Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Where to Wine, Dine and Unwind

Where wine, romance and countryside collide – here are our top picks of places to stay and things to do in the Hunter Valley.

Tinonee Vineyard Estate

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 beyond the 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: Tours & Bookings

$1 Wine Tastings

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. 

Taste of Europe Tour

Whilst European travel remains out of reach for many, this day tour showcases the very best European sights, smells and tastes that the Hunter Valley has to offer. Guests will jump on a big red tour bus and visit four award-winning wineries for expert-led wine tastings, a delicious lunch , plus a legendary brewery for a touch of Oktoberfest. With only 10 seats available for Saturday 24th October and Sunday 25th October, be sure to secure your spot quickly!

$199 per person

Saturday 24th October and Sunday 25th October

hunter valley, nsw
Romantic Hunter Valley Tour

With Vintage Connection’s  Love in the Vines  tour, you’ll be chauffeured around the Hunter’s most picturesque vineyards in a luxury car. The team can also arrange lunch in a private dining room or leave you with a picnic hamper.

Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Eat

Café Enzo

A favourite for both locals and visitors, Cafe 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, Cafe Enzo is open for breakfast, lunch, and even during those necessary in between snacking times. 

Broke Road &, Ekerts Road, Pokolbin

Cocoa Nib

Cocoa Nib is a stunning little chocolaterie, located in the heart of the Hunter Valley. Situated within the main cellar door of Keith Tulloch Wines estate, everything about this artisan chocolate shop looks just as good as the delicious treats that they sell — from the store’s delightful display, right down to the pretty packaging.

989 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin 

Circa 1876

Tucked inside a historic cottage on the Roscrea Estate, this is one of the Hunter’s most iconic restaurants. Clear your schedule and go for the two-, three- or five-course chef’s tasting menu. On your way out, pop into the Champagne Lounge for a glass of bubbles by the open fireplace.

64 Halls Road, Pokolbin

Restaurant Botanica

Set on the Spicers Estate, most of the ingredients and herbs are plucked from the garden, and there’s a sommelier on hand to match wines to every dish. PS. Ordering the custard and caramel ice-cream for dessert is another way to say ‘I love you.’

555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin

EXP Restaurant
EXP Restaurant

With chef Frank Fawkner at the helm, this is the Hunter Valley’s most adventurous dining experience. Opt for the five- or eight-course tasting menu with wine or non-alcoholic beverage pairing (just for something different!). It changes seasonally, but you can expect a string of dishes supercharged with flavour.

2188 Broke Road, Pokolbin

Muse Dining

Located at the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, this fine dining restaurant is the ultimate date night spot. It serves local produce in the most beautiful way. For a more casual vibe, go to its sister restaurant, Muse Kitchen at Keith Tulloch Winery.

2450 Broke Road, Pokolbin

Margan

The owners are pioneers of paddock-to-plate dining and produce their own olive oil and hone. Start by strolling around the stunning one-acre garden, and then order a bunch of seasonal dishes. Oh, and if the gnocchi is on the menu, that’s the best decision you’ll make all day.

1238 Milbrodale Road, Broke


Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Wineries

Krinklewood Vineyard
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!

For excellent chardonnay (and a trip down memory lane), go to  Tyrrell’s; the winemaker’s wall is a who’s who of Aussie viticulture. And when to comes to bubbles, look no further than Peterson House.

For chardonnay served with a side of culture, make your way to Winmark Wines. The chardonnay is next-level, as is the firepit which overlooks the property's beautifully landscaped grounds. There's also a majestic steel sculpture perched above the vines by sculptor David Ball. Owner Karin Adcock commissioned the piece just before he won the 2017 Bondi Sculpture by the Sea.

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 TreeVinden Estate, Spicers Estate, Hart & Hunterand Bimbadgen– which even has an outdoor amphitheatre that hosts concerts from time to time.

Boydell's
Boydell's cellar door

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, so you know a visit here means business. 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

Whispering Brook
Whispering Brook

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

Usher Tinkler

Housed inside an old converted church in Polkobin overlooking the Brokeback Mountains, Usher Tinkler's stylish cellar door brings a touch of urban cool to the heart of the Hunter. Decked out in rustic woods, old-school ceramic tiles and vintage mismatched furniture, this quirky space comes steeped in charm. Pull up a pew at the bar or nuzzle into the cosy Chesterfield sofas while one of the friendly, knowledgeable staff members takes you through a selection of Usher's inimitable blends. 

