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Top 12 Things To Do in Hunter Valley, NSW Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

15/08/2023
10 mins read
Hunter Valley
Source: Destination NSW

Welcome to the Hunter Valley, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of New South Wales, Australia. This enchanting region is a haven for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences and hidden treasures. From world-class wineries to breathtaking natural landscapes, the Hunter Valley offers a diverse range of activities that will captivate your senses.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal the best things to do in the Hunter Valley. Get ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. The Hunter Valley awaits, ready to enchant and delight you with its beauty and charm.

Things To Do In Hunter Valley, NSW

1. Wine Tasting – Savor the Flavors of Hunter Valley

Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Hunter Valley’s renowned wineries, such as Brokenwood Wines, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, and Scarborough Wine Co. Embark on a wine tasting journey and sample a diverse range of varietals, from crisp whites to bold reds.

Each winery offers a unique experience, with knowledgeable staff guiding you through the tasting process and sharing insights into the region’s winemaking history.

  • Brokenwood Wines
    • Opening Hours: Daily 9:30 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 401-427 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 15 km from Cessnock.
  • Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard
    • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 750 De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 16 km from Cessnock.
  • Scarborough Wine Co
    • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 179 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 17 km from Cessnock.

2. Hot Air Ballooning – A Bird’s Eye View of the Valley

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Hunter Valley from a unique perspective as you soar above the vineyards and rolling hills in a hot air balloon. Companies like Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley and Beyond Ballooning offer unforgettable flights that showcase the region’s stunning landscapes. As the sun rises, watch the valley come to life with vibrant colors and picturesque scenery, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Hot air ballooning is an exhilarating adventure suitable for all ages, making it an ideal activity for families, couples, and groups of friends. After your flight, celebrate the experience with a delicious champagne breakfast, toasting to your unforgettable journey through the skies. The serene and tranquil atmosphere of a hot air balloon ride is the perfect way to start your day in Hunter Valley.

  • Best time of the year: March to November, when the weather is cooler and more stable.
  • Address: Various locations depending on the company.
  • Distance from town: Varies depending on the launch site.

3. Hunter Valley Gardens – A Botanical Wonderland

Experience the enchanting beauty of Hunter Valley Gardens, a stunning collection of themed gardens that showcase a diverse range of flora from around the world. Wander through the serene pathways and admire the meticulously manicured landscapes, including the Sunken Garden, the Oriental Garden, and the Rose Garden. The gardens are a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors, fragrant blooms, and soothing water features.

Throughout the year, the gardens host various events and festivals, such as the annual Christmas Lights Spectacular and the Snow Time in the Garden winter event. With something to offer visitors of all ages, Hunter Valley Gardens is a delightful destination for families, couples, and garden enthusiasts alike.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Address: 2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 14 km from Cessnock.

4. Brewery Tours – Sample Local Craft Beers

Discover the thriving craft beer scene in Hunter Valley with a guided brewery tour. Sample a range of local brews at popular spots like 4 Pines at the Farm, Hope Estate, and IronBark Hill Brewhouse.

Learn about the brewing process, meet the passionate brewers behind the beers, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of these unique venues.

  • 4 Pines at the Farm
    • Opening Hours: Daily 11 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 2188 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 14 km from Cessnock.
  • Hope Estate
    • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 2213 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 15 km from Cessnock.
  • IronBark Hill Brewhouse
    • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
    • Address: 694 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 18 km from Cessnock.

5. Chapman Valley Horse Riding – Saddle Up and Explore

Discover the picturesque landscapes of Hunter Valley on horseback with Chapman Valley Horse Riding. This family-owned and operated business offers guided trail rides through the scenic countryside, catering to riders of all experience levels. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a first-time rider, the friendly staff will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Horses Riding
Source: Destination NSW

As you ride through the valley, take in the stunning views of vineyards, forests, and rolling hills. Horse riding is a unique and intimate way to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the region. With a range of trail options and ride durations, Chapman Valley Horse Riding offers a memorable adventure for everyone.

  • Opening Hours: Daily, bookings essential.
  • Address: 230 Mount View Rd, Mount View NSW 2325, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 12 km from Cessnock.

