Just a short three-hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a destination that’s all about decadence. But there’s more to explore than just cellar doors. With rolling greenery, gourmet food, quaint cottages and fireplaces aplenty, this stunning wine region is steeped in charm and romance. So, set aside a long weekend to explore Australia’s oldest wine region, Sitchu style!
Here's our pick of places to visit and things to do in the Hunter Valley, for your next wine-fuelled getaway.
Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Dine
Named after Yellow Billy, a gentlemen bush ranger who roamed the Hunter Valley in the 1860s, this restaurant focuses on fire. With a custom-made fire pit, they have created flexible sharing menus. The perfect meat and wood pairings, and their relationships with local artisans creates totally memorable dishes. Think Pukara Estate lamb ragu and paprika-rubbed Little Hill Farm Chicken. It’s like tasting the entire Hunter Valley on a plate.
697 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
A favourite for both locals and visitors, Café Enzo is set in a charming sandstone building, with an enchanting courtyard, complete with a trickling fountain. Offering a delicious menu full of locally grown produce, Café Enzo is open for breakfast, lunch, and even during those necessary in between snacking times.
Broke Road &, Ekerts Road, Pokolbin
Simple, elegant food in a jaw-dropping setting, this is the ideal winery restaurant. Prepare yourself for a truly epic meal with award-winning food from executive chef Nick Samaras. The menu is full of delicious dishes made with fresh produce and fresher flavours but, if you’re looking for a show-stopping foodie experience, check out the $150 per person signature menu with matching wines.
790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
Food is central to the EXP. experience (pun 100% intended). Owner and head chef Frank Fawkner has been cooking in the Hunter since he was fifteen years old, and you can taste the benefit of his experience in every single bite. At EXP. they have food practically perfected. The six-course tasting menu (also available for vegetarians) is downright delicious. With plates ranging from sea scallops and locally-sourced chicken, to wagyu and sorbet! This is an absolute must add to your Hunter Valley itinerary.
2188 Broke Road, Pokolbin
Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Wineries
Taste-test your way through the Hunter Valley’s best vineyards
With over 150 vineyards, it’s near-impossible to narrow down your list of cellar doors to visit. But don’t worry – this won’t be your last trip to the Hunter! Our edit of things to do in the Hunter Valley is sure to keep you coming back for more!
Resting on a hilltop, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard is one of the valley’s oldest, and its sparkling Shiraz is phenomenal. Share a bottle, then sip on limited-edition wines at Piggs Peake Winery and organic drops at Tamburlaine and Macquariedale.
To transport yourself to the south of France for the afternoon, head to Krinklewood. Leave room to devour the cheese platters – they’re divine! And if you’re a go-boutique-or-go-home couple, you’ll love Pepper Tree, Vinden Estate, Spicers Estate, Hart & Hunterand Bimbadgen– which even has an outdoor amphitheatre that hosts open-air concerts!
1813 Wines is the cellar door of Tinonee Vineyard Estate – which happens to be one of our favourite places to stay in the Hunter Valley. You’re encouraged to wander through the vines, pick a bunch of grapes in summertime and make sure to book a tasting to experience everything the estate has to offer.
1813 Cellar Door, 1273 Milbroadale Road, Broke
Gone are the days of turning up at a winery and wandering in for a quick tipple - wine tastings must now be pre-booked. Klook, an activities and experiences booking platform, is helping the wine industry get back on its feet and adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic. It is Klook’s mission to make pre-booking a wine tasting as quick and easy as ordering an Uber!
Klook now has more than 25 instantly bookable wine tastings live on their site, with more than 10 of these tastings available for just $1 with the promo code ‘WINETIME’*.
Sydneysiders heading to the Hunter Valley can now plan an epic itinerary, pre-booking wine tastings at some of the best wineries available. No FOMO necessary.
Stop off in the historic town of Morpeth to sample some of Boydell's critically acclaimed small batch drops. This boutique winery has won a plethora of awards, not to mention the glowing accolades from prestigious critic James Halliday! Tastings run from Wednesday through until Sunday, and can be paired with a platter of local cheeses, or alternatively, book into the restaurant where you can sit down to a delicious menu of local, seasonal classics.
2 Green Street, Morpeth
A charming winery and olive grove, Whispering Brook will transport your taste buds to the heart of Greece. Their deliciously unique tasting experience combines handcrafted olive oil together with a selection of their finest vintages. Learn about olive cultivation, harvest, and artisan methods of olive and olive oil production, all the while sipping on some of their signature Hunter blends.
Rodd Street, Broke
Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Visit
After spending time in this foodie wonderland, you'll undoubtedly want to start stepping up your home cooking game. Whether you take low and slow BBQ class atMajors Lane Cooking School or take a hands-on cooking class at Hunter Valley Cooking School, you'll pick up some valuable culinary skills!
