The Hunter Valley Wine Country
The Hunter Valley is located in New South Wales, Australia, approximately 2.5 hours North of Sydney’s CBD by car. Famously known for its grape-growing region, there is more to this place than its Vineyards, from delicious farm-fresh restaurants to the picturesque rolling hills and world-class spa locations. There are some great ideas for your Weekend in the Hunter Valley.
The Hunter Valleys’ first purchase was in 1825 when James Busby, a Scottish man who later became known as the father of Australian wine. He originally named his land Kirkton after his birthplace in Scotland, where you can now find hints of history splattered across the Hunter region. Whether it is a street or a hotel, his legacy remains one of the most well-known wine regions in Australia.
In 1831 Busby travelled extensively throughout Europe and South Africa. He brought back cuttings from over 500 vineyards, including Syrah (also known as Shiraz), and Hermitage hill in the Rhône, which were then planted by his brother-in-law William Kelman before travelling to New Zealand and making his mark there.
By the end of the 19th century, four families had now produced vineyards in the area; these were Dr Lindeman, The Tulloch, Tyrrell, Wilkinson & Drayton families.
Getting to the Hunter Valley
Driving to the Hunter Valley is by far the most convenient way to head to this beautiful region, especially since the drive is an easy 2.5 hours from Sydney CBD.
If you want to book a train from Central Station to Singelton, then you can online. From Singelton, it is approximately 20 mins by taxi.
Cessnock Airport is by far the closest but is only available for helicopter and private charters. Your best bet is Newcastle airport which is approximately 1-hour taxi ride to the Hunter Valley.
Weekend getaways Hunter Valley with kids
There are plenty of things to do in the hunter valley this weekend. The Hunter Valley region caters for all seasons, so your weekend in Hunter Valley can be planned at any time of the year.
Hunter Valley Gardens
Your Hunter Valley weekend away would not be complete without a trip to the Hunter Valley Gardens. Roam around this beautiful garden and explore the many regions that the Hunter Valley Gardens displays. There is an Indian Garden, a Chinese Garden and (my favourite) an Italian Grotto.
Although the entrance fee is on the high side when you are entering with a family in toe, some areas are primarily for the kiddies. A must is the storybook garden and many rides to entertain them for hours. Check online before you arrive as there are also significant events during the year that are an added bonus to your trip.
Hunter Valley Zoo
The weekend in Hunter Valley with kids can not be complete without a trip to the Hunter Valley Zoo. Ideally located and affordably priced (children two and under free). Open Thursday to Tuesday between 9 am and 4 pm, located on Lomas Lane Nulkaba, purchase tickets online or at the zoo itself.
The zoo has all the animals you would expect from a large zoo, however, for an extra cost there are up close, and personal animal encounters to choose. The black and white ruffed lemur, the emperor tamarin, meerkats and marmoset. There are restrictions with each experience, so check before you go.
For those with little ones (or for those who like to swing a golf club), Aqua Golf is ideal. For a small fee, grab a bucket of balls and a golf club (you may need to share if it is jam-packed), and head over to one of the lanes for an hour of fun.
There are easier and more challenging targets to hit, the harder the hole, the more chance you have of winning a prize. A word of advice; it does get busy on weekends, and during school holidays you will have to wait. If it isn’t your thing, there is putt-putt golf instead.
Hunter Valley girls weekend
Whether you are heading to the Hunter Valley this weekend for a girls weekend away or a hens weekend, the Hunter Valley has something for everyone. Check out if there are any special events on in hunter valley this weekend before you head there. However, in the meantime, here is a list of things you can do on your girls weekend away hunter valley.
Hunter Valley hens weekend ideas
Whether your hens weekend in the Hunter Valley consists of spa days full of relaxation, wine tours to enjoy the vineyards or to indulge in the delicious food around this region, the Hunter Valley region has everything that you desire to make this a weekend to remember.
Yes, you heard, right! We all know how much fun tasting the wine is, but have you thought about stomping the grapes with your friends on your hens night?
Why not take it to the next level and let the experts organise it for you. My ultimate hens can arrange a chauffeured limousine, organise a few winery tours, have you eating a delicious lunch and of course throw in a little grape stomping for your weekend escape Hunter Valley.
It is without a doubt the number one thing to do on the weekend in Hunter Valley! There are many ways to enjoy the experience; however, organising a private tour is by far the most convenient way to do it. By booking your private wine tour, you will take the hassle of driving out of the way, tailor it to your specific needs (guided by the professionals) and have expert commentary thrown in as well.
I had a great experience with cloud 9 tours, who were able to include in our trip was some fantastic boutique wineries that we would never have known before the trip.
Hunter Valley Scavenger Hunt
If you are wondering what to do in hunter valley this weekend with a group of hens, then try a Hunter Valley Scavenger Hunt. Ideal for small and big groups of people.
Search for clues, hunt for treasures and explore the Hunter Valley as you’ve never done before. If you are good at solving riddles, challenging yourself and of course tasting some of Hunter Valleys best produce along the way, then this is what is needed to make your weekend away in the Hunter Valley so much more memorable.
Romantic weekend Hunter Valley
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot Air Ballooning is one of the major tourist attractions in this region. There is no wonder why most people have hot air ballooning on their must-do list for their hunter valley weekend! The views are spectacular; it almost makes the cold 4 am wake up call in winter months bearable. (ALMOST).
