The Top Things to do in the Hunter Valley

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Looking for all the top things to do in NSW's popular wine region, the Hunter Valley? Browse our range of tours and activities here! One of Australia's most acclaimed wine and culinary destinations, and all within easy day trip reach of Sydney, the Hunter Valley offers a blend of indulgence for your palate with opportunities for some laid-back and relaxed sightseeing. Take a wine tour to one of the many acclaimed cellar doors in the region to sample some top drops for yourself, soar over the picturesque patchwork landscape in a hot air balloon, and much more.

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About the Hunter Valley

Widely renowned as one of Australia's premier wine regions, the Hunter Valley has more to offer the aspiring traveller than merely the bounty of the grape; it's a picturesque region in its own right, with a patchwork tapestry of field-and-valley scenery that's a joy to explore. Located within an easily reachable distance from NSW capital Sydney, the Hunter Valley is thus a favoured getaway destination from residents of the city looking to indulge in both visual and taste delights, and with its numerous high quality gourmet options for both food and wine, it's not hard to see why.

The Hunter Valley is a wine aficionado's dream, as it's home to over 90 wineries and cellar doors specialising in producing the likes of Semillon, Chardonnay, Chiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir that rank among the best in Australia. Its food also warrants a special mention, as the Hunter Valley is home to some of the finest restaurants outside of the Sydney CBD, many of which take advantage of utilising the famously fresh and high quality produce created in the region to make for some truly spectacular dishes.

Those travelling to the Hunter for its scenery will not be disappointed, either; there's abundant nature to be explore on both foot and wheel, including the extensive rainforest terrain of the Barrington Tops National Park, the gorgeous waters of Lake St. Clair which serve as an ideal picnic spot, and the charming mixture of both farm-and-market of the Upper Hunter. Explore it all by bike, guided tour, or soar above the landscape in a hot air balloon - the choice is yours. In all, this is one of Australia's most romantic destinations and an idyllic escape from urban life.

Top 10 Things to do in - Hunter Valley and surrounds

Hunter Valley Gardens
Winery Tour
Maitland Gaol
Hot Air Ballooning
The Australian Army Infantry Museum
Audrey Wilkinson Wines
Scenic Flight
Small Winemakers Centre
Lake St. Clair

1. Wander around the Hunter Valley Gardens

Location:Pokolbin, Hunter Valley

Making for one of the more refreshing breaks from the typical winery offerings of the Hunter Valley, this outstanding collection of diverse, themed gardens is one of the signature attractions of regional New South Wales. Set out over an area of an expansive 60 acres (making them the largest of their kind in Australia), the Hunter Valley Gardens are a diverse showcase of botanic beauty with motifs that run the gamut from the Oriental to the European to the tropical and everywhere in between.

2. Take a winery tour

Location:Various locations

The Hunter Valley simply wouldn’t be the Hunter Valley without its diverse array of wine offerings, with it serving as the obvious main drawcard to the region for the majority of visitors from afar. As a result, most will want to visit at least one winery during their time in the Hunter, if not several; there’s over 150 from which to choose, and finding your own preferred mixture of setting, vintage and flavour is one of the most appealing parts of a trip here.

3. Visit Maitland Gaol

Location:Maitland, Hunter Valley

This historic prison encompasses over 150 years’ worth of criminal history and offers some harrowing insight into the often harsh conditions that its inmates were exposed to throughout the duration of its operation, which ceased relatively recently in the 1990’s. Visitors to the Gaol can take part in a variety of tours to soak in its tumultuous history – which come in both accompanied and self-guided form – while there are also options designed to cater specifically to children as well.

4. Go hot air ballooning


Hot air ballooning is an inherently tranquil activity in and of itself, but blend it with the verdant scenery of the Hunter Valley region, and you’ve got a venue that’s conducive to a picturesque aerial adventure. The valley’s rolling hills and expansive vineyards form an idyllic backdrop to the serenity of floating peacefully through the air at several thousand feet.

5. Visit The Australian Army Infantry Museum

Location:Singleton military barracks, Hunter Valley

One of the country’s most extensive displays of Australian wartime memorabilia – as well as an excellent tribute to our dedicated service people – the Australian Army Infantry Museum in the military barracks of Singleton allows visitors to immerse themselves in the often trying trials of those who have participated in wartime conflicts throughout our country’s history.

6. Indulge at Audrey Wilkinson Wines

Location:Pokolbin, Hunter Valley

While it’s obviously the wine that draws most people to any individual cellar door, there’s something to be said in the overall package in which it comes wrapped and it’s in this sense that Audrey Wilkinson Wines is nothing short of a premium overall offering. One of the Hunter Valley’s – and Australia’s – oldest vineyards, it’s a historic venue with a strong and consistent legacy of quality winemaking, coupling wonderful wines that are hard to beat with gorgeous scenery to form an incredibly satisfying overall experience.

7. Take a Scenic Flight with Slattery

Location:Various locations

The Hunter Valley has long been a getaway destination for romantic and special occasions – it’s possibly NSW’s most popular region for the likes of anniversaries, engagements and other such cosy affairs – and as such a number of its main experiences tie in well to this kind of one-off celebration. One of the chief among these is scenic flights, which offer an alternative way to view the region’s verdant landscape coupled with a dose of exclusivity and a certain rock star type feel to boot – swooping your way down onto the grassed landing areas of wineries is something that feels like only CEOs should typically experience.

8. Visit the Small Winemakers Centre

Location:Pokolbin, Hunter Valley

Those first-time visitors to the Hunter Valley who are unsure how to determine which individual winery is best suited to them would be well served by first stopping by this lovely amalgamation of winemakers both large and small. The Small Winemakers Centre is a combination of multiple wineries all in one central location, the sum of which provides visitors with the chance to sample the Hunter’s largest array of wines without having to travel further afield.

9. Play a round at The Vintage

Location:Cessnock, Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is something of a hotspot for golfing enthusiasts, with a number of quality courses all calling the region home, however, few can compare with the prestige feel and seamless integration into the Hunter Valley’s environment that Greg Norman-designed The Vintage offers. It’s obvious that an effort has been made to capitalise on the inherent beauty of the mountain-and-vineyard setting, which is augmented by a course that comes with some great variation in both hole construction and layout.

10. Relax at Lake St. Clair

Location:25km from Singleton, Hunter Valley

Not to be confused with its similarly-titled brother down south in Tasmania, the Hunter Valley’s Lake St. Clair is far from an alpine environment and instead serves as one of the region’s premier picnic spots. The lake lies around 30 minutes drive from the town of Singleton, and has long served as a go-to place for locals as a hotspot for various outdoor activities including camping, sailing, boating, waterskiing and various other leisurely pursuits.