- 1 Newcastle - the state's second largest settlement and a former steel industry centre. Beaches and coffee shops.
- 2 Cessnock
- 3 Gloucester
- 4 Lake Macquarie - coastal community to the south of Newcastle
- 5 Maitland - a town immediately west of Newcastle
- 6 Muswellbrook
- 7 Scone - the "horse capital of Australia"
- 8 Singleton - a mining town inland from Newcastle
- 1 Barrington Tops National Park – southernmost park of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
- 2 Kurri Kurri is a small town near Maitland famous for its many murals
- 3 Murrurundi
- 4 Pokolbin
- 5 Port Stephens is a popular rural coastal area north of Newcastle, with beaches, sand dunes and dolphin spotting
- 6 Tomaree National Park – a small national park near Port Stephens
- 7 Werakata National Park
- 8 Wollombi - small historical village
- 9 Yengo National Park
The Hunter is a popular region to the north of Sydney that provides rest and relaxation away from the big city. It is famous for both its vineyards and its coastal areas.
The Hunter Valley is a well-known rest and relaxation destination for weekends away from Sydney. The Hunter Region is one of Australia's most famous wine-growing regions, known for both its red and white wine varieties. It is a good destination for tourists who want a change of scenery from Australia's largest city. The main industries in the Hunter Region are coal mining, agriculture, viticulture and wine making, tourism, horse breeding, electricity production, dairy farming and beef cattle farming.
Newcastle Interchange is about 2.5 hours from Sydney Central station. Outside of central Newcastle, most of the region is difficult to tour without a car.
Newcastle has its own domestic airport (NTL IATA), with regular flights from other Australian destinations. There are flight connections to Sydney, although the time spent getting to Sydney airport, checking in and flying rarely makes this an attractive option except if you are travelling on another flight.
There are suburban train services from Newcastle Interchange up through the Hunter Valley as far as Scone or Dungog. Regional (booked) services run from Sydney and Broadmeadow as far as Scone and Dungog.
- Picturesque rural communities are scattered across the valley.
- The large Stockton Sand Dunes are the Southern Hemisphere's largest sand dunes.
Wineries in the Hunter Valley
. Tours generally visit multiple destinations in the Hunter Valley region, and hence they are listed here:
The Hunter Valley is a major wine growing region in Australia. Tours of vineyards and wine tasting tours are a huge industry. A number of local operators run tours of wineries:
- Gone Walkabout Safaris, ☏ , [email protected]. Gone Walkabout Safaris operate 7 days a week with guaranteed departures every day, picking up participants from their accommodation in Newcastle and Hunter Valley. $60 per person.
- Boutique Wine Tours, ☏ , [email protected]. Boutique Wine Tours run luxury (14 person max) day tours of the Hunter Valley wineries, picking up participants from their accommodation in Sydney. $115 per person with lunch or $99 per person if you purchase your own lunch..
- Aussie Wine Tours, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. This Cessnock based tour company offers wine tours. From $45 per person (weekends) and $35 per person (weekdays).
- Cheers Bus, ☏ , [email protected]. This Cessnock based tour company offers wine tours. Half day tours are available, as are full day tours including lunch. From $35 per person.
- Wine Country Limousines, 193 Bimbadeen Road, ☏ , [email protected]. Mount View. Up to seven people can share a limousine for a wine tour from 10AM to 5PM.
In addition, there are several tours that set off from Sydney for day trips or weekend-long visits to the Hunter Valley wineries:
- Red Carpet Tours, 2 Windsor Road, Willoughby, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Red Carpet Tours run 18 person day tours of Hunter Valley wineries, including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Participants are picked up from their accommodation in Sydney. $155 adults and $135 concessions.
- Wine Country Tours, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Wine Country Tours offer 8 person wine tours hosted by a winemaker with 25 years experience. The tour includes private cellar inspections, as well as morning tea and lunch. Participants are picked up from their accommodation in Sydney. Cost is $150 per person.
- Mt Royal National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area
Most wineries offer excellent restaurants to go with your wine tasting
The Hunter wine region is one of Australia's best known wine regions, playing a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine as one of the first wine regions planted in the early 19th century. The success of the Hunter Valley wine industry has been dominated by its proximity to Sydney with its settlement and plantings in the 19th century fuelled by the trade network that linked the valley to the city. The steady demand of consumers from Sydney continues to drive much of the Hunter Valley wine industry, including a factor in the economy by the tourism industry. While the Hunter Valley has been supplanted by the massive Riverina wine region as the largest producer of New South Wales wine, it still accounts for around 3% of Australia's total wine production and is one of the country's most recognisable regions. Today, there's plenty of vineries that anyone can go wine tasting and can be found nearly everywhere.