Guide to the Hunter Valley

By Katherine Sparshatt,

Grab a glass and join us in the Hunter region, notorious for its acres of vineyards producing some of the best Australian wines. So if you are partial to a drop of Shiraz or a large gulp of Semillon, accompanied by gourmet food and fabulous views, then a getaway to Hunter may be just up your street.

Rothbury in the Hunter Valley has this year received the accolade of Top Destination in New South Wales in our trivago Reputation Rankings of 2015. Rothbury was closely followed by Lovedale and Pokolbin in second and third place as the destinations receiving the highest user ratings in New South Wales.

See & Do | EatDrink | Sleep

See & Do

The Hunter Valley offers a wealth of activities, whether it’s staggering from vineyard to vineyard on your fourth wine tasting of the day, cycling down Deadman’s Mountain, or simply lounging in the spa.

Two Fat Blokes Wine Tours

Humorous and knowledgeable, sign up for a tour with Two Fat Blokes and you will spend the day snorting into your glass or spraying the air with cheese, as they regale you with tales from the grapevine. The tastings typically take in various wines and selections of cheeses at different vineyards scattered along the valley.

Reflections Day Spa

If drinking wine all day is not your thing, or if you’re in need of some recovery and a detox, then why not book yourself into the Reflections Day Spa. Based at the Adina Vineyard, you can enjoy a relaxing few hours with a massage, beauty treatment or one of their special pamper packages.

Deadman’s Mountain Bike Loop

This 8-kilometre bike loop takes in some of the bushland of the Hunter region, and is a relatively relaxed and easy route making it a great activity the whole family can enjoy. The trail can also be made on foot or on horseback and don’t forget to take your binoculars to do a spot of bird watching.

Balloon Aloft

Balloon Aloft is the award-winning hot air balloon company that take to the skies at dawn across the picturesque Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury and Broke wine regions. The flight lasts around an hour and is followed by a gourmet breakfast and celebratory glass of bubbly at the Peterson Winery.

Eat

Mojos

Nestled in the heart of Lovedale in the Hunter Valley, Mojos is run by Michelin-starred chef Adam and his equally talented wife Ros. Serving up wholesome European cuisine from fresh and locally produced ingredients, it’s definitely a treat for your taste buds.

Emerson’s Cafe and Restaurant

This multi-award winning restaurant has recently relocated to the lovely Adina Vineyard where it enjoys an onsite cellar door and fabulous views over the surrounding vines. Eat contemporary modern Australian cuisine al fresco on the Veranda or opt for the popular eight course degustation menu.

Drink

All the Shiraz, Semillon, Merlot and Chardonnay you could possibly want in one valley.

Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard

Widely regarded as the first vineyard in the Pokolbin area, the Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard was first planted in 1866, by a 15 year old named Audrey. Audrey took his seat as head of the family and with an incredible sense of taste built the vineyard into what it is today.

audrey Wilkinson Vineyard

Photo by Taz (CC BY 2.0)

Sandalyn Wilderness Estate

Based in Lovedale in the Hunter Valley, Sandalyn Wilderness Estate is a great stop on your extensive wine tour and if you fancy flexing your culinary muscles they offer pasta and sushi making classes too. The views from the vineyard cover the Watagan, Brokenback and Molly Morgan ranges.

St Clements Estate

Produced from grapes hand-picked on the estate in Red Hill, the first wine to be bottled on the estate was a Semillion in 2005. Since then St Clements has grown and so has its repertoire to include Merlot, Rosé, Semillon, Shiraz and Verdelho.

Sleep

Our top three hotels in the region offer luxury comforts with old world charm.

Spicers Vineyards Estate – Pokolbinspicers vineyard 

Every one of the 12 luxurious guest rooms on the Spicers Vineyard Estate come with en-suite spa baths, open wood-burning fireplaces and views over the private vineyard to the mountains behind. There is a day spa on site, offering luxury treatments and a relaxing pool terrace.

Here’s what the reviews had to say about New South Wales’ Top Hotel:

“We have stayed at places all over the world and the service at Spicers was the best we have ever encountered. We thought it was good last year, but they have upped their game this year. It was the little surprises which make it so special.Christine, Sydney.

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Thistle Hill Guest House – Pokolbin

Set on 25 acres of land with accommodation options covering parties of two to 18 guests, Thistle Hill Guest House is the perfect retreat from the world. Relax in one of the rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and a gourmet breakfast included. Or, rent out the luxurious Lavender Cottage, complete with a cosy log fire, private barbeque and outdoor dining area overlooking the vineyard.

One enthusiastic reviewer was particularly impressed with the breakfast “oh my goodness, be prepared to roll out of the breakfast room” and the quality of the rooms, “The beds are cozy, pillows comfortable & the rooms quiet.”

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Vine Valley Inn – Cessnock

Vine Valley Inn

Reopened in 2013, Vine Valley Inn has 13 comfortable rooms available, including large family rooms and twin rooms. There is plenty of off-street parking plus shops, supermarkets and farmers markets all in walking distance. The hotel is also ideally located for easy access to the vineyards as well as a variety of sporting activities, including the Hunter Valley’s newest 18 hole golf course.

The reviews all say the same thing, don’t judge a book by its cover because the interior far outdoes the exterior; Looks a little odd from the outside, but once inside the decor and hospitality were perfect. Fitted with all amazing furniture and collectibles that brought back wonderful memories of childhood of visiting grandparents.” SJE, Canada.

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Let us know your tips for visiting the Hunter Valley in the comments below!