Plan the Perfect Hunter Valley Itinerary

Trying to create a Hunter Valley Itinerary for a weekend getaway? Today Tia Cole shares her tips for creating the perfect weekend getaway to the NSW premier wine region.

A 2 hour drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley has so much to give with multiple wineries, idyllic views and unforgettable experiences. The wine region will create a perfect retreat for over the next two nights.

Welcome to your weekend getaway in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Australia has an endless amount of spectacular experiences to offer, and your trip to the Hunter Valley wine country will highlight just that.

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Getting to the Hunter Valley

If you have a car, the Hunter Valley is a simple drive up the A1 and then the M1 to the M15 where signs will direct you to Hunter Wine Country.

If you flew in from Sydney CBD, the Hunter Valley provides a multitude of travel options for your visit:

  • iHop Hunter Valley iHop is a Hop-on, Hop-off Hunter Valley bus service in central Pokolbin. With 14 different stops to support your visit, including the Hunter Valley Shopping Village and Roche Estate, iHop runs on an hourly schedule creating ease between Hunter Valley destinations. Book iHop with the online booking service by 5pm for the following day to secure your position on the bus pickup.
  • Pokolbin Hire Cars – Pokolbin Hire Cars create a personalised experience by offering to pick you up from Sydney or Newcastle airport and take you to your Hunter Valley accommodation and are prepared to drop you back to the airport when it is time.
  • Hertz Car Rentals Cessnock – Hunter Valley’s central town, Cessnock, provides a range of car rental businesses, including Hertz Car Rentals.
  • Sutton Estate Electric Bike Hire – Sutton Estate Electric Bike Hire has the option to hire their motor-assisted bikes for either a full day (10am-4:30pm) and half day hire (4 hours) with training on arrival.
  • Uber – Uber operates although it’s hard to get in busy times
  • Bus – From Maitland, you can connect to a regular bus service, which will take you to Cessnock and Pokolbin.

Day 1 – Arrival, Accommodation and Adventure

Evening – Arrival at the Hunter Valley Resort

So you have arrived after a long hard week at work (or peaceful day preparing). Begin your getaway nestled within the Shiraz vineyards at the beautiful country lodge, the Hunter Valley Resort. Secluded within the heart of Hunter Valley in Pokolbin, this cozy inn offers a variety of accommodation styles to suit your needs for your first night’s stay.

For you, there’s the Hunter and Vineyard rooms which allow close pool and tennis court access for you and your partner to relax with a nice evening swim or a round of playful tennis, or the Spa Cottages are perfect for a romantic evening together with a private spa.

Hunter Valley Resort
Hunter Valley Resort in the Hunter Valley.

Dinner – Amanda’s On The Edge

With only an 8-minute drive through the valley, you can watch the sun set over the striking landscape of the Windsor’s Edge Vineyards either cozied up by the fireplace during the Winter or out on the divine alfresco in the warmer months.

Amanda’s On The Edge restaurant offers incredible modern Australian meals from entrée through to dessert. This restaurant is perfect for special occasions, with its striking décor, sweeping views, and friendly staff. With their mouth-watering menu options and range of local hunter valley wine and other delightful beverages, this delicious experience is only the beginning of your magical two-night stay.

Now that you’re feeling satiety, you can enjoy the relaxation of the pool or spa back at the resort.

Day 2 – A Magical Day for Two

Morning – Watch the sunrise with on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

View Australia in a different light as you begin your day with Balloon Aloft where you will enjoy a one-hour, picturesque hot-air balloon ride. Watch the sunrise illuminate the rolling hills between the hunter valley vineyards and light up an unobscured bird’s-eye view of the Brokenback Ranges as you rise above.

After this serene adventure, they will take you to Peterson House restaurant where you will be treated to a menu of mouth-watering, gourmet breakfast choices along with a selection of sparkling wine tasting options on their tasting menu.

Breakfast in the hunter valley at Petersons
Champagne for breakfast? Why not! At Peterson House

Midmorning – The Hunter Valley Gardens and a trip to the village

Head on over and visit the award-winning Hunter Valley Gardens where each of the 10 themed gardens highlights the artistry of garden culture from around the world, including the famous Storybook Garden.

A majestic 10 metre high waterfall in the scenic Sunken Garden located at Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin.
One of the 10 themed gardens at Hunter Valley Gardens

Depending on the time of year you are visiting, the Hunter Valley Gardens often hold breathtaking events, including their Christmas Lights Spectacular from the months of November-January, where the gardens are dazzled in light art and food trucks are available with tasty treats. If you would like to experience the Christmas Lights Spectacular, we recommend coming back when the sun goes down, where you will be amazed.

Manicured hedges of the Border Garden in Hunter Valley Gardens Credit: Destination NSW

If time permits, the Hunter Valley Shopping Village is only a short walk away where you can explore unique shops, such as the British Lolly Shop where you can devour real English chocolate and sweets right here in Australia, including 9 different Bon Bons, colourful Flying Saucers, and delicious Double Deckers.

At the Garden Cellars, you can try a range of beers as they have the largest beer tasting options in the region, or you can sample flavoursome wines and liqueurs. Have a wonder and see what other unique things you will discover in the village.

Afternoon Lunch – Have a ‘Picnic Among the Vines’

Your trip to the hunter wouldn’t be complete without visiting Audrey Wilkinson Cellar Doors. Treat yourself with a relaxed lunch for two where you will pick up a divine picnic hamper created for your romantic weekend, along with a bottle of handpicked wine.

With over 270 acres, beginning perched atop the stunning cellar door and overlooking the Brokenback ranges, you can immerse yourself in the vineyards and enjoy a private escape.

Audrey Wilkinson Estate

Once you have satisfied your taste buds amongst the astounding scenery, be spoilt as you take part in a master class with premium wine tastings directed by the in-house wine expert. Matching wines will have never been so divine.

Evening – Accommodation – Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate

What better way to complete a magical day than by relaxing and being pampered? Once you check into your accommodation at the Crowne Plaza for the night with their ‘Romantic Escape’ package, you will be gifted $100 to spend at Ubika Spa, which is within the hotel.

Embrace the serenity with the variety of lush spa treatments offered from rejuvenating massages to facial and body treatments. Reflect on the amazing day you and your partner have just experienced and allow yourselves to be nourished at this tranquil sanctuary.

Dinner – The Choice is yours at the Crowne Plaza

Let’s end the day and fill your bellies with your choice of fine dining. At the Crowne Plaza, you will find the award-winning Redsalt Restaurant where your palate will be treated to gourmet choices sourced from local produce of the hunter region along with an extensive wine list.

For a more laid-back experience, Lovedale Bar and Grill will welcome you with Australian cuisine infused with flavours and live music to set the mood. Browse the drink menu where you can enjoy cocktails, locally brewed beers and ciders, and some of the Hunter Valley’s best wines on offer produced in the onsite brewery.

If you feel you have seized the day and just want to head up to your room and rest, in-room dining is available. With a wide variety of meals to choose from, including pizzas, pasta, grazing boards, and desserts, a delicious dinner of your choice will be delivered to your door.

Day 3 – The Perfect End to a Hunter Valley Weekend

Breakfast – All Included Breakfast in Bed

Embrace The ‘Romantic Escape’ package and indulge in breakfast in bed. Choose from the variety of breakfast options along with a caffeine hit or a nice glass of juice to begin your restful morning.

Morning – Hunter Valley Horse Riding

Breathe in the fresh air as you take in the astonishing views of Pokolbin as you ride through the flourishing vineyards with the Horseback Vineyard Trail Ride. This leisurely paced ride is perfect for beginners as it is designed so you can embrace the panoramic scenery.

Private tours are also available if you would prefer a more intimate adventure. This option is 2 hours of breath-taking views and fresh air brushing against your skin.

Lunch – Cheese, Wine and all things Divine

In the heart of wine country is Roche Estate, where you can fill your bellies with a good meal at the Smelly Cheese Shop and enjoy wine matching at your winery visit to the famous Tempus Two Cellar Door.

Enjoy cheese tasting with the finest, local, Australian and imported Artisan gourmet cheese at the Smelly Cheese Shop. Their extensive menu items include everything cheese. Grazing platters, pizza, baguettes, burgers, and more.

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget to taste the desserts. Take in the stunning view as you try a slice of house-made cheesecake or one of thirty-six gelato and sorbet flavours.

Stock up at the Smelly Cheese shop Credit: Destination NSW

Complement your cheese tasting with the finer things in life. Tempus Two is an award-winning cellar door where you can enjoy wine tasting with a range of elegant, hand-crafted wines.

Tempus Two Hunter Valley tasting room
Tempus Two Tasting Room

Goodbye, until next time

Now you know how much there is to do in the Hunter Valley Region of Australia, you will be able to drop by on your next trip and indulge on even more adventures and tastings as you fill your soul with more incredible memories.

Want more ideas? Check out Tia’s list of Things to Do in the Hunter Valley

About the Author: Tia Cole is always looking for her next adventure. Whether it’s hiking through native bushland, swimming at the beach or lifting heavy at the gym, she is down for anything that will teach her something new about the world. Tia is also a lover of the little things. Find her sipping a vanilla latte, playing with her cheeky pup Skylah, or writing away on her laptop.

Main image credit: Destination NSW

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