Must-see destinations in the Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley, NSW

Mia Woolrich

Posted January 27, 2022


While the Hunter Valley is a world-renowned wine lovers’ destination, you’d be fooled to think that’s all that the region has to offer.

Just a two-hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley has something for every traveller, from exploring the stunning natural scenery to discovering the historic small towns, and of course, enjoying plenty of gourmet local delights along the way.

The Hunter Valley is home to over 150 wineries and a collection of quaint townships that are well worth checking out, but we’ve compiled a list of our top three must-visit destinations, and what to see, do and eat while you’re there. RACV Members also save more on amazing experiences in the Hunter Valley.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Hunter Valley.

Pokolbin

In the heart of the Hunter Valley, the township of Pokolbin is a stand-out destination for all things shopping, food, drinks and fun. Firstly, a great way to discover and support local artisans is by visiting the Handmade in the Hunter Markets.

Held a few times a month, you’ll be treated to a wide variety of quality goods that have been made, crafted and grown in the region.

Lovers of chocolate and cheese will also be treated for choice at one of Pokolbin’s many gourmet chocolate and dairy shops. If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, why not enroll in one of the town’s many cooking classes.

Whether it’s BBQ’ing, pasta making, or gourmet cooking that sparks your interest, this is the perfect place to learn some new tricks to take home.

We can’t talk about Pokolbin without mentioning its biggest drawcard - amazing wine. Some of Australia’s best-known drops are grown here, and there’s also smaller family run wineries that offer lovely cellar door tasting experiences.

Some of the bigger wineries host some incredible music events and festivals, showcasing everything from opera to hard rock, so make sure you check the local calendar to see what’s on before you go.

The natural wonderland of the Hunter Valley Gardens is also a must-do in the area. Displaying ten individually themed gardens with thousands of flowers, trees and shrubs, a wander through the tranquil grounds is a truly blissful way to spend an afternoon. 

 

Couple walking around the Hunter Valley

Spend some time visitng the gourmet shops and eateries around the Hunter Valley. Credit: Destination NSW


Lovedale

Lovedale is Pokolbin’s relaxed neighbour and is also known as the gourmet heart of the Hunter Valley.

The town is iconic for its food and wine event, the Lovedale Long Lunch, where visitors are invited to sample the creations of a top-notch line up of the Hunter Valley’s best chefs, wineries and local entertainers. Come with an empty belly and your dancing shoes on, and you’ll no doubt fall in love with Lovedale at this event.

For such a small town, Lovedale also offers visitors an array of year-round fine-dining options, many of which are located within sprawling vineyard estates. A long and lazy afternoon wining and dining at one of the vineyards is a must-do.

An exhilarating and unforgettable way to take in the beauty of Lovedale and its surrounding vineyards is from a bird’s-eye view. Book in a hot air balloon ride with one of the local operators and you will be treated to a sunrise like no other.

 

Go for a scenic horse ride. Credit: Destination NSW
Check out the stunning streetscapes in Wollombi. Credit: Destination NSW
Visit the incredible Hunter Valley gardens. Credit: Destination NSW

Wollombi

Wollombi, derived from the Aboriginal word for ‘meeting place’, is one of the Hunter Valley’s best kept secrets.

This quaint village is close to many sacred Aboriginal engraving sites that are incredibly preserved. Some of the most accessible can be found along the Finchley Cultural Walk located in the Yengo National Park.

This easy 1 km walk showcases an impressive wealth of rock art and has informative signs giving insight into the area’s Aboriginal culture.

Visitors to Wollombi will also delight in a wander through the town’s streets. There are some gorgeous well-preserved historic buildings here, so make sure you take a walk and check out the little signs with information about the historical sites.

A must-visit is the Wollombi General Store, which houses a quaint cafe and feels like a step back in time to the 1850s.

The best way to cap off a day in Wollombi is by heading up to the Finchley Trig in Yengo National Park for sunset. The viewing platform here offers breathtaking 360-degree views over the Hunter Valley bushland and Mount Yango in the distance, which is a sacred Aboriginal site. 

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