Located two hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a spectacular pocket, with impressive local wine and produce set against a stunning backdrop of fertile rolling hills.
Home to some of the oldest vineyards in Australia, which produce internationally acclaimed wines, the Hunter Valley is the perfect destination to unwind and treat your tastebuds to a gourmet experience like no other. From charming rural towns to the spectacular mountain ranges in the Upper Hunter, there are plenty of places to explore in this impressive region, at whatever pace you desire.
As the southern gateway to the Hunter Valley, the charming town of Cessnock is an ideal place to begin your journey. As the largest town in the region, Cessnock boasts plenty of shops, facilities and quality restaurants, making it an ideal base from which to explore the wider Hunter region.
Pokolbin is a fine-dining haven at the heart of the Hunter. If it’s wine-tasting you’ve been longing for, you will be spoilt for choice, with Pokolbin home to a wide selection of large and boutique wineries, all offering sumptuous cellar door experiences. Here, you can savour award-winning wines, including shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and verdelho.
To the south of Cessnock and Pokolbin lies the village of Wollombi, nestled to the east of the World Heritage–listed Yengo National Park. Here, there are plenty more wine- tasting opportunities if you haven’t had your fill in Pokolbin. Wollombi is a fascinating area of the Hunter Valley, rich with Indigenous heritage and a complex colonial past.
Lovedale and Maitland
For an exhilarating start to your day, set your alarm clock and jump aboard a hot air balloon in Lovedale. Soar high above the Hunter Valley and look down on the symmetry of the vineyards, the patchwork of green paddocks and the pockets of native bushland. Now that your blood is pumping, drive east for about 20 minutes to Maitland, a town absolutely brimming with history.
Venture further afield into the great outdoors, and head north to the Upper Hunter and the Barrington Tops National Park for adventures in the wilderness. The park is located about a three-hour drive north of Cessnock. The expansive temperate rainforests – part of the Gondwana Rainforests of the Australia World Heritage Area – are definitely worth a daytrip.