IT WILL COME AS NO SURPRISE TO HEAR THAT WINE IS AT THE HEART OF THE HUNTER VALLEY LIFESTYLE. HOWEVER EVEN THE MOST AVID WINE LOVERS MIGHT NEED A BREAK TO THEIR PACKED SCHEDULE OF HUNTER VALLEY CELLAR DOORS… YOU’LL BE GLAD TO KNOW THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF THINGS TO DO. HERE IS OUR TOP 10 FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO (OTHER THAN CELLAR DOORS) IN THE REGION.
1) A Scenic View of the Hunter Valley
After visiting Mount Pleasant, the first thing to do is to get some altitude for an overall feel of the Hunter Valley. You can head up Pokolbin Mountains Rd by turning at Robyn Drayton’s corner- the gravel road up the winding mountainwill lead you to a spectacular view of our beautiful region. Or for those with a 4 wheel drive and an adventurous spirit, head to “The Rock”, which involves turning onto the State Forest Rd at the top of Pokolbin Mountains Rd– the view is beautiful and you may even bump into a Hunter winemaker, as it is a favourite place to take first time visitors.
2) Concerts in the Hunter
The Hunter Valley offers a wide range of concert events from small to large, covering classical opera, legendary rockers and R&B artists. Partner your event with a trip to Mount Pleasant for a wine tasting or lunch at Elizabeth’s- it is guaranteed to make for a perfect Hunter Valley getaway.
3) Hot Air Ballooning
One of the most iconic ways to experience the Hunter Valley is in a hot air balloon. Time your trip to sunrise or sunset and witness one of Australia’s most beautiful regions in an unforgettable setting. Our favourite team is Beyond Ballooning, a local Australian family owned business run by Steve and his son Nathan.
4) Hunter Valley Gardens and the Gardens Village
Spanning over 25 acres and boasting 10 stunning feature gardens, the Hunter Valley Gardens are a fantastic experience for anyone looking to connect with nature at its most beautiful. The 8km wheelchair-friendly walk around the gardens will take you past 6000 trees and some of the most amazing views in the Hunter Valley region.
When you have finished your visit to the Gardens and in need of some retail therapy, the Hunter Valley Gardens Village offers a range of boutique speciality shops.
If wine is the drink of royalty, then golf is surely their game of choice. In the Hunter Valley, there is a selection of championship golf courses to choose from:
–Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club, Cnr McDonalds and Thompsons Rds, Pokolbin: A challenging 18 hole course built amongst the rolling hills of the Hunter countryside.
–Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club, Cnr Allandale & Lovedale Rds, Pokolbin. Part of the Crowne Plaza Resort- nice and flat 18 hole course with plenty of water!
–Oaks Golf and Country Club, 49 Lindsay St, Cesnock. Just on the outer edges of Cessnock Town Central, this 18 hole course presents some challenges in easy rolling slopes.
–The Vintage Golf Club, Vintage Drive, Rothbury. Greg Norman designed this 18 hole (soon to be 27 hole) course, designed as a link course. Drive straight!
Wine and cheese? Yes please! The Hunter Valley Cheese Factory is the perfect stopover to break up a day of visiting Cellar Doors… They offer a range of fine handmade and preservative free cheeses, available for tasting and purchase. Watch their cheese makers in action by taking in the cheese making talks offered daily at 11am and 3pm. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more personal, why not pick up a hamper to accompany a new bottle of Hunter Valley wine and set up a picnic somewhere! Say hello to Pete and Rosie the passionate owners! The Smelly Cheese Shop is another great cheese specialist to visit on your trip.
7) Chateau Elan Spa @ The Vintage
There comes a time when you just feel the need for a total unwind with a pampering session at Chateau Elan Spa. With 17 treatment rooms for massage, hydrotherapy, beauty treatments, body balancing and more you will leave a new person!
8) Hunter Beer Co @ Potters Hotel Brewery Resort
It might seem a little sacrilegious, but our winemakers do say that it takes a lot of beer to make wine in the Hunter. At Potters Hotel you’ll get to enjoy award winning beers available in the Brewery Bar, where you may meet our friend and award winning brewer Keith- you may be lucky enough to be taken the beer-making tour.
9) Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
There’s no chance you’ll be missing your chocolate fix on a trip to the Hunter! The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company has 3 outlets selling and sampling chocolate, including a chocolate and fudge making facility where you can view the making of these delicious morsels.
10) Australian Woodwork Gallery
The Australian Woodwork Gallery boasts stunning Native Australian woodcraft designs, including gifts, homewares, furniture and collectibles. You will be amazed at these examples of what skilled craftsmen can do with wood.