There are only a few Hot Air Ballooning places in the Hunter Region, so you may want to book well in advance to avoid disappointment (especially on long weekends in the Hunter Valley). Most packages include a champagne breakfast, well worth the experience.
Golf weekend getaway Hunter Valley
Your weekend away Hunter Valley can not be complete without a round of golf for the golf enthusiasts. There are several golf courses, in and around this area, so you have plenty to choose from, however, like the hot air ballooning, these too have limited spaces.
There are a couple of golf courses in the Hunter region that come highly recommended. These include The Vintage Golf Club which was designed by our very own Greg Norman. Along with this beautiful 18 hole golf course, is its multi-award-winning accommodation, a perfect place to unwind.
The Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort is on the Corner McDonalds & Thompsons Roads, Pokolbin, Cessnock. With views to die for, this 18 hole golf course also boasts beautiful accommodation. It is hard not to feel relaxed here in such lovely surroundings.
Wine tour on horseback
If you are an avid horseback rider, then you may want to consider exploring this region via horseback. Why not combine two passions into one, with this unique way to spend your Hunter Valley long weekend.
Enjoy your tour with Murchessons Horseback wine and dine tours, where you have three options, Brunch Ride, the afternoon Trek or the Equine wine and dine.
Hunter Valley spa weekend
Although most arrive in Hunter Valley for the wine tasting experience, it is not uncommon to spend your time in time on a spa weekend in the Hunter Valley.
There is nothing more relaxing and romantic than experiencing absolute bliss being pampered by some of the best spas in New South Wales. Although there are many great ones to choose from, here are my two favourites.
You can choose from an extensive menu that Reflection Day Spa has to offer. You can select your own or take the thought out of it and head straight for the Half Day Heaven. Enjoy your time together in their double rooms and take your time to relax before and after the experience; it truly is heaven.
Ubika Spa is at the Crowne Plaza, so for some, staying at the resort all weekend (as there is plenty to do there) is the perfect romantic getaway. There are a few couple packages at the Ubika Spa, which makes this the best place to unwind, relax and enjoy each others company.
Recommendations in the Hunter Valley
Allendale Wines has been around since 1978 and have wineries in many areas such as Mudgee, Orange. Hilltops, Tumbarumba, Wrattonbully, Goulburn Valley, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale. You will get to sit amongst barrels in the cellar during your tasting where you will have the opportunity to sample some delicious boutique wines.
Carillion Wines ticks all the boxes. Perhaps because of its Italian grapes, possibly because of its superb customer service or probably because it is just great wine! Beautifully packaged (especially the port bottle), well priced and award-winning wine and you have my favourite vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Sit outside amongst the magnificent view, listen to your knowledgable host and taste some superb wines, what could be better than that? You can also find wineries in Orange and Wrattonbully.
Tinkler wines is a family-owned and operated award-winning winery. From fresh produce to the perfect wine, they have it all. During your wine tasting experience, you will listen to knowledgeable staff, explain the complexity of winemaking while you sit in the rustic barn and sample these delicious wines. Head outside to spectacular views of the vineyard. If you want more, then head down the road to Usher Tinkler Wines, (another family-run winery).
New to the area you will find Pokolbin Distillery (so new it doesn’t even have a website up and running), but it is worth a mention. If you love vodka, gin or liquors, then this is your type of tasting. They have a wide range of mouth-watering flavours, and although I went there purely for the gin, I have to say the liquors were by far my favourite. Pokolbin Distillery is at 2198 Broke Rd, Pokolbin.
Hunter Belle Cheese Room
Situated right next door to Linderman’s winery (now called Ben Ean as of September 1999), you will find the Hunter Belle Cheese Room. Book in for a cheese tasting and select a perfect tasty cheese that suits your pallette (which goes hand in hand with a nice glass of wine when you get home). Inside the shop, you will be served by friendly staff where you can find everything from gelato to cheese accessories.
While you are tasting the delicious cheese, why not pop over (in the same building in fact) to D’Vine Treats and try their delectable hand made chocolates. Chocolate tasting is one of my favourite things to do (anywhere) especially when the chocolates are handmade by the staff themselves.
Places to stay in Hunter Valley.
Hunter Valley is booming with great places to stay, for all types of travellers on all types of budgets. So here are a few of my recommendations.
Splurge – Kirkton Park Hunter Valley
The Kirkton Park Hunter Valley is on 70 acres of tranquil surroundings. This hotel has beautifully decorated rooms, stunning interior throughout and everything you would imagine a hotel to be like in this part of Australia. Your experience from the moment you arrive here to the moment you leave is what makes this hotel experience so unique.
Great for families – Crowne Plaza
You can not go wrong with the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, as there is plenty to do for both kids and adults. There are many facilities, including tennis courts, swimming pools and an 18 hole golf course on the premises. You have a choice of 3 bedroom villas and an assortment of rooms to accommodate your family this weekend in the Hunter Valley.
Budget – Vine Valley Inn
Vine Valley Inn is on 13 Allandale Rd, Cessnock which is only 10 minutes away from the Vineyards in the Hunter Valley. The Vine Valley Inn rooms are clean and quirky with a little bit of a homely touch. Great value for this part of the region.
Would you like to read about other weekend escapes?
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
Other things you need to know
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I/we may receive a commission at no extra cost if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my/our full disclosure for further information.
Check out my Instagram page or join the Truly Expat Facebook group.