What is there to do in the Hunter Valley other than wineries?

What is there to do in the Hunter Valley other than wineries?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/19/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

When you hear anyone mention the Hunter Valley, you’d be forgiven for thinking immediately only of delicious wine and luxurious wineries. These are what make the region so famous, after all.

You will be pleased to know that a trip to the Valley – often called Wine Country – will offer the fabulous wine, but also so, so much more.

Bordered by the towns of Broke, Pokolbin and Wollombi, the Hunter Valley region begins 165km north of Sydney and it will only take a couple of hours to drive up away from the CBD to enjoy a city escape.

If wine just isn’t your thing, or you’ve got a bit of extra time up your sleeve to explore more, there are both budget-friendly and luxe ways to enjoy the abundance of experiences in the wide-open spaces and fresh air in the Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley activities

  • Dig in to top quality cuisine

    With great wine, comes great food! The local produce grown throughout the lush valley means seasonally changing menus of ridiculously tasty meals. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there will be a restaurant or café to satisfy.

  • Take the scenic route

    Hire a car or bring your own and cruise along Tourist Drive 33, through jaw-dropping NSW countryside and stop in at towns like Wollombi and Peats Ridge along the way!

  • Take a small-town breather

    With quaint and picturesque towns like Pokolbin, Cessnock, Maitland and Lovedale waiting for you to stop in, you’ll be charmed by the warm welcome from locals.

  • Say Cheese

    At the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop in Pokolbin! Sample local and imported cheeses, nuts and even creamy gelato in this well-loved establishment.

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth

    The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is a real crowd pleaser. No further explanation necessary.

  • Stroll through the markets

    Pick up some handmade gifts, or delicious freshly baked goods at the Handmade in the Hunter Markets (open Saturday mornings in Pokolbin) or the Hunter Wine Country Markets (Saturdays in Lovedale).

  • Enjoy a drink

    Of something other than wine! At the Hunter Distillery you’ll be trying vodka infused with chilli, lime or coffee, and Foghorn Brewery will have you sampling a taste of the entire range of brews.

  • Glide over breathtaking scenery

    Hot air balloon rides operate daily, and are a truly magical way to start your day, taking in the sunrise, and tranquil peace and quiet from up above.

  • Hunter Valley Gardens

    A beautiful way to spend an afternoon with the family. The gardens are made up of smaller gardens inspired by countries around the world – like Italy, China and India – plus carousels and a Ferris wheel. There are varying events held in the gardens throughout the year, so be sure to ask about what’s on when you arrive.

  • Treat yourself

    Spa treatments, massages, yoga and retreats. Choose your favourite way to relax and unwind and book in for a day of luxury, with retreats and spas operating in Cessnock, Broke and Pokolbin.

  • Get lost in nature

    Wollemi and Yengo National Parks are bursting with bushwalks, bike trails, lookouts, gorges, Aboriginal scared sites, native plants and wildlife.

  • Cook up a storm

    Enjoy an outdoor cooking class with 100 acres of vineyards as your backdrop at Majors Lane Cooking School in Lovedale.

Getting to the Hunter Valley

Now that you’ve got a pretty extensive list of things to do, you’ll need to know how to get there to start ticking off the list!

Multiple flights arrive in Sydney daily from all major Australian cities, and you also have the option to fly in a little closer to Newcastle. From here you can hire a car or even better, join a fun tour and learn about the area and get driven around in comfort with an experienced guide.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.