Boasting rolling hills and world-renowned wineries, the Hunter Valley is fast becoming one of Australia’s top destinations. A food lover’s paradise, this rural oasis has oodles to offer smitten couples or city folk needing a breath of fresh air – literally.
Just a few hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is home to spectacular rural scenery and breathtaking national parks. Those truly taken with the captivating landscape can float serenely over lush green fields in a hot air balloon or go horse back through the rugged Australian countryside.
Sampling the region’s famed nectar will be a highlight and there’s an impressive range of restaurants that serve sumptuous local cuisine. With lavish day spas, championship golf courses and an assortment of boutique accommodation at your fingertips, an escape to the Hunter Valley is guaranteed to invigorate the soul, reenergize the mind and satisfy the stomach.
What to see and do
Tempt the tastebuds with more than 150 excellent wineries, vineyards and cellar doors. Embarking on a winery tour is a popular activity for thirsty visitors and one you are bound to enjoy. Many guided tours will take you to a selection of premier wineries for enticing taste testings or you could choose to go at your own pace.
In addition to the collection of superb restaurants and cafes, food enthusiasts must check out the weekend farmer’s markets which offer the chance to pack gourmet goods in your suitcase. From artisan cheeses to handmade condiments and jams, you will find the freshest local produce on display.
Appreciate the region’s natural beauty by taking a helicopter flight at sunrise. Capture a bird’s eye view as you fly over olive groves and vibrant patchwork vineyards before completing your adventure with a special bubbly breakfast.
Nature enthusiasts will be pleased by the array of national parks and state forests in the area. Pack a picnic and set off on a hiking adventure through the rugged bushland or go exploring on two wheels. Admire the local wildlife, from kangaroos and koalas to a variety of beautiful birds.
The tranquil natural setting of the Hunter Valley makes for the perfect place to relax and unwind. Day spas are dotted throughout the region offering a wide variety of wellness treatments and luxurious facilities. From hot stone therapy and pedicures to salt water hot tubs and saunas, you will be pampered in the most beautiful surrounds.
Golf aficionados will be able to practise their swing, with a selection of stunning golf courses. Breathe in the invigorating country air and admire the Brokenback Mountain ranges at the world class Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club. On the other hand, the tree-lined fairways of the championship Vintage Golf Course were designed by world renowned golfer, Greg Norman.
Where to stay
The winding countryside of the Hunter Valley is home to an abundance of accommodation, from luxury high-end villas to budget friendly caravan parks. Sprawling hillside retreats are common, most of which are just a stone’s throw from some of Australia’s finest wineries. However you envisage your romantic getaway, there will a hotel, cabin or cottage to suit.
Considered a luxury destination, the Hunter Valley has ample accommodation for those seeking a glamorous getaway. Retreat to a boutique hotel or five star spa resort for a taste of the high life, complete with in room spas, open fireplaces and gorgeous vineyard views.
Embrace a slower pace of life, away from the hustle and bustle of city life with a farm stay. Many magnificent properties in the Hunter Valley welcome guests with private cottages or bed and breakfast arrangements. A chic rustic getaway, you can make yourself at home in the heart of the Australian rainforest.
Don’t mistake the glorious surrounds for being a pricey destination. Penny pinchers can still have a wonderful escape in the Hunter Valley by choosing to go camping or hire a caravan. There are also eco cabins for hire that deliver a comfortable stay at a fraction of the price, while affordable motels are also an option.
Food and wine
Widely touted as a food lover’s paradise, the Hunter Valley is teeming with world class wineries and exceptional restaurants. Tourists from near and far flock to indulge in the region’s fabulous fare. Whether you choose a casual pub, a steakhouse, modern bistro or an elegant fine dining experience, you are sure to be satisfied.
Keep your eye out for the region’s most popular varieties of wine. The Hunter Valley Semillon is a dry white featuring toasty vanilla and honey flavours, while the chardonnay is sure to please with its sweet peaches and cream notes. However you prefer your tipple, you will be pleasantly surprised by the top-notch beverages at the ready.
Meanwhile, the perfect accompaniment to your glass of chardonnay will be a plate of freshly cooked local produce. The Hunter Valley’s burgeoning restaurant scene will curb any craving, with a delectable mix of seasonal dishes, all designed to showcase regional specialities.
Those particularly taken with the exemplary cuisine can test their skills at one of the local cooking schools. A hands-on experience, you will learn how to prepare a feast from scratch by expert chefs using organic produce. Afterwards, you can devour your beautifully prepared meal with a glass of wine alongside budding chefs.
The cost of a Hunter Valley holiday will depend on your style of travel. A room in a five star hotel won’t be cheap but the spectacular views will be worth every penny. If you are a casual camper, you can choose to rough it in the wilderness and spend your coin on fine dining experiences instead. A hike through the magnificent national parks won’t cost a cent, while a scenic helicopter flight could be rather pricey.
All in all, you can make your budget work for you. Prioritise what’s important and know that regardless of the price you pay, this will be one holiday where you won’t return home hungry.