Enjoy a hike through the lush National Parks
The landscape changes to unspoiled bushland just on the edge. The Watagans National Park lies to the south of the Hunter Valley. Here, towering Illawarra and red cedar trees create a shady canopy over quiet walking paths. The park is a part of the Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle, built in 1988 to commemorate the Bicentennial. This section is for experienced hikers and offers spectacular views and a variety of birdlife.
Yengo National Park is located to the southwest. It’s a remote wilderness with ancient Aboriginal sites and mountain biking trails. There’s also a section built by convicts, the Old Great North Road. The 6km Yango Walking Track is a fire trail that runs through a pristine forest. Look out for rare velvet wattle. Mount Royal National Park lies around 50km north of Singleton and is part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest of Australia. The park is free from tourists and offers walks for people of all fitness levels.
Horseback riding through vineyards and bushland
Explore the valley by horseback. Hunter Valley Horse Riding offers trail rides on their 300-acre property located in the Molly Morgan Range. The views are breathtaking, with kangaroos, wedge-tailed Eagles, wombats, and possums all visible. Chapman Valley Horse Riding takes riders on horseback through the remote bushland of Howes Valley. It is located about an hour away from Pokolbin. The options are available for all riders, including beginners and experts.
Segway Stock Route: Explore the route with a Segway
Segway is a self-balancing, two-wheeled vehicle that allows you to travel around the Hunter Valley uniquely and excitingly. NSW Segway Tours will take you on a 5.5km trail along an old stock route dating back to the 1880s. You’ll pass the McGuigan Vineyard and the Hunter Bottling Plant. This is a great ride for families with children over the age of 11.
View the Hunter Valley in a bird’s eye view.
From above, you’ll have a whole new perspective of the Hunter Valley. Hot air ballooning at sunrise is a spectacular way to see the vineyards. You’ll be floating above rows of vines and pockets of farmland, with tiny cottages scattered in between. Flights with Baloon Aloft or Beyond ballooning end with a champagne brunch to set the mood before a day of tasting wine. Aero Logistics Helicopters or Hunter Valley Helicopters offer a faster heli wine tour that will take you between vineyards.
Swing on the golf course.
The Hunter Valley is home to some of Australia’s most prestigious golf resorts. They offer luxury accommodations and fairways, all in Australia’s oldest wine-producing region. The Vintage Golf Club is located in Rothbury and features a Greg Norman-designed championship course that is beautifully situated alongside wetlands, vineyards, and eucalyptus trees. The club is located on the grounds of the luxury resort Chateau Elan. Richard Mercer Golf Academy offers golf lessons to help you improve your swing.
Hunter Valley Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course, is located on the grounds of Rydges Resort Hunter Valley in Lovedale. The Steve Smyers-designed Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club is located in Pokolbin and offers stunning views of the Brokenback Range and vineyards. It sits right next to the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort. Easts Leisure, an 18-hole golf course, is located in Maitland. There are also nine-hole courses available at Branxton Golf Club. Paterson Golf Club. And Singleton Golf Club.
Go cheese & chocolate tasting.
The Hunter Valley is known for its cheese and chocolate exports. Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop is available in two locations – Pokolbin Village and Roche Estate. The shops are both stocked with a wide variety of cheeses from around the world, including local favorites. They even offer a walk-in fromagerie to give you a full dairy experience. The Hunter Valley Cheese Factory offers daily tasting sessions for cheese, olives, and preserves. They also provide cheesemaking classes if you’d like to learn to make it yourself. Binnorie Dairy provides a cafe and cheese shop where you can enjoy their best bites.
Hunter Valley Chocolate Company offers a wide range of sweet treats, including chocolate bars, chocolate barks, candy, fudge, and gelato. Keith Tulloch wines are where you’ll find artisans from Cocoa Nb making their delicate French couverture. You can find out what chocolates pair best with semillon and shiraz by participating in a custom wine tasting. Glandore Estate offers wine and chocolate pairings with Adora truffles.
Arts & Culture Fix
Hunter Valley is home to a thriving artistic scene and several quirky museums. Watershed Gallery, Pokolbin, has a selection of rotating works by local artists. You can take a short break from wine tasting to explore the gallery located at the cellar door or the statues scattered throughout the grounds. Follow the Hunter Valley Sculpture Walk, starting at the Vamp by Lisa McGuigan winery door. On Saturdays, guided tours and wine tastings are offered.
The Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre, a $4 million facility that opened in 2022, features a gallery with state-of-the-art technology and two artist workshops. It also has a sculpture park. The Hunter Valley and Singleton are home to a number of impressive visiting exhibitions. The fascinating Australian Army Infantry Museum is located just outside Singleton. The museum’s collection includes infantry from precolonial times to World War I and World War II and the experiences of modern soldiers.
Discover the local Aboriginal heritage.
The Hunter Valley has been home to indigenous people for thousands of years. There is still a strong link with this ancient culture. You can learn more on a tour of Yengo National Park, along the Finchley Cultural Walk and Girri Girra Aboriginal experiences. You will see rock carvings and stories.
Learn why Mount Yengo is considered as sacred by the locals as Uluru. Join Wollombi Aborigine Cultural Experiences on a sunset or full-day tour. You can also experience the full immersion of a three-day camping trip. Leanne King, a Dhurug guide, will take you to cultural sites and host activities such as traditional dance workshops, Aboriginal Astronomy, and traditional fiber crafts.
Enjoy a festival or other event that is full of fun.
One of the Hunter Valley highlights is the Lovedale long lunch. It’s an event that’s held in May and takes you through up to six wineries. In June, the Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Festival takes place at Rydges Resort. It includes a full day of local food and wine tastings as well as entertainment and kids’ activities. A Day on the Green, a concert series at Bimbadgen that takes place throughout the year, features big acts such as Crowded House and Kylie Minogue. Wine Machine has a huge music festival every year that features major Australian artists, including Art vs Science and Lime Cordiale.
The Hunter Valley Airshow will be a hit with families in March at the Cessnock Airport. The acrobatics of the acrobatics pilots will amaze you. You can also take a helicopter or adventure flight or even jump into the cockpit of a historic warbird. Hunter Valley Gardens offers a variety of family-friendly activities throughout the year. These include Mega Creatures Dinosaurs, Amaze & Play, The Christmas Lights Spectacular, and Snow Time.