The peppery shiraz is a particular highlight, and tastes incredible with one of their signature grazing platters. They come overloaded with local and imported cheese, – the French brie is to-die-for – salumi, local honey, olives, and house-pickled veg. They don't accept large groups either (up to 8 people max) so the atmosphere is always super relaxed and low-key.

97 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin

Tempus Two

Set on the rolling hills of the Roche Estate, this cellar door is gorgeous – and its shelves are lined with lovely Tempus Two drops. To make the experience more intimate, you can organise a private tasting.

Roche Estate, Broke Road &, McDonalds Road, Pokolbin

Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Not Wineries

IronBark Hill Brewhouse

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 both of you. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to try their watermelon-infused Wheatermelon beer.

694 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin

The Goldfish

Settle into a leather booth at this chic cocktail bar. If the weather’s warm, sit on the deck, order a crispy, thin-crust pizza (the braised lamb shoulder and potato is amazing), and admire the views of the Roche Estate. On weekends, you’ll be treated to live music.

2144 Broke Road, Pokolbin

Hunter Distillery

Walk into warehouse distillery, and you might think you’ve wandered into a science lab. It offers flavoured vodka tastings in test-tube shots, along with the occasional gin.

1686 Broke Road, Pokolbin

Harrigan’s Irish Pub

To get a taste of everyday life in the Hunter, swap stories with the locals at this lively Irish pub. Had a late one? Book in to stay in their boutique accommodation.

2090 Broke Rose, Pokolbin

Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Explore

hunter valley, nsw
Soak up the scenery at Yengo  and Werakata National Parks

The lush, sprawling parks are home to swimming holes and walking trails, so pack your sneakers and cossies! The Rock, near Pokolbin Mountain Road, also has gorgeous views of the valley.

Wander through the  Hunter Valley Gardens

Spread over 60 acres, these gardens are gorgeous. Spend the afternoon getting lost, or do the ultra-romantic Lakes Walk.

Mucchessons Horseback Wine & Dine Tours
Explore the Hunter by horseback

For an equestrian adventure, sample the delights of the Hunter on horseback. Saddle up with Kim Murdock and Steve Hutchesson as they take you on a galloping journey of the famous wine region with their friendly rescue horses. Mucchessons Horseback Wine & Dine Tours (choose from full- or half-day tours) include VIP tastings at Wynwood Cellar DoorHanging Tree Vineyard, a visit to the Wynwood Cellar Wine Museum and lunch at voco Kirkton Park

hunter valley, nsw
Go all the way up with a hot air balloon ride

There’s nothing quite like floating above the vineyards while watching the sunrise. For a birds-eye view of the valley, Balloons Aloft will sort you out with a hot air balloon ride, followed by brekkie and bubbles at Peterson House.

Things to do in the Hunter Valley: Accommodation

voco Kirkton Park
voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley

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

Boydell's
Boydell's

For the ultimate alfresco indulgence, Boydell's glamorous new safari lodges offer pure luxury in the great outdoors. Safari-style living at its most extravagant, these romantic retreats are beautifully decorated with wooden flooring, king-sized beds, stone sinks, mosquito nets and freestanding copper baths. Glamorous doesn't even cut it. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and the waft of fresh, countryside air. If you're looking for a relaxing escape, this is undoubtedly the place to do it. Indulge in rustic surroundings and savour the picturesque views, before settling down to a barbecue feast paired with Boydell's matching wine flight. Sign us up immediately.

From $475 per night

65 Allyn River Road, East Gresford

The Carriages, hunter valley
The Carriages Boutique Hotel

Tucked between the vines of the award-winning winery, this country house has eight spacious suites, along with a saltwater pool, tennis court and garden. For the utmost privacy, book The Gatehouse Cottage.

From $289 per night

112 Halls Road, Pokolbin

Leaves & Fishes
The Boathouses at Leaves & Fishes

Made up of four lakefront cabins, this adults-only retreat is an idyllic hideaway. The Balinese-inspired cabins feature a king bed and marble bathroom with a double shower and stone bath.

737 Lovedale Road, Lovedale

Tinonee Vineyard Estate
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

Casa La Vina

These luxurious, Moroccan-style villas are perfect for a romantic getaway. Each villa has a fireplace, BBQ and courtyard for lunching and stargazing, plus a king bed and kitchenette.

From $350 per night

657 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin

Vinden Estate Wines

Post-wine-tasting, stay the night at this vineyard’s Victorian-style guesthouse, which has a pool, tennis court, and scenic views of the Brokenback Ranges. 

From $942.86 per night

138 Gillards Road, Pokolbin


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. 

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