A Weekend Away: The Hunter Valley
Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley, is your next sneaky weekend destination. Just two hours north of Sydney, and four and a half from the ACT, the valley known as wine country has so much to offer.
The valley boasts hidden gems and natural beauty that is something to behold. From the incredible award winning wineries, restaurants and cellar doors, to the small town markets giving back to the locals, this guide will provide with everything you need for your weekend away.
The trip to the Hunter Valley is easy as 1,2,3 or in this case M31, M7 and M1. Jump on the federal highway until it meets the M31, following it all the way up until it the M7, M1 and finally to Freemans Dr/B82 into Cooranbong. Follow the B82 into Cessnock and before you know it, the Hunter Valley is yours for the taking.
While the drive up to the Hunter Valley is gorgeous, it is not recommenced that you attempt the trip all in one sitting. The suggested route takes you along fantastic cafes and eateries around greater Western Sydney and the Central Coast including Bagel Bakery Cafe and The Coast Bar and Restaurant.
Stopping along the way will allow you to appreciate the drive, while also ensuring a safe and rested trip for the weekend ahead.
Dependant on your style and budget, accommodation in the Hunter Valley caters for all sorts of travellers. Whether you like to stay in style or sleep next to the heart of the vineyards, there is somewhere for you.
The Crowne Plaza is host to modern day accommodation while doubling as a premier 18-hole golf course.
Close to many popular wineries in the area, the Crowne offers shuttle tours to ensure that you make most out of your stay with them.
While the accommodation at the Crowne is on the pricier side, averaging $170 a night, the spa and pool amenities around the resort certainly make up for it.
Hunter Valley Resort – Hermitage Rd & Mistletoe Ln, Pokolbin NSW 2320
If you are looking for a much cosier setting during your Hunter Valley stay, look no further then the Hunter Valley Resort. The family owned resort is situated between an abundance of vineyards and hills.
This tranquil resort is perfect for families or couples looking to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of Canberra and relax in the well equipped cottages.
The resort offers wine-making lessons for those looking to understand how your favourite Shiraz is made. Alternatively, the cheese factory across the way is a brie-lieght, if wine making isn’t your thing.
Relatively cheaper than the Crowne, the Hunter Valley Resort offers you tranquillity rather than the high end luxury. Both offer a different yet incredible experience.
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Do not hesitate to find accommodation through AirBnB’s and motels. The resorts can be a great place to retreat during your stay, alternative accommodations like AirBnb’s can offer a personal and different perspective on the Valley, such as small cottages and farm stays that could truly enhance your weekend away.
Things to do:
Hunter Valley Golf is a scenic 18-hole championship golf course offering unparalleled natural beauty.
Based at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley, the golf course provides facilities, mentoring and events for any golf lover.
Whether you are with friends or family, this golf course provides the ideal day out over the weekend to help unwind and relax all while working on your putting game.
Enjoy a game surrounded by hills, picturesque lakes, wildlife and stunning views of the Brokenback Mountain Range.
If golf isn’t your style, the Hunter Valley offers weekend markets based at local wineries to give you the best of both worlds.
The Handmade in the Hunter Markets provide the meet the maker experience with beautiful local goodies, ranging from jams and honeys to dreamcatchers and carved timber items.
In addition, most vendors offer samples to all who are willing to try the sometimes weird and wonderful delicacy’s, like chilli honey.
You can easily find yourself traveling market to market all day, so if you are the curious type, the Handmade in the Hunter Valley Markets is the ideal activity for you!
Open every second Saturday of each month, the markets certainly bring out local culture and people from all walks of life.
If you are looking for somewhere to wind down, all while having the chance to sample the best beers, ciders, all and lagers that the Hunter Valley has to offer then the Matilda Bay Brewhouse is the place for you.
The very first boutique brewhouse in Pokolbin, Matilda Bay offers twelve craft beers for you to try, including stouts, and alcoholic ginger beers.
If beer isn’t your scene, have no fear, the Brewhouse offers chocolate, cheese and wine tasting to ensure every visitor is catered for.
Matilda Bay opens up to brilliant green acres that allow you to truly appreciate the vineyards while sipping on the best beverages that the valley.
An added bonus to the brewery, with every tasting pallet that is purchased and finished, you are entitled to one free middy of any beer, lager, ale or cider they have on tap.
Must-visit Wineries/Cellar Doors:
De Bortoli’s – 532 Wine Country Dr, Pokolbin NSW
The stone cellar door captures is eye catching with a sign that can be seen from just about anywhere in the Hunter Valley.
The very first cellar door as you enter Pokolbin, De Bortoli’s certainly does disappoint if this is your first time tasting wine.
Using a slightly different approach in regards to wine tasting, De Bortoli’s allows patrons to walk
around and choose wines to try instead tasting off of a traditional list.
This methods takes away the pressure of feeling like you have to like every wine that you taste, giving you the power to taste what you like and in your own time.
De Bortoli’s offers a wide range wines from reds to whites, ports and vodkas. If you are new to wine tasting or just want a place that does all types of wine while specialising in others, than De Bortoli’s is the cellar door for you.
Tambulaine Organic Wines – 358 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW
Specialising in purely organic wines, Tambulaine prides themselves in use only natural products and the highest quality of soils to ensure a synthetic and preservative product.
Tambulaine’s organic approach also allows them to develop and create vegan wines, one of only few wine makers in the valley that can produce such a product as the traditional creation uses egg.
The atmosphere at Tambulaine is something very natural and calm, allowing patrons to taste at their pace while enjoying the incredible greenery that surrounds them. Due to their location, Tambulaine specialises in mostly reds but do produce some sweet, crisp white wines.
The lack of preservatives brings out the rich flavours that Tambulaine creates while maintaining reasonable prices. If you tend to enjoy natural and ethical products, then Tambulaine Organic Wines is the place for you.
Wynwood Winery – 310 Oakey Creek Rd, Pokolbin NSW
Recently taken over by new owners, Wynwood Winery produce some of the best red wines in the Hunter Valley.
Known for their incredible reserve range, Wynwood work with a very small, close knit team to ensure the process of wine making is as smooth as possible.
Based on a small hill in Pokolbin, the Wynwood experience is a must for any wine lover. Allowing you taste essentially every style and wine in the range, one of the two wine makers will then take patrons on a tour, describing the history of the estate, the tools of wine making and how Wynwood came to be.
Whether you come on you own or with a group, Wynwood provides a true Hunter Valley experience.