6. WUPA Aboriginal Art Trail – Immerse Yourself in Indigenous Culture

Discover the rich Aboriginal heritage of the Hunter Region at the WUPA Aboriginal Art Trail. This fascinating outdoor gallery showcases a collection of contemporary Aboriginal artworks, providing insights into the culture, history, and spirituality of the local Indigenous people. Wander along the trail and admire the vibrant murals, sculptures, and installations that celebrate the region’s Aboriginal roots.

The WUPA Aboriginal Art Trail is a unique and engaging experience that offers visitors a deeper understanding of Australia’s Indigenous heritage. Located within the picturesque grounds of WUPA@Wanaruah, this captivating attraction is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about Aboriginal culture.

  • Address: WUPA@Wanaruah, 1949 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 14 km from Cessnock.

7. Peterson House – A Sparkling Experience

Indulge in a romantic champagne breakfast at Restaurant Cuvee, located within the charming Peterson House. Known for its sparkling wines, Peterson House offers a delightful dining experience amidst the picturesque vineyards of Hunter Valley. Savor a delicious meal made from fresh, local ingredients while sipping on a glass of their signature bubbly.

After breakfast, explore the on-site cellar door and sample a range of sparkling wines, each crafted with care and expertise. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the tasting process, sharing insights into the art of sparkling wine production. With its idyllic setting and exquisite offerings, Peterson House is a must-visit destination for couples and wine lovers alike.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Address: Corner of Broke Rd & Wine Country Dr, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 14 km from Cessnock.

8. Helicopter Tours – Experience Hunter Valley from Above

Take to the skies and witness the breathtaking beauty of Hunter Valley from a helicopter. Companies like Hunter Valley Helicopters and Aero Logistics offer a range of aerial tours, showcasing the stunning vineyards, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes of the region. Choose from scenic flights, wine tours, and even transfers from Sydney for a truly unforgettable experience.

Helicopter tours provide a unique perspective of Hunter Valley, allowing you to appreciate the region’s natural beauty from a bird’s-eye view. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a thrilling adventure, a helicopter tour is an experience you won’t want to miss.

  • Hunter Valley Helicopters
    • Address: Wine Country Dr, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Located in Pokolbin.
  • Aero Logistics
    • Address: 2188 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Distance from town: Approximately 14 km from Cessnock.

9. Art Galleries – Immerse Yourself in the Local Art Scene

Hunter Valley is not only known for its vineyards and natural beauty but also for its thriving art scene. The region is home to numerous art galleries showcasing the works of local and international artists. Explore the diverse range of artistic expressions, from paintings and sculptures to glass art and photography.Some notable art galleries in Hunter Valley include:

  • Maitland Regional Art Gallery
    • Address: 230 High St, Maitland NSW 2320, Australia.
  • Morpeth Gallery
    • Address: 175 Swan St, Morpeth NSW 2321, Australia.
  • Watershed Gallery
    • Address: 621 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia.
    • Opening Hours: 10:30 am – 4:00 pm Friday – Monday.

Visiting art galleries in Hunter Valley is a great way to appreciate the region’s rich cultural heritage and support the local creative community. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for a unique experience, exploring the art galleries of Hunter Valley is a delightful way to spend your time in the region.

10. Barrington Tops National Park – A Hiker’s Paradise

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Barrington Tops National Park, a World Heritage-listed area that boasts diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests to rugged mountain peaks. Hike the trails and explore the stunning scenery, such as Careys Peak via The Corker Trail, a challenging but rewarding trek that offers panoramic views of the park.

The park is home to a variety of native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and numerous bird species. For a truly immersive experience, consider camping within the park and waking up to the sounds of nature. With its pristine wilderness and abundant outdoor activities, Barrington Tops National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn for milder weather and fewer crowds.
  • Address: Barrington Tops National Park, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 100 km from Cessnock.

11. Hunter Valley Wildlife Park – Encounter Australia’s Unique Wildlife

Get up close and personal with Australia’s unique wildlife at the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park. This family-friendly attraction is home to a variety of native animals, including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils. Hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies as they roam freely throughout the park, and don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo with a cuddly koala.

The park also features daily shows and keeper talks, providing insights into the lives and habits of the animals that call the park home. With a focus on conservation and education, the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park is an engaging and informative experience for visitors of all ages.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm.
  • Address: 138 Lomas Ln, Nulkaba NSW 2325, Australia.
  • Distance from town: Approximately 6 km from Cessnock.