Hit the links at a Hunter Valley Golf Course
We know that golf sometimes gets a bad rap, 'a good walk spoilt' some may say! However, these Hunter Valley golf courses are so beautiful that we can promise you that there will be no complaints. Check out Hunter Valley Golf Course, the 18-hole championship golf course for premium facilities and natural beauty. Or go to Chateau Elan and check out the 18-hole Greg Norman designed Vintage Golf Course.
Take a break from wine and check out Ironbark. With a variety of beers and ciders on tap, the tasting room has a brew that’ll suit everyone. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to try their watermelon-infused Wheater-melon beer.
694 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Explore
Wander through the Hunter Valley Gardens
Spread over 60 acres, the Hunter Valley Gardens is a downright idyllic. Take the Gardens Train around the site to soak up natural beauty and spend the day getting lost amongst the perfectly manicured gardens.
2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin
'Come fly with me...'for over 40 years Balloon Aloft have been offering balloon flights over the Hunter Valley. Flights last one hour and are followed by a delicious gourmet champagne breakfast at Peterson House. A truly memorable experience!
Live out your very specific fantasies with a Hunter Valley activity that is straight out of Jane Austen, Bridgerton or that one scene in The Parent Trap with a horseback tour of the beautiful Hunter Valley countryside and vineyards. Either take a horseback tour of local vineyards and ride between the vines or go old school with a horse and carriage tour!
917 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Stay
A perfect example of Hunter Valley luxury accommodation, this boutique five-star retreat offers twelve luxurious guest rooms and a guest house nestled between the property’s private vineyard and gorgeous surrounding bushland. For bigger groups, the four bedroom vineyard house has access to an outdoor barbecue area with a firepit and a large outdoor pool. For couples, the romantic king suites are absolutely perfect. During your stay make sure you carve out some time to visit Spa Anise and their renowned eatery Restaurant Botanica.
From $499 per night
555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
For a taste of Marrakesh in the Hunter Valley, you can't look past Casa La Vina. The Moroccan-style escape is a boutique stay comprised of three luxury villas, ideal for a romantic getaway. Quality vineyards aren’t far but most have to drag themselves away from the outdoor spa. Each villa has its own courtyard, built-in fireplace and rustic, southwestern touch – and it’s adults-only!
From $400 per night
657 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
One of the most unique accommodation options in the Hunter Valley, the Boathouse accommodation by Leaves & Fishes is four unique private boat houses in a relaxed, secluded setting. With your own deck overlooking a lily pad-laden pond, you’ll feel like you’re encompassed in the serenity of a Monet painting. With a king sized bed, opulent furnishings and a uniquely stunning vista, this is the best couples accommodation in the Hunter.
From $350 per night
737 Lovedale Road Lovedale
For an authentic country experience, check-in to the Starline Alpaca Farmstay resort. The cottage style accommodation is perfect for families and the expansive grounds include a swimming pool, spa, sauna, tennis courts, children's playground and alpaca farm, where you can feed some truly adorable furry friends.
1100 Milbrodale Road, Broke
A family-owned boutique winery that only sells to the finest restaurants and from their cellar door, the Vinden family’s estate in the Hunter is the stuff dreams are made of, from the vineyard to an intimate fine dining experience. For the full experience, stay the night in their colonial homestead and wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the Brokenback ranges.
From $900 per night
138 Gillards Road, Pokolbin
An elegant, stylish boutique with sustainability at its core – all rooms feature plastic-free bedding made from recyclable materials and large-bottle amenities to reduce the volume of plastic waste. The kitchen also adopts a paddock-to-plate, zero-waste approach to food, with vegetable gardens, beehives and resident roaming farm animals who gladly make use of the leftover veggies. Set on 70 acres of picturesque countryside, and just minutes away from the region’s famed cellar doors, this luxury retreat is a haven of tranquillity.
From $188.62 per night
336 Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin
The Dairy Cottage and The Residence at Tinonee Vineyard Estate
Set in the charming village of Broke, this quaint two-bedroom cottage beckons with a sense of charm and serenity. A romantic escape for couples – walk amongst the vines, cuddle up on the sofa next to the roaring fire, then sink into the beautiful period bath with a chilled glass of their signature Verdelho. Pure bliss. For larger groups, the neighbouring and rather opulent residence sleeps up to 18 guests and also has an outdoor swimming pool.
From $380 per night (minimum two night stay)
1273 Milbrodale Road, Broke
Loved our things to do in the Hunter Valley guide? We've got plenty of weekend getaways to inspire your next Aussie adventure. From gourmet decadence in the Southern Highlands to beachside bliss in Byron Bay, we've travelled around the country to bring you the best city guides and weekend getaways Australia has to offer. For more travel inspiration, head to visitnsw.com.