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Be enchanted by the Hunter Valley

Countryside, Hunter ValleyCREDIT: Destination NSW

Hot air balloons flying over the Hunter Valley at sunrise.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Be enchanted by
the Hunter Valley

Countryside, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Destination NSW

Hot air balloons flying over the Hunter Valley at sunrise.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Hashtags #feelnew #feelnsw

Indulge in fine food and incredible wines, recharge at a luxury retreat and rejuvenate with bushwalks in the Hunter Valley, just two hours’ drive north of Sydney. Australia’s oldest wine-growing region, the Hunter is known for its semillon, but also produces great shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, verdelho and chardonnay. Immerse in the heart of New South Wales wine country by exploring Pokolbin, a 15-minute drive from the main town of Cessnock, before roaming the valley to discover a wealth of outdoor activities, bespoke hotels, championship golf courses and gourmet food producers. 

Cruise from vineyard to vineyard 

Cast your eye over a map of the Hunter Valley and you’ll soon see there are more cellar doors here than in than any other wine region in Australia. Vines were first planted in the area in the 1820s, and descendants of the early wine pioneers — the Drayton, Lindeman, Tyrrell, Tulloch and Wyndham families — still operate in the region.  

Start your immersion in this historic region at Pokolbin’s Brokenwood Wines cellar door, the biggest wine complex in the region. Gather around one of its circular pods for wine tastings or be inspired as you tour behind the scenes, sampling pre-release vintages straight from the barrel. 

Get your bearings and draw up a personalised hit list of boutique wineries to visit by dropping into the Wine House in Pokolbin, which showcases wines from small family-run vineyards, such as David Hook Wines and The Little Wine Company.  

Venture out to the end of the valley to taste a range of classic Hunter Valley wines as well as a French-style rosé and sparkling shiraz while soaking up the sun in the Provencal-style cellar gardens of Krinklewood Biodynamic Winery in Broke, 20 minutes from Pokolbin.  

At nearby Margan Wines and Restaurant, savour wines made from grapes grown in the Broke Fordwich region, or take the Ultimate Margan Experience for a fascinating tour of the winery, vineyard and kitchen garden, before settling in to indulge in a five-course degustation lunch featuring produce grown on the estate. 

Further discover the region’s bountiful produce and pair your wine tastings with local cheeses, charcuterie, olives and relishes at any number of wineries, including Usher Tinkler Wines. If you crave more cheese, there’s the Hunter Belle Cheese and the Smelly Cheese Shop, and for chocolates try Hunter Valley Chocolate and Cocoa Nib.  

Safely tour the local wineries by appointing a designated driver or leave your own wheels behind and join a care-free wine-tasting tour — by classic car, luxury bus, with a winemaker or even on horseback. Or give the designated driver the night off with a private evening guided tasting of eight local wines in the comfort of your own accommodation with Stay n' Sip

Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a wine tasting experience with chief winemaker Stuart Hordern at Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a wine tasting experience with chief winemaker Stuart Hordern at Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Tyrrell's, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic views across Tyrrell's vineyards in Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Tyrrell's, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic views across Tyrrell's vineyards in Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Dive into all the region offers 

There’s plenty to do and see beyond the winery cellar doors, tempting as they are. Sink into serenity as you watch the sun rise from a hot-air balloon with one of several local operators, including Beyond Ballooning, and gaze in awe at the vineyards and rolling countryside from your bird’s-eye view before enjoying a gourmet breakfast on landing. 

Borrow a bike from your host and hit the country roads that lead you from charming villages to expansive vineyards. Or recharge in nature in untouched bushland in the region’s national parks, absorbing the power of Aboriginal engravings on the Finchley cultural walk in Yengo National Park. Feel the stress slip away as you follow Gloucester Tops circuit to uncover the diversity of Barrington Tops, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the country. 

Surround yourself with a different kind of soothing landscape at one of the many championship golf courses in the valley, including the Hunter Valley Golf & Country Club, Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, The Vintage Golf Club at Chateau Elan, and an excellent nine-hole course at Branxton Golf Club, north of Cessnock. 

Connect with the local community of food producers and artisans at a wide variety of regular events across the region, including the Hunter Wine Country Markets on Saturdays, the Handmade in the Hunter Markets every second weekend, and the Wollombi Markets, which are held on the Monday of long weekends. Join in the merry-making crowd of locals during the annual Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Festival, held every May/June, and find a place to settle in on the rolling lawns of Hope Estate for weekends full of feasting, such as the new Gin and Jazz Festival and a Beer and BBQ Festival celebrating the many craft brews which have been born out of the region’s wineries, including Hope Estate’s own brewery.  

Sip fine wines and stare up at the big sky as you listen to great music at outdoor concerts held at Hunter Valley vineyards such as Bimbadgen and Roche Estate, or savour a craft beer from FogHorn Brewery while enjoying live music at The Mighty Hunter Valley beer garden.  

Combine a luxury retreat with fine dining 

After a memorable day exploring, retreat to your room to refresh and recharge for a spectacular dinner of expertly prepared local produce. Check in to an opulent spa suite or private villa at Chateau Elan, on a secluded 40-hectare property in Rothbury, a 10-minute drive from Pokolbin, and you’re steps away from the hotel’s Legends Grill restaurant, where a regularly changing menu takes you on a journey around the globe.  

Revel in the stunning backdrop of the Broken Back Range at Spicers Vineyards Estate near Pokolbin, where the guest rooms include King Spa Rooms and Luxury Spa Suites featuring open fireplaces. Reconnect with your inner circle of friends by booking out the Vineyard’s House, a private four-bedroom luxury residence with a private pool. Whichever room you choose, you can look forward to a decadent modern Australian meal of regional produce matched with local wines at the resort’s iconic Restaurant Botanica. 

Soak up a similarly spectacular view of the Broken Back Range from the seclusion of your luxury one- or two-bedroom villa at nearby Leogate Estate before strolling over to the winery’s acclaimed Gates Restaurant to pair a robust local red with a dry-aged steak, or leave the chef to delight you with a refined degustation menu. 

Beyond Ballooning, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple arriving for a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Beyond Ballooning in the Hunter Valley.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Beyond Ballooning, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple arriving for a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Beyond Ballooning in the Hunter Valley.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

The scenic grounds of Spicers Vineyards Estate, Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Pokolbin CREDIT: Destination NSW

The scenic grounds of Spicers Vineyards Estate, Pokolbin.

#feelnew #feelnsw

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