A Guide to Hunter Valley Wine Tasting and Tours

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s most famous and popular wine growing regions.

It is only a two hour drive north of Sydney, which makes it a very attractive destination for any traveller.

Hunter ValleyThere’s beauty in the Hunter Valley and surrounding Broke Mountains, there’s fine dining, world class wines, gourmet chocolate, adventures like hot air ballooning, and relaxing spa treatments and massages.

Believe it or not, there is also something there for families, as we recently discovered on our weekend family getaway to the Hunter Valley.

Beautiful gardens, mini golf, playgrounds, and family singing fun driving through the vineyards.

The Hunter Valley is a popular place for weddings, hens and bucks nights, girls getaways and male golfing weekends.

Here’s a lowdown of the different Hunter Valley wine trails you can enjoy…

Lovedale Road Trail

The Lovedale Road trail is quiet and unhurried with many boutique wineries, a chocolate factory, and fine restaurants.

Lovedale Long Lunch, an infamous day of music food and wine crawls happens in the Hunter Valley each May. This year it will be held on the weekend of May 19th and 20th.

Gartelmann’s Magpie Cafe had inexpensive, fresh, and healthy home made lunches by a pretty lake and fountain in the forest.

Hunter Valley
Magpie Cafe

We also recommend visiting Emma’s Cottage, a very small winery with an art gallery and pizza cafe attached.

Wandin Valley Estate is also named after one of Australia’s most famous TV shows from the eighties; the writer producer once owned the vineyard. We scored a carton of 12 bottles of shiraz for $50 here on sale. And it’s good too!

Pokolbin Road Trail

If you want to avoid the hens and bucks parties then do not go down this Pokolbin Road in the Hunter Valley.

If you like buzz, big name vineyards, and elbowing people away at the wine tasting bar then this is the road for you. The most popular road in the region filled with the biggest names in Australian wine like Lindemans and Rosemount.

Pokolbin Road is the heart of the Hunter Valley, the place where it all began.

Our picks are Tempus Two, Tyrell’s, McGuigan Brothers and Harrigan’s Irish Pub for lunch.

Mount View Trail

The place for spectacular views of the valley with very little traffic. Drive up to Bimbadeen Lookout for spectacular views of the Valley and the Brokenback Range.

Toyota Camry Atara in the Hunter Valley

Check out Tallevera Grove. The verandah overlooking the Mount View Valley and vineyards looks a beautiful setting for lunch.

Then of course at the bottom of the drive you need to stop into Savannah Estate. Not only does boasts our daughter’s name, but it has really great wine as well.

Hunter Valley
Savannah Estate

Other Things to See and Do in the Hunter Valley

Wine Tours

Unless you have a driver who is happy to escort you while you spend the day tasting glasses of Semillon, Shiraz and Verdelho that the region is famous for, we would suggest joining a wine tour.

That means you are free to taste and not worry about limitations and responsibilities. We cannot recommend any tour companies but you can look at the Hunter Valley website for suggestions.

Hunter Valley Gardens

Situated along Broke Road on the Pokolbin trail, the Hunter Valley Gardens is a peaceful place to retreat.

There are the beautiful formal gardens you can wander around for a price of $20 (ouch) or you can bring your own picnic and enjoy the free park across the lake. There’s mini golf, aqua golf and a quaint village where you can dine out or shop at boutique stores.

Hunter Valley Gardens
Aqua golf

A Day on the Green

Keep your eyes and ears out for the summer outdoor concerts that happen in the Hunter Valley every year. What better way to enjoy the valley and the wines then sitting on a picnic blanket listening to artists like Elton John and Sting.

Keep an eye on the Day on the Green website for upcoming artists.

Visit a Brewery

We have been so focused on wine every time we come here we are yet to visit a brewery. We have heard all great things about the boutique beers that are brewed in the region.

Check out Potters Brewery, Hunter Beer and the Blue Tongue Lizard Brewery, which is more mainstream beer.

Cheese, Chocolate and Gourmet Food

As well as wine and beer there is also locally made produce for you to sample and buy. Olive oils, marinades, cheeses, and chocolates  can all be found in small stores or in the vineyards themselves.

I really enjoyed trying chili chocolate for the first time!

Places to Stay

There are not many budget style accommodations in the Hunter Region but you can find some in the nearby town of Cessnock. There is a Hunter Valley YHA backpackers who can also organize wine tasting tours.

We recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza, and if you want to splurge and have a bit of luxury this is the place to go. One of the nicest resorts I’ve stayed in. If you get a group of you and hire out a villa you will reduce your costs. It is also a golfing resort.

Crowne Plaza Hunter valley
Breakfast views at Crowne Plaza
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Crowne Plaza

16 thoughts on “A Guide to Hunter Valley Wine Tasting and Tours”

  1. Your children always look happy. Always. I am excited to be in Australia and I will definitely be hitting up some wine spots!
    I’ve never done a wine tour- when I lived in California we would drive to Napa on our own- but it does sound like a good idea.

  2. Love it! Can’t wait to visit some of the places you mention. A whole new area for us to explore. How great that Savannah has wine named after her already 🙂

    1. Hey Johanna,

      Hope you make it there soon! And in case you didn’t know, we stumbled on “Kalyra’s” name at a winery in Santa Barbara. Two Aussies own the vineyard called “Kalyra Winery” 🙂

  3. california shuttle bus guy

    Absolutely gorgeous. It really seems like a great place to take the family. I will be taking a vacation there in August and might visit Hunter Valley!

  4. Hi – great comments, but such a shame that a travel blogger only thought of staying somewhere so boring as the Crowne Plaza. Do you know that their rooms are exactly the same as many other Crowne Plaza rooms around the world? Not much point is being in the Hunter Valley!

    There are heaps of gorgeous little cabins and cottages nestled in vineyards which are much cheaper and a whole lot better than a chain hotel.(Especially with kids). And you can actually get to meet the grape growers and really know what the Hunter Valley is all about. Even have kangaroos grazing out your window in the morning!
    Just try the main tourist office at http://www.winecountry.com.au and they can point anyone in the right direction.

    1. Thanks for sharing Ellis. I wouldn’t say the Crowne is boring at all. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. What constitutes good and boring is very subjective so an opening statement like that is not really one that is going to make people want to listen to you. it’s kind of rude. Shame because your recommendation sounds great and something we’d like to do.

  5. Wine Tasting long island tours

    Its really great post with beautiful pic. There are quite a few spots.I should really make a list with referrals.

  6. Excellent blog, fantastic photos. We are grey nomads who’ve just returned from 13 months around Australia, excluding Qld because we often go there, and very little of Victoria, same reason. 8 months in WA so saw most things there.

    I’d like to suggest you see more of the Hunter, there’s a lot more to it than wineries. Great beaches in Newcastle, a bit storm ravaged at the moment but it will fix itself up, and Lake Macquarie is lovely. We had beaches, mountains and wineries all within half an hour’s drive. And only an hour to the outskirts of Sydney.

    Otherwise, well done, a wonderful experience for all of you.

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