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The Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley

What do you think of when someone mentions the Hunter Valley? Well if you ask me, two things spring to mind, coal mining and wineries. Fortunately the Hunter is a large valley and the two activities don’t mix. The upper hunter is where the mining happens; the lower hunter is where you find the wineries.

Now, for the uninitiated, when I say that the wineries are found in the lower Hunter, I don’t actually just mean wineries. In addition to the huge number of boutique wineries there are also plenty of other attractions as well.

These include, breweries, cheese factories, chocolate shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&B’s, golf courses and even a large display garden all squeezed into an area that’s easy to get around by either car or shuttle bus. All in all it’s a just a great place for a day trip or a quick weekend away.

Winery tour bus
A good days work

Why do I like it?

Well, having grown up in Western Australia near to the Swan Valley, Margret River and Great Southern Wine regions, I can say that visiting wineries is something that in the past I would just have taken for granted.

It all changed when I went to Europe for a working holiday that turned into a five year trip away from Australia. The concept of the cellar door tasting and sales is just not the same and it’s something I missed.

So, on my return to Australia I actually settled on the East coast, not the West. I think you can imagine how happy I was to find out that just an hours drive north of our home is the Hunter Valley, a wine region that I think is every bit as good as the Western Australian regions I’d been so used to visiting all those years ago.

Hot Air Ballooning
How to make beer

Like all of the different regions in Australia that I’ve visited, the hunter has a couple of varieties of wine that stand out. While it seems that the winemakers are happy to have a go at making a huge range of wines, the Shiraz and the Semillon are generally the consistent standouts. Of course there are exceptions; sometimes you’ll find a place that does one of the other varieties to perfection. This is what touring the valley is all about, the search and triumph of something really special.

Where’s this all going?

Well, over the years, I’ve lost track of the times we’ve been up to the Hunter. Why we’ve gone, well the reasons range from our just being bored right through to us celebrating birthdays or anniversaries and believe it or not, it’s not always just for the wine.

The below pages go through some of the things we’ve done and outline what we thought of the activities. While most of them are obviously about different places to eat and drink there are also plenty of other options when it comes to things to do.

A rose by any other name