The Hunter Valley.
Photo courtesy of Destination New South Wales
Where is The Hunter Valley?

The Hunter Valley

Two hours north of Sydney is the Hunter Valley Region and Central Coast, which are famous for wines, ​​​​world heritage-listed national parks, beaches, lakes and historic towns.​

The Hunter Valley is a mecca for food and wine enthusiasts with around 80 wineries to visit. Enjoy the old world charm of the cellar doors where you'll sample a great selection of reds, whites, dessert wines, ports, and sparkling wines.

​If you're not sure which wineries to visit or how to get there, take one of the many tours that include horse-drawn carriages and cycling tours. If you have kids in tow, don’t panic! Most of the wineries have cafes and great open spaces with picnic areas and playgrounds for the kids to enjoy.

Some of my favourite wineries are Tulloch, Saddlers Creek, Mountview, Brokenwood, and Tamburlaine’s organic wine range. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been to many Hunter wineries where I haven’t fallen in love with their produce.

 

Things to do in the Hunter

  • The Hunter Valley Gardens has different themed gardens including the Rose Garden with thousands of roses on display; the Sunken Garden; and my favourite - the Storybook Garden with its giant fairytale characters sculpted out of shrubs and flowers, murals, and nursery rhymes being read out over loud speakers. See Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill, Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatters Tea Party, and the adorable Little Bo Peep!
     
  • For something completely decadent and spectacular, take off in a hot-air balloon followed by a champagne breakfast.
     
  • Bushwalkers, horseback riders, campers and 4WD enthusiasts will love the magnificent World-Heritage Barrington Tops National Park with its rugged mountains, gorges and forests.

Brokenwood winery in the Hunter Valley. Photo
courtesy of Destination New South Wales

  • If history and culture are more your thing, meander through the historic town of Maitland with its 19th-century architecture, history museum, art gallery, old gaol and plethora of craft and curio shops. You can see more of the same at nearby Morpeth and Newcastle where there’s also a signposted heritage walk. Get a free map at the Tourist Information and take a self guided tour.
  • Water sport lovers can go surfing at one of Newcastle’s beaches or quad biking on the sand dunes. Head a little further north to Port Stephens to see the dolphins playing in the water, or go surfing, fishing, canoing, windsurfing or bushwalking at nearby Myall Lakes National Park.

Where to eat

The Hunter is also renowned for producing great cheeses, chocolates, and country style cooking. It is home to many great chefs who have escaped city-living to run their own restaurants and cafes. A few suggestions are:​

  • Amanda's on the Edge
  • Verandah Restaurant on Calais estate
  • Briar Grillade at Mount View estate 
  • Esca Bimbadgen at Bimbadgen estate

For something more casual, head to the Australian Regional Food Store and Café or Drayton's Log Press Café family restaurant for morning and afternoon teas, and lunches.
 

Where to stay

Book into one of the many hotels, guest houses or local bed and breakfasts, and caters for all budgets. My recommendations​ include: