Hunter Valley, Australia’s Oldest Wine Region

The Hunter Valley is the oldest wine growing region in Australia, where you’ll discover over 150 wineries producing world-class wines. The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is Australia’s earliest wine growing region, predating Victoria’s Yarra Valley vineyards. It is also notorious for its high-end dining, cookery classes, art galleries and museums, health spa retreats and golf courses. Here you can sample the local regions cheeses, hand-made chocolates, charcuterie, dairy products, sourdough breads and olive oils straight from the manufacturers. Join a wine tasting master class, or sample a large selection of wines at one of more than 160 cellar doors. Once you’ve had your fill of indulgence why not get outside with 18 holes of golf, a leisurely hot air balloon or helicopter ride? Alternatively you could go antique or art hunting in the area’s numerous galleries.

The very first vines in the Hunter Valley were planted by families in the 1820s, making the Hunter Valley Australia’s earliest wine region. Hunter Valley Semillon is commonly considered the iconic wine of the region, however the Hunter also produces wine from a wide range of grapes including shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and verdelho. Check out the internationally-acclaimed Wyndham Estate, one Australia’s earliest vineyards, which hosts Opera in the Vineyards each year. The historical 1866 Audrey Wilkinson winery has a museum with original wine making equipment on display furniture.

At a lot of the cellar doors, you can sample from a large selection of wines, or join up with a wine tasting master class that includes various rare vintages. Some cellar doors you can visit by simply just showing up, however some others do require advance reservations. Spend the night in boutique guesthouses (which also offer wedding accommodation) or eat in top quality dining establishments featuring many of the world’s finest wines in the historic towns of Broke, Lovedale, Maitland, Pokolbin and Wollombi. On a specialised wine tour you can check out a number of wineries in a day, including a few of the latest wine makers which is a perfect activity to do when on romantic getaways.

Throughout the year, the Hunter Valley presents a very diverse array of food and wine events in its wineries  including live performances by big name artists in jazz, opera and blues. The “Lovedale Long Lunch” is a progressive-style banquet which winds through a number of  Hunter Valley wineries and dining establishments each year in May. Roam around the vibrant, colourfull flowers at the Festival of the Flowers, and take in the spectacular landscape design that was done,in September or throughout November, you can follow an art trail at Sculpture in the Vineyards in your frilly plus size dress or your favorite jumpsuit.

Hunter Valley Wine Country is roughly 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney. In the heart of the Hunter Region is the beachside city of Newcastle, which has a rich history, culture and outstanding dining and shopping. Unwind on the beautiful beaches of the New South Wales Central Coast. Hike trough ancient rain forests in national parks such as Watagan, Yengo, Wollombi and World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops Go swimming, fishing or even sailing at Lake St Clair near Singleton. You can take a trip through the Hunter Valley on the Pacific Coast Touring Route from Sydney to Brisbane.

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