It takes just a couple of hours driving from the northern outskirts of Sydney to reach the plains and rolling terrain of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales wine country. Hunter Valley and the Barossa in South Australia, comprise Australias best known wine producing regions.
On the Newcastle Freeway, its a fast drive north from Sydney to the exit marked Hunter Valley Vineyards via Cessnock. Then its nice-and-easy country driving to Cessnock, if this is where you wish to have your wine adventure base, or to Pokolbin or even Maitland or Singleton.
If youre coming from Newcastle, or Port Stephens, take John Renshaw Drive via Kurri Kurri and simply follow the signs for Cessnock in the Hunter Valley.
Fine semillon and shiraz
The Hunter Valley wine country comprises in the main two wine growing areas: the Upper Hunter and the Lower Hunter. It is in the Lower Hunter, centred around Pokolbin and Cessnock, where you find the larger number of Hunter Valley vineyards and wineries.
The Hunter Valley produces some of the finest semillon and shiraz which are a great accompaniment to leisurely dining.
If this is your first time in the Hunter Valley, a good first stop is the Wine Country Information Centre on Aberdare Rd, Cessnock, in the Lower Hunter.
Get a map
With more than 70 Hunter Valley wineries in the area, you wont be able to visit all of them in a day or two and taste their wines as well.
Get a Hunter Valley map from the information centre and look at the lay of the land. If youre not in the valley on a weekend, you should also note which Hunter Valley wineries are closed to visitors on weekdays, so you don't wase a trip.
Get on an organised Hunter Valley tour if you must. Some prefer driving around on their own, of course.
And start your tour
A suggested route:
Drive down from Cessnock on Wollombi Rd and turn right into Mount View Rd to the Mount View Estate. The place is open weekdays and weekends, a range of wines are available for tasting, and theres a picnic area for your use.
You can continue on Mount View Rd to three or four other Hunter Valley wineries in the immediate vicinity but you may have to drive on unsealed roads. Otherwise, backtrack east, then north, and turn left into Marrowbone Rd. The well-known McWilliams Mt Pleasant Estate is on this road. Theres a cafe and picnic area here.
Veer north into McDonalds Rd where youll find the Hungerford Hill and Lindemans wineries, whose products are well represented on the countrys winelists. Lindemans, vignerons since 1843, has a museum featuring historical winemaking implements.
Next page >Wine Tasting and More