It is not debatable to say that Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. No one could also dispute the fact that it is a popular tourist destination near Sydney. Debates arise, however, when it comes to the fun activities to do in this premier wine region.
Since Hunter Valley is known for its wines, the first thing that pops up must be the wineries, vineyards, and wine tours. But there are also places to explore and other fun things to do in the region. Also, it’s not only the wine that gives you a booze, Hunter Valley brews beers and distils spirits, too.
An hour or less of motoring from Sydney, you can experience the charm and allure of Hunter Valley. It’s going to be an unforgettable one. That is guaranteed.
Two major activities you can enjoy in the region — the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. The non-alcoholic would be a tour to some quaint places like gardens, lake, or golf course. The alcoholic involves wine tours and boozing with beer, vodka, and other spirits.
The non-alcoholic tour
Let me start with a tour where you can avoid alcohol intake if you wished to.
You can visit the Hunter Valley Gardens that showcases an impressive landscape. This 60-acre estate of themed gardens also boasts of a spectacular floral display. The beauty of Hunter Valley Gardens remained unmatched in the region.
The next quaint destination provides a relaxing, calm, and serene scenery — Lake St. Clair. A family picnic by the lakeside would let you feel the stillness of the place. At Lake St. Claire you will experience an idyllic and tranquil countryside. A picnic area and a camping site with facilities including barbecues, hot showers, and toilets are available for public use. There are also aquatic activities you can enjoy such as fishing, boating, waterskiing, and sailing.
Also in Singleton, the Australian Army Infantry Museum is open for visitors. Kids would love to learn about the wars Australia had been involved in. The museum showcases wartime memorabilia. We could always learn from museums about the past. In this museum, we could also learn about the futility of all wars.
You can tee before tea at The Vintage in Cessnock. This topnotch upmarket golf course is one of Australia’s best. Try hitting a birdie if not an eagle.
An aerial adventure with your partner would be a very romantic thing to do. You can view the Hunter Valley from up above on a helicopter. A cheaper alternative to a chopper flight is hot air balloon. The panoramic views of the region’s landscapes would give you a sense of awe and wonder. Simply spectacular!
The alcoholic tour
Let’s start with the wineries. Hunter Valley has more than 120 cellar doors to choose from and it would take a little longer to visit them all. If you do, you could become an alcoholic just by tasting every wine of every winery in the region. It is not recommended though but for the sake of fun, and if you’re desperate enough, then try a glass of each wine.
The latest full list of Hunter Valley’s cellar doors is available here and also here.
Big winery names include Audrey Wilkinson, Bimbadgen, De Bortoli, Scarborough, and Tempus Two. Then there’s Tyrell’s, Pepper Tree, and many more. Smaller and little-known wineries are worth exploring. They offer a more specialised style of wine-making. Experience the charm and the magic wine can bring to your senses.
The highly specialised wine in the region is Semillon. It emerged as Hunter Valley’s iconic wine variety that is a uniquely Australian concoction. Other wine varieties include the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Verdelho, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, and many other fancier ones.
Aside from wines, there are other spirits lurking in the valley. I’m not talking about ghouls and souls. I’m talking about the distilled spirits of Hunter Valley – vodka, schnapps, liqueurs, and brandy. Hunter Valley Distillery produces vodka, liqueurs and schnapps while Millbrook Estate produces brandy.
If wine is too fancy for you or the spirits too strong, try some craft beer. Aussies love their beer, and they drink beer the Aussie way. Visit a local bar, pop some crowns, and have a chat with a local, you sure have a long conversation. You could talk with your new mate about anything under the sun with distinctively Aussie humour. Hunter Valley brews some Australian beer, too. You can visit Hunter Beer Co., The Lovedale, Hope Brewhouse, and IronBark Hill Brewhouse.
You can shop for wine, spirits, and beer. A bottle each from every cellar door, distillery, or brewhouse you sure have more than enough a supply of alcohol for the entire year. Only that you have to make sure your liver can process all your alcohol intake. But if you’re only after the fun of tasting the alcoholic beverages of the valley, just prepare some dollars for the fees.
Choosing the alcoholic tour entails you have to make sure you don’t drive, or you get arrested by the traffic officer. Autopia Tours facilitates wine and dine tours to Hunter Valley. Booking a tour would spare you from unnecessary complications associated with drunk-driving. If you could avoid arrest, accidents would not spare you. Heck, we’re talking about human lives here! Be extra careful.
There are many things to do and more places of interest to explore in the Hunter Valley. And one more thing, catch the annual jazz festival this year and feel the spirit of the place with music — with jazz and booze.
Enjoy your trip to the Hunter Valley!