Travel plan: 5 Days in Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley is a coastal region of New South Wales, comprising of a mixture of big cities and small towns, all of which have something to offer visitors. While the renowned Hunter Valley vineyards are what put the area on the map, travellers are also drawn to the region for the stunning scenery, white sandy beaches and a chance to view nature in all its glory. In fact, with an estimated 2.5 million tourists visiting Hunter Valley each year, the region is the 6th most popular vacation destination in all of Australia.

With tiny mining towns such as Singleton showcasing the Hunter Valley history, and large cities such as Newcastle bringing a more modern and cosmopolitan aspect, trying to find a way to see everything can be a nightmare. If you’re short of time, you may need to pick just a handful of Hunter Valley highlights. This 5 day itinerary combines small town charm, big city excitement and, of course, a look at the famous Hunter Valley vineyards, which no trip is complete without.

Day 1: Relax on the beach

You’re probably ready and raring to go upon arrival, but a relaxing first day is a great start to any vacation. Spend an afternoon by the sea, it’s quite the contrast to the lush green Hunter Valley vineyards and farmland that occupy most of the region.

If you’ve arrived into Newcastle, the beaches there are a good place to start. Caves Beach is ideal for enjoying the sea views with a bit of privacy. The beach is lined with gigantic rock formations which form caves large enough for sitting and enjoying a picnic. If you’re travelling with children, Bar Beach is a good choice due to its rock pools and sand that lends itself to sandcastle building. You may wish to check out the beaches in nearby Port Stephens for the best surfing conditions, particularly One Mile Beach.

Day 2: Sample the local wines

Face it, the real reason you’ve travelled to the region is to visit the Hunter Valley vineyards and taste some of the local offerings, and who’d blame you? Wine making is big business in Hunter Valley, and it’s one of Australia’s biggest producers of both red and white wines.

The area of Pokolbin, just outside Cessnock, is a popular place for wine lovers. It’s here that you can visit Audrey Wilkinson, one of the oldest Hunter Valley vineyards, having been producing wine since 1866. This vineyard has a huge variety of wines on offer, but really specializes in Chardonnays, Semillons and Merlots. You can also take a tour of Hunter Valley vineyards with a number of tour companies such as Vineyard Tours and Boutique Wines Tours. If you’re in the Pokolbin area in October, be sure to buy tickets to Jazz in the Vines; an annual event combining the chilled out sounds of jazz with the smooth tastes of wines from the local Hunter Valley vineyards.

Day 3: Enjoy the views

Pokolbin is about more than just the wines, it’s also a place to gain incredible views over the entire Hunter Valley region. If you love to see sights from a unique perspective, and aren’t afraid of heights, why not book a hot air balloon flight?

Balloon Aloft and Hunter Valley Ballooning are just two of a number of hot air balloon companies that have a base in Pokolbin. It’s an ideal spot, as visitors can soar up high above the Hunter Valley vineyards and the area is close to the Aberdare, Watagan, Corrabare and Pokolbin state forests, as well as the Werakata National Park so fantastic views are guaranteed. Choose a flight that includes a glass of wine direct from the Hunter Valley vineyards below. If you prefer to stay on the ground, head to Nobbys Head at Newcastle and take in the great views from the lighthouse, or perhaps venture over to Mount View (set in the surroundings of the Brokenback Range) and go to Bistro Molines, just one of the Hunter Valley restaurants complete with culinary excellence and stunning views.

Day 4: Marvel at nature

The coastal location of Hunter Valley makes is the perfect spot for viewing marine life. The great thing is, it really doesn’t matter what time of year you visit Hunter Valley, as dolphins can be seen during the winter (Australian summer) months, and whales can be seen during the other months.

Many cruises operate out of Port Stephens, such as Imagine Cruises and Moonshadow, while some also offer sailings from Newcastle harbour at certain times of the year. Vessels are usually fitted with underwater cameras as well as open topped decks so you can really get the best views from all angles. Many cruise operators in Hunter Valley boast a 99% success rate in terms of sightings, so hopefully you should spot a few mammals. Just be sure to take your camera!

Day 5: Pick up some souvenirs

If you’re leaving Hunter Valley today, make sure you take a few reminders of your trip home with you, along with some gifts for family and friends of course. Hunter Valley offers some very unique shopping experiences, and visitors may be amazed at the variety of items they can pick up here.

If you’ve not got far to travel, grab a few bits of the local Hunter Valley produce to enjoy back at home. The Newcastle City Farmers Market displays seasonal fruit and veg, freshly baked breads, and locally grown herbs and cheeses amongst much more. Alternatively, stop by Roberts Meats who have won multiple awards and are considered one of the best sausage sellers in the region. Of course, you absolutely cannot leave the region without picking up a bottle of your favourite local wine. Most of the Hunter Valley vineyards offer cellar door sales, where you can purchase bottles directly from the winery. There’s no better souvenir to take away from Hunter Valley.

See also: Visiting the land of Robin Hood

Filed Under: Travel plans

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.