Mention the Hunter Valley and it conjures up images of rolling hills covered in vineyards, gourmet delights and of course, exquisite wine tasting from cellar doors.

Nestled in the heart of New South Wales, the Hunter Valley is approximately three hours’ drive north of Sydney. This beloved destination offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, inviting travellers to unwind amidst the serene beauty of the countryside.

Stretching across the Hunter Region, the Hunter Valley boasts a rich tapestry of vineyards, cellar doors, and artisanal producers, earning it the well-deserved title of Australia’s oldest wine-growing region. Here, sprawling vineyards carpet the undulating hills, where cool breezes and fertile soils create the perfect conditions for producing world-class wines. From crisp whites to robust reds, the Hunter Valley’s diverse terroir yields a spectrum of varietals, each imbued with the region’s unique character and charm.

Beyond its vineyards, the Hunter Valley beckons with a myriad of experiences waiting to be savoured. Indulge in farm-to-table dining at award-winning restaurants, where locally sourced ingredients are transformed into culinary masterpieces that celebrate the region’s rich bounty. Explore charming villages dotted with boutique shops, galleries, and artisanal markets, offering a glimpse into the Hunter Valley’s vibrant culture and community.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Hunter Valley offers a playground of adventure, with hiking trails, cycling routes, and hot air balloon rides providing panoramic views of the sprawling landscape below. And with its wealth of accommodation options ranging from luxury resorts to quaint bed and breakfasts, the Hunter Valley welcomes visitors to linger a little longer and savour every moment of their countryside retreat.

Whether you’re a wine aficionado, a food lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Hunter Valley invites you to embark on a journey of discovery, where every sip, bite, and moment spent amidst its natural beauty leaves an indelible impression on the soul.

How to get there

Self Drive in the Hunter Valley. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

From Sydney, the drive to the Hunter Valley is approximately three hours. If you are flying interstate, the closest option is Newcastle Airport, where the drive will take just under two hours. Car hire is readily available from both destinations and once in the Hunter Valley, there are taxis and transfers from accommodation to ensure you can safely do the wine tastings and get back to your bed for the night.

Where to stay

Hunter Valley – The Lane Retreat. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

Situated within the renowned Bimbadgen vineyards on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin, The Lane Retreat emerges as the latest gem in the Hunter Valley’s lodging scene. Tucked amidst 15 hectares of serene vineyard and untouched bushland, this haven promises the perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.

Boasting 60 premium studio retreats, each meticulously crafted to immerse guests in the sheer splendour of their environment. The retreats have ample space with a large bathroom, queen bed, kitchenette, TV and lounge and table. The outdoor deck has seating and a table, the perfect spot to catch the sunset with a glass of wine.

A minibar comes fully stocked and for breakfast, there is a hamper consisting of banana bread, yoghurt and granola, fresh juice and a selection of teas and coffee. If you do want to pick up anything else, there is a selection of food at The Pantry, along with homewares and handicrafts.

The Lane Retreat even has a pool and entertaining area, making it the perfect spot for an afternoon swim or snacks by the pool. It is heated for winter, so it can be enjoyed year-round. A walk around the grounds will uncover hidden treasures like a bike path with bikes for hire, and outdoor picnic areas and you can often spot kangaroos grazing between the vines.

The Lane Retreat offers transfers to nearby Wineries and Cellar Doors for added convenience.

Where to wine and dine

Hunter Valley – Bimbadgen Winery. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

Nearby Bimbadgen Winery is a perfect choice for wine tasting, dinner, lunch or a light meal. Guided by knowledgeable staff, you can indulge in a Signature Wine Tasting, sampling an array of award-winning wines that showcase the region’s terroir and expertise. Here you can also taste Bimbadgen’s newest creation – Night Merchant Spirits.

Bimbadgen Winery’s Woodfired Pizzeria, nestled in the enchanting Tuscan Courtyard, is the perfect place to savour delectable wood-fired pizzas while listening to some live music.

Hunter Valley – wine and pizza. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

For the pièce de resistance, try the Signature dining experience at Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant. Perched above the winery with panoramic views of the vineyards, the restaurant exuded an air of elegance and sophistication. Chef Keira Madeley’s menu, inspired by the region’s seasonal produce, will dazzle your palate with its simplicity and freshness, perfectly complementing the estate’s wines.

For lunch, you can’t go past Emma’s Cottage, where you can have a personalized tasting of Bimbadgen’s boutique label, Alter wines. Accompanied by a gourmet grazing platter brimming with local delicacies, it is a feast for the senses, showcasing the best of Hunter Valley’s culinary delights. Emma’s Cottage has a boutique and cosy feel to it, and you will want to linger here a little longer after lunch.

For more on the Hunter Valley, visit winecountry.com.au

Kate Webster

Kate Webster is the founder and owner of Captured Travel Media. She is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause.

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