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HUNTER VALLEY BLOG

With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

Follow our insider tips by the people who know best… the locals. We ask talented winemakers, chefs, farmers, brewers and journalists to blog about their favourite places and experiences in this fertile wine region.

Activities Aplenty: Unwind on the wild side

Not only a destination for exceptional wines and gourmet food, the Hunter Valley also offers plenty for the nature lovers, thrill seekers and adventurers.

There are fun adventures to suit every occasion, whether it's getting up close and personal and handfeeding meerkats at the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park, taking that special someone up and above the clouds in a balloon or chopper or, a simple family hike through one of our scenic national parks, there is something for all tastes.

Unwind on the wild side of the Hunter Valley with our top outdoor adventure experiences.

Horse Riding and Carriage Tours

Take a step back in time and experience the Hunter Valley old school via horseback or horse and carriage. The Hunter Valley his home to boundless green pastures and farmlands, so there is plenty of room for our friendly four-legged stallions to roam and play. Several tour companies specialise in horseback riding or horse and carriage tours, be sure to check them out on your visit. You are in for a unique wine tour as you climb aboard one of Hunter Valley Horses horse-drawn carriages and experience the beautiful views, fresh country air and award-winning wines. Hunter Valley Classic Carriages offer a range of traditional tour options to suit any guests and occasion. With zippy one-hour tours, romantic couples’ tours, group wine tours and tours for the kids, there is something to cater for any occasion! Located in the heart of the Lower Hunter and Wine Country, Hunter Valley Horse Riding offers a variety horse and pony rides for the whole family. From beginners to advanced riders, their trips guarantee an action-packed itinerary, Hunter Valley Horse Riding offer a unique riding experience with stunning spectacular views whilst riding over the Molly Morgan Range.

Golfing

Australia's oldest wine growing region is also one of the top golfing destinations in the world. Home to three major golf courses, each with luxury accommodation onsite and surrounded by vineyards and breath-taking mountain views, the Hunter Valley is the perfect place to round up your mates and play a round or two. Tee-off at the Chateau Elan Golf Course designed by Greg Norman, an impressive 18-hole championship course that is challenging, engaging and welcoming in equal parts - be as competitive or leisurely as you like. Take advantage of the golf lessons and driving range surrounded by tranquil native landscapes and vineyards. Advance your swing at the grounds of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on their 18-hole championship golf course. Green fees start from $33, bring your own gear or rent what you require from their onsite Pro Shop, then enjoy a game or two surrounded by picturesque lakes, abundant wildlife and first-class views of the Brokenback Mountain Range. Situated closest to the Brokenback Mountain Range, Cypress Lakes is a picturesque 6,487 metre par 72 18-hole championship golf course and is ranked among the top resort courses in Australia. Each tee and green offers stunning panoramic views of the Hunter Valley’s famous vineyards and the course layout boasts dramatic fairways, shapes and elevation changes all kept in superb condition all year round. Or, if you feel your skills don't 'tee' up to the professional level or simply want to have a bit of fun, check out the Putt-Putt and Aqua Golf at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Great fun for the whole family plus you can win some epic local prizes.

Hunter Valley Gardens

There is plenty of outdoor adventures to be had all year round at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Located on Broke Road, the estate spans across 14 hectares and has over ten themed gardens throughout, making it the largest display garden in the Southern Hemisphere. The gardens reflect an appreciation for peace and nature, and this can be experienced in the Rose Garden that has over 6,000 roses bursting with beautiful scents and colours or in one of the cultural gardens such as the Oriental or Indian inspired gardens. Take yourself down memory lane with the kids in the Story Book Garden where you will find yourself on an interactive, nostalgic and magical journey. Sit on the wall with Humpty Dumpty, see the tale of Jack and Jill and even join Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party! The Hunter Valley Gardens also offers seasonal events such as the award-winning Christmas Light Spectacular, Snow Time which entails all things ice and snow during the cooler months and the Mega Creatures display where you can get up close and personal with some pre-historic beasts. Plus, all year-round rides are in operation such as the carousel, swinging chair, the epic 25m high Ferris Wheel and more.  

