Hunter Valley Accommodation

Things to do

The warm climate and lovely scenery of the Hunter, together with the sophistication of the vineyards and gourmet food, means a very relaxing holiday. Or you can top up your adrenalin with some active adventures, particularly on horseback. The Hunter's easy proximity to Sydney means lots of great weekend specials are on offer, and it means that it is easy to get to and around even if you have limited time.

To enjoy the Hunter it helps if you have an interest in wine, but it's not compulsory, as there are plenty of adventures apart from the wineries. However, even if you're not a connoisseur , the vineyards are wonderful places to have lunch, picnic, listen to music, taste local cheeses, admire the roses and absorb the scenery.

The wineries in the Lower Hunter are concentrated around Pokolbin in five regions: Wollombi Valley, Mount View, Cessnock, Pokolbin and Rothbury, and Lovedale and North Rothbury. The Upper Hunter is famous for horse-breeding and racing, and also has world-class vineyards. It has a fabulous landscape perfect for outdoor activity and is ideal for horse enthusiasts, bushwalkers and campers. The Upper Hunter has history galore in its homesteads, country mansions, settlers' cottages, stockmen's huts and old shearing sheds, as well as in the public buildings of its old towns.

The Cessnock Visitor Centre is an excellent starting place for your Hunter Valley experience. It has a great range of free maps and brochures to guide you, and is open every day at Turner Park, Aberdare Road, Cessnock.

  • Wine – most famous for their cabernet sauvignons and semillons, the Hunter Valley's vineyards are concentrated around Pokolbin in the Lower Hunter. Around fifty wineries, mostly open to the public, are gathered here, including famous names such as Tyrells, Lindemans and Wyndham Estate.

  • Food and Cooking – it might be strange to list 'food' under 'things to do' but gourmet produce, freshly caught or grown food and organic goodies are such a part of the Hunter Valley experience that it seems appropriate to mention them here. In addition, there are several cooking schools, so book in and indulge while you learn. This way, you can take a bit of the Hunter magic home with you.

  • Golf – the Hunter Valley has several world-class golf courses, some of which have on-site tuition. Whether you want to improve your swing, just get in some practice, or walk off some of the indulgences of the Hunter, you'll find your game here. Your companions on the course are just as likely to be wallabies and parrots as other golfers.

  • Spas and Health Resorts – go home from your holiday feeling like a new person after a rejuvenating treatment, a pampering session or a restorative massage at one of the many health spas in the Hunter Valley. Spend the day or book in for a week: either way you'll feel refreshed and ready for more.

  • Hot-Air Ballooning and Scenic Flights – watch wallabies having breakfast from the air from a romantic early-morning ride in a colourful balloon, or see the whole valley at a glance from a helicopter or light plane.

  • Horse Riding – do it the way the early settlers did – on horseback. This is horse country and you can take a leisurely walk through a vineyard or head for the bush on a multi-day trek. Beginners and experienced riders will find their steed here.

  • Horse-drawn Carriage - hand the reins to someone else and take a ride in a carriage to boutique wineries for a picnic lunch.

  • Vintage Car trips – see the gorgeous scenery and indulge in the wines from a more unusual perspective. Save yourself the driving and go in style.

  • Camping, bushwalking, fishing – the Upper Hunter has unlimited scope for going 'wild' and camping in the bush. National parks have designated camping areas, while Lake St Clair and Lake Glenbawn have waterside camping spots. Barrington Tops and the Murrurundi Range offer great camping and bushwalking opportunities.

  • Hunter Valley Gardens - Basically a family enterprise, the gardens have been built around the old Tallawanta winery, and now include twelve themed garden 'rooms', each with a different focus, which cover over 25 hectares. Literally millions of plants are now established, giving the visitor an insight into the colours and fragrances of twelve different floral themes. This is more than just a garden, it's a work of art, and you can easily spend all day enchanted by the displays. The gardens have an entrance fee.

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