time in the Garden and the highly anticipated annual Hunter Valley Wedding Fair in early May.

When you are feeling those hunger pangs, stop by the Cellar Restaurant for a bite to eat then head off to the Shopping Village. Stop at Alpaca Barn or the famous candle store, Candelabra. For a quick pick-me-up, make sure to visit the British Lolly Shop for a dose of sugar before heading to the Aqua Golf or 18 Hole Putt Putt course with games and prizes to be won.

Good to know:

  • Ride the Hunter Valley train that will take you on a guided 35 minute train tour around The Gardens’ 25 acres.
  • Spring is the best time to visit the Gardens for the best opportunity to photograph the colourful flowers in full bloom for the Festival of Flowers.

5. Play a Round at a Pre-eminent Golf Course

Golfing is a leisurely activity in Hunter Valley
Enjoy a round of golf at the Pre-eminent Gold Course.

Hunter Valley has multiple world class 18-hole golf courses within the Pokolbin area. The courses have been designed to serve all levels of golfers ensuring that everyone can play an enjoyable game. How about a round of golf on a premier course designed by Australia native, Greg Norman? A Hall of Fame Inductee with 91 professional wins including 2-British Open Championships and 20 Wins on the PGA Tour.

Good to know:

  • The golf course is open 7-days a week weather permitting.
  • Make sure to dress appropriately as dress codes are in effect. Memberships are available.
  • Credit card reservations are booked through course’s golf shop or online.

6. Embrace Local Culture Through the Arts

An influx of local artisans to Hunter Valley, has created a unique and growing Arts Community. Many of the studio/giftshops have artists working in-house.

The town of Kurri Kurri is home to 50 outdoor murals where knowledgeable guides explain the Aboriginal and historical meaning of the graffiti art. Tour booking is required through the Kurri Kurri Visitor Information Centre (9am-2.30pm). Fees apply.

Good to know:

  • Local art fairs and galleries dot the countryside.
  • Local Performing Arts Centres are found all across the area.

7. Leisure Activities that Stimulate all 5-senses

Hunter Valley has heaps of activities that stimulate each of the five senses. Biking, walking or horseback riding the many scenic trails at the State and National Parks is a great way to get off the beaten path and experience the sights, sounds and smells the valley has to offer.

Good to know:

  • Parks may temporarily close due to inclement weather.
  • Camping areas are available to campers only.
  • Dogs may be permitted, but must remain on a leash at all times.
  • Contact the individual parks for more detailed information.

8. Enjoy the View from the Skies

When in Hunter Valley, take a scenic flight
Take a scenic hot-air balloon flight over Hunter Valley.

Want a birds-eye-view of Hunter Valley? Then head over to the Cessnock Aerodome and book a sunrise/sunset hot air balloon ride, a helicopter ride or charter an airplane to get your view of the valley from the skies above.

Good to know: 

  • Balloon rides are 3-4 hours including breakfast.
  • Balloon launches 7 days/week except Christmas. Sunrise launches weather permitting

9. Get an Adrenaline Rush on Land or Up in the Air

Need an adrenaline rush? You can skydive in Hunter Valley or if you prefer to keep both feet planted firmly on the ground; then drive the car rally course or book one of the Hunter Supercruise Classic or Muscle car cruise packages.

Good to know: 

  • Supercruise Cars include: Lamborghini, McLaren or a Camaro Muscle car.
  • Supercruise Classic and Muscle Car packages drive designated routes.


Best Time to Visit Hunter Valley

Visit Hunter Valley during spring to witness the fresh greenery.
Hunter Valley's weather is quite pleasant to visit anytime of the year.

Spring is the best time to see the flowers and light green. In the summertime, wineries grape plants grow in abundant clusters. Autumn is uniquely different as the foliage colours have turned into vibrant reds and burnt oranges before their transition to winter dormancy.

Early spring is the start of the season for many of the outdoor related activities in Hunter Valley

  • Temperatures: Spring in September to November brings temperatures to the low 20 degrees Celsius, while summer from December to February can go up to the high 30’s. During winter, June to August, the temperature is usually at the mid-teens.
  • Heaviest rains fall during the summer, with a slight increase right before the start of winter.

This list of things to do in Hunter Valley is just a sampling of the hundreds of other options. In fact, there are so many things to do and see in Hunter Valley that if you chose to do something different every weekend of the year, it would take the better part of a year before you would repeat the same activity twice. 

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