Electric Bikes

Want to enjoy the scenic views and take in the surroundings at your own pace? What better way to do so then by electric bike! Whether you want to get the blood pumping or simply laze about and glide through our vines and country roads, electric bikes are the way to do it. Tour the heart of the Hunter Valley Vineyards in motor assisted style thanks to the electric bikes at Sutton Estate. Located on Deasy's Road, take to the new Hermitage Road cycleway and explore the Around Hermitage Wine Trail wineries including Thomas Wines, Keith Tulloch, Wombat Crossing, Ironbark Brewhouse, and Tintilla Wines. Or pop over to the Adventure Centre at Hunter Farmto discover a range of fun modes of transport and experiences including electric bike hire, Segway tours, horse riding and more.

Go Karting

Get the adrenaline pumping at Go Karts Go Hunter Valley, the region's biggest, fastest and most exciting 4-stroke go kart hire track with a massive 850m long track! Challenge your friends and family to an epic speed race like no other in the latest specification RIMO Schumacher full sized Go karts from Europe. Junior and adult accompanied twin seated go karts are also available to ensure the little ones get a go at zooming around too.

Hot Air Ballooning

Appreciate Australia's oldest wine region from a very peaceful perspective, from a hot air balloon! Go above and beyond the horizon and experience the Hunter Valley in all its glory at sunrise, we promise the early start is worth it. Watch the land slowly transform into an artistic patchwork of green plains, native forests and of course vineyards as you ascend into the clouds. There are plenty of balloon operators to choose from depending on your style of flight. Award winning business Balloon Aloft have been providing premium ballooning experiences in the Hunter since 1980. With charters to suit all occasions, share the magic with fellow balloonists and finish your aero adventure with a gourmet champagne breakfast at Peterson House. You can find daily flights at Beyond Ballooning, a family-owned and family operated business that offers both romantic rides for two and fleet vessels for larger groups. Also offering daily flights and memorable experiences is Hunter Valley Ballooning, who have specialised in premium ballooning practices in the Hunter region for decades.

Helicopter Flights and Charters

Discover the Hunter Valley 007 style in a chopper! If you aren't a morning person or simply don't trust not having an engine to take you to new heights, a scenic or charter helicopter flight is the way to go! The local regional airport is neatly tucked away behind the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre located on Wine Country drive and is home to many of the big rigs owned by several local operators. Aero Logistics fleet of helicopters provides a host of specialised services from short, educational scenic flights over the region, to indulgent gastronomical tours from above and beyond. Take the hassle out of getting to each venue on your list by treating yourself like the VIP you are and arrive in a chopper! Hunter Valley Helicopters also offer both leisurely tour charters from venue to venue, and quick zippy 30 minutes scenic flights, perfect for the kids. Or, if you're eager to test your pilot skills, engage in one of their Trial Introductory Flights and embark on an exciting new journey to discover your inner pilot.

Plane Flights

Also residing at the local airports are several planes! Hunter Valley Scenic Flights offer stunning views of the region, both Valley and Coastal. Or if you want to turn the excitement up a notch, be sure to check out Aero Hunter Adventure Flights. Encounter thrills of a lifetime with an authentic warbird military experience flown by an experienced RAAF or an ace air show pilot. Twist and turn and feel the G’s with an aerobatics ride; duck and weave with Top Gun fighter tactics, or enjoy the sights of Newcastle beaches and the beautiful Hunter Valley.

National Parks and Recreation

If a more unstructured, outdoor adventure is in the plan the Hunter Valley Wine Country is surrounded by a number of National Parks that make for perfect bushwalking. The Watagans National Park covers 7,751 hectares of an extensive mountain range which provides many recreational opportunities, both in the national park and adjoining state forests. Werakata National Park is a small park located in the southeast corner of Hunter Valley Wine Country, which comes with a rich history of Aboriginal occupation and more recently forestry operation. Today it conserves a diversity of plants and animals including a number of threatened species and endangered ecological communities.

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