Heading north from Sydney to wineries – discover the Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best known wine growing regions, and one that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Here we provide a snapshot of some of the places that you might like to visit.
Getting there – The Hunter Valley is around 2 hours + distance from Sydney, but it can take longer depending on traffic and the time of day – so allow plenty of daytime to do a day trip, or stay overnight in one of the many hotels, motels and other accommodation in the Valley.
Also remember that if you do drink wine in the day, it is best not to drive and risk the possibility of being pulled over by the Police for drink driving!
There are a few ways of getting to the Hunter Valley – the most direct being to travel north from Sydney up the M1 Expressway towards Newcastle, but heading to Cessnock. The other way, which takes longer but is perhaps more picturesque is to travel north-west to Windsor and then turn onto Wilberforce Rd that leads onto the Putty Road (a winding mountain road) on to Singleton and Cessnock area. It is also possible to travel from Kurrajong via East Road (very picturesque) to the Putty Road.
There are hundreds of wineries in the Hunter Valley – both larger ones that have provision for buses and large groups and ones that are small and cater for just a few people at a time. There are also wineries set up for weddings, with accommodation, restaurants, and many have historic buildings located on them too. Virtually all have sampling or tasting sessions, and it would be impossible to see all the wineries in one day or even a week – so just pick the ones you want to go to, or go with a tour group that has everything organised for you. Most have tasting rooms set up to sample their wines.
There are ‘Tour Buses’ that travel from Sydney each day, and also Tour Operators in the Valley. It is possible to tour in small groups or larger ones – on or in everything from a bike, horse drawn carriage, motorbike, to a limo or helicopter – with prices to match the experience and the number of people in your group. It is also possible to just do your own tour by car too – just visiting the wineries that you want to. Most of the main wineries are close together and centred in and around Broke, Pokolbin, Rothbury and Lovedale. Pick up a brochure with a map, and wander or drive to the ones that you find inviting. There are also wineries at Wollombi too.
There are more than 40 hotel or accommodation choices in and around the area, but at peak periods it may be best to book online before heading to the Hunter Valley.
In Pokolbin, you will also find the Hunter Valley Gardens – (www.huntervalleygardens.com.au ) which has 8000 roses of all varieties as well as a lake and a vast array of other flowers, trees and shrubs, in ten different garden areas, making it one of the most beautiful gardens in Australia. There are a number of wineries very close to the gardens too.
There are also a number of Olive Groves and the Hunter Valley has become a centre for food as well as its wines – with fancy and not so fancy restaurants, cooking classes and a number of events during the year celebrating the wines, olives, cheeses and foods of the region.
Some of the best known Restaurants are Twine, Sabor in the Hunter, Majors Lane, Smokehouse café, Villa du Pays, Leaves and Fishes, Black Creek Farm and there are many others.
The Hunter Valley also has coal under the ground, and you will see some of these large mining operations and the high chimneys of power stations as you travel further towards Singleton and Muswellbrook.
In and around Singleton, Muswellbrook, Aberdeen, Scone and Murrurundi in the upper Hunter there are also a number of Horse studs, dairy, sheep and cattle properties – making the Hunter Valley a significant part of Australia’s agricultural industry.
To help you find the wineries that you would like to Visit, here is a list of some of the wineries.
Some of the wineries can look quite sophisticated, but don’t worry, they will welcome you and are ever willing to showcase their wines, be it that you do or don’t buy.
IN BRANXTON –
Elderslie Road – Pierre’s Wines
Adams Peak Road – Mount Broke Wines
Milbrodale Road – Stomp! Wines
Wollombi Rd – Krinklewood Bio Dynamic Vineyard,
IN POKOLBIN –
Broke Road – Hungerford Hill, Hunter Organic Distillery (Valli Vodka), Leogate Winery, Meerea Park Wines, Oakvale Wines, Peterson House, Tempus Two, Tower Estate, Hunter Valley Wine Centre, (Hunter Valley Gardens & Shopping Village is also on Broke Road)
Deaseys Road – Misty Glen Wines
DeBeyers Road – Harkham Wines, McLeish Estate, Cockfighters Ghost.
Gillards Road – Constable Estate, Vinden Estate,
Halls Road – Kevin Sorbels Wines.
Hermitage Road – Arrowfield Wines, James Estate, Hermitage Road Cellars, Tintilla Estate, Wombat Crossing.
Marrowbone Road – Ivanhoe Wines, Saddlers Creek Wines. Also Bluetongue Brewery, and Hunter Valley Wine School.
McDonalds Road – McGuigans , Lindemans, Gundog Estate, First Creek Wines, Blueberry Hill Vineyard, Pokolbin Estate, Pokolbin Brothers, Tamburlain Organic Wines. Hunter Valley Cheese Factory is also at McGuigan Wine Complex.
Oakey Creek Road – Iron Gate Estate, Kelman Vineyards, Wynwood Estate.
O’Connors Road – Hanging Tree Wines.
Palmers Lane – Germelli Estate, Waverley Estate.
Sweetwater Rd – Ridgeview Wines.
Wine Country Drive – DeBortoli Wines, Ernest Hill Wines.
Tuckers Lane – Tellace Wines,
Sweetwater Road – Macquariedale Organic Wines,
Londons Road – Capercaillie Wine Co.,
Lovedale Road – Adina Vineyard, Gartelmann Wines,
Wilderness Road – Emma’s Cottage Vineyard, Wandin Hunter Valley Winery
IN MOUNT VIEW
Mount View Road – Briar Ridge Vineyard, Kelman Vineyard, Mount View Estate, Petersons Wines, Savannah Estate
Payne’s Crossing Road – Wollombi Village Vineyard
Yango Creek Road – Undercliffe Winery and Gallery
Wollombi Road, Cedar Creek – Noyce Brothers Wines, Stonehurst Cedar Creek Winery.
MAITLAND – also in the Hunter Valley is 27 kilometres from Cessnock and on the main New England Highway heading away from Newcastle to the New England Tablelands and to Queensland. Maitland is 34 kilometres from Newcastle, and is also on the Hunter River.
Maitland itself is a small historic town, with a number of historic buildings which you can see along the main street, and those nearby. The town dates back to the 1880’s and one of the most interesting places to see is the old Maitland Gaol (6-18 John Street) where there are a number of stone buildings to see through. The town itself has over years become known for the floods that have hit the city, but these days it is better known for its galleries, streetscape, shops and restaurants. Nearby Maitland are the smaller towns of
Morpeth – which is best known for its antique shops, cafes and restaurants including the old Arnott’s Bakery. Also nearby is Paterson – where there are also historic buildings including the 1857 Courthouse Museum and Tocal Homestead (www.tocal.com) a working farm with a agricultural college, and historic buildings, some dating back to the 1820’s as well as the homestead built in 1841. They also do tours for groups and small parties – Tel: (02) 49 39 8901. Also nearby are the towns of East Gresford and Dungog and the Chichester Dam built on the Williams River between 1917 and 1926. This whole area is very pretty and makes for a great country drive.