12. Scenic Drives – Explore the Picturesque Hunter Valley

Discover the beauty of Hunter Valley at your own pace by embarking on one of the region’s scenic drives. These routes showcase the stunning landscapes, charming towns, and hidden gems of the area, making for a memorable and leisurely adventure.Some popular scenic drives in Hunter Valley include:

  • Tourist Drive 33: This scenic route stretches from Calga to Branxton, passing through the historic village of Wollombi and offering views of vineyards, dense forests, and fruit orchards.
  • Upper Hunter Drives: Beginning in Scone and Muswellbrook, these drives take you through the lush countryside along the Hunter River.
  • Hunter Valley Road Trip: This route explores the lesser-known sub-regions of the Hunter Valley, such as Broke and Wollombi, offering a peaceful and quiet alternative to the bustling Pokolbin area.

Whether you prefer to follow a designated route or create your own path, scenic drives in Hunter Valley provide a relaxing and enjoyable way to experience the region’s natural beauty and charm.

Towns Nearby Hunter Valley, NSW

Here are some nearby towns and suburbs around Hunter Valley, NSW, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Hunter Valley, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Cessnock, NSW (Approximately 14 km from Hunter Valley): Known for its historical buildings and mining history, Cessnock is the hub for business and shopping in the region. It also offers a mix of entertainment options, including cafes, restaurants, an art gallery, and a performing arts center.
  2. Pokolbin, NSW (Approximately 14 km from Hunter Valley): Located in the heart of the wine region, Pokolbin is home to numerous wineries, vineyards, and gourmet restaurants. It’s an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts and foodies.
  3. Wollombi, NSW (Approximately 60 km from Hunter Valley): This charming village is rich in Australian history and offers a heritage trail for visitors to explore. It’s also home to a number of boutique wineries and local art galleries.
  4. Maitland, NSW (Approximately 40 km from Hunter Valley): A vibrant city with a rich heritage, Maitland offers a range of attractions, including the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, historic buildings, and beautiful parks.
  5. Singleton, NSW (Approximately 50 km from Hunter Valley): A thriving regional center, Singleton is home to a variety of attractions, including the Australian Army Infantry Museum, Singleton Historical Society Museum, and picturesque parks.
  6. Lake Macquarie, NSW (Approximately 60 km from Hunter Valley): The largest coastal saltwater lake in Australia, Lake Macquarie is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. Enjoy activities such as sailing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming, or simply relax on the shores and soak up the sun.
  7. Newcastle, NSW (Approximately 60 km from Hunter Valley): As the largest city in the region, Newcastle offers a range of attractions, including beautiful beaches, the Newcastle Art Gallery, and the popular Bathers Way seafront promenade.

These nearby towns and suburbs offer a variety of attractions and experiences, making them worthwhile destinations to visit while exploring Hunter Valley, NSW Australia.

Getting To Hunter Valley, NSW

To get to Hunter Valley, NSW from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Sydney CBD:

  • By train: Take the train from Sydney Central Station to Maitland Station or Singleton Station on the Hunter Line. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. From there, you can take a local bus or taxi to your desired location in Hunter Valley.
  • By car: Drive north on the M1 Pacific Motorway from Sydney CBD. Take the Cessnock exit onto the B82 and follow the signs to Hunter Valley. The drive takes approximately 2 hours, depending on traffic.

From Newcastle:

  • By train: Take the train from Newcastle Station to Maitland Station or Singleton Station on the Hunter Line. The journey takes approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour. From there, you can take a local bus or taxi to your desired location in Hunter Valley.
  • By car: Drive west on the A43 (New England Highway) from Newcastle. Take the B68 exit towards Cessnock and follow the signs to Hunter Valley. The drive takes approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic.

From Central Coast:

  • By train: Take the train from Gosford Station to Maitland Station or Singleton Station on the Hunter Line, with a transfer at Newcastle Station. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. From there, you can take a local bus or taxi to your desired location in Hunter Valley.
  • By car: Drive north on the M1 Pacific Motorway from the Central Coast. Take the Cessnock exit onto the B82 and follow the signs to Hunter Valley. The drive takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Transport for NSW website (https://transportnsw.info) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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