During the 1820’s, entrepreneurial enthusiasts planted the first vines in the region now known as the Hunter Valley. The area enjoyed a boom around the 1860’s but declined in flavour until a century later when, in the 1960’s New South Wales’ primary wine making region again attracted national and international attention. Today, the region is split between the Upper and the Lower Hunter. Pokolbin is the heart of the wine industry in the Lower Hunter, about 50km west of Newcastle and around 160km north of Sydney. The Upper Hunter is centred around Denman and Musswellbrook. The drive from Sydney to the Hunter takes about two and a half hours, while from Newcastle it takes about an hour to drive. Food and wine tours of the area are extremely popular with tourists and they should be at the top of the list for your Hunter Valley getaway.
Temperatures in summer rise to an average of 32 degrees in the Upper Hunter and 30 degrees in the Lower Hunter. In winter, temperatures peak at around 15 degrees but drop to two degrees at night. February generally experiences the majority of rain, while July is usually the driest month.
Music concerts surrounded by picturesque vineyards are very popular. International artists such as Elton John, Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, Cold Chisel, James Morrison, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Meat Loaf have performed in the Hunter Valley. Annual events include Jazz in the Vines and Opera in the Vineyards.
With its close proximity to Sydney, coach trips are popular to the region. If you prefer to fly the nearest airport is at Newcastle. The following airlines fly to Newcastle:
Beautiful boutique hotels and cosy B&Bs with warming fireplaces are found dotted throughout the region. Many have stunning, picturesque outlooks over the surrounding countryside that makes a stay in the area that extra bit special.
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
This is dedicated wine tasting territory and the local wineries welcome guests with an attitude-free, no pressure approach. Sample the drops, choose your favourites and purchase a case to enjoy at a later date. With so many wineries in one region, it can be a challenge to decide where to stop but that’s half the fun. Some brands you’ll recognise, other’s you won’t. We recommend exploring and see where the day takes you. For travellers who appreciate more structure, your accommodation can provide you with a map and guide you towards popular cellar doors.
For a change of pace away from the wineries, consider sky diving, taking a helicopter ride or enjoying a serene balloon safari over the beautiful countryside. Alternatively saddle up and take an exhilarating horse ride through the Molly Morgan Range where kangaroos graze in the lush grass. For sheer relaxation check in to one of the day spas and rejuvenate your mind and body.
Don’t Leave Without…
Perhaps you should leave some space in your boot for those additional cases of wine you may happen to purchase.
Things to be careful of…
Wine tasting can be great fun. But drinking and driving don’t mix. Enjoy within moderation, alternatively enjoy an organised tour and be driven in luxury from vineyard to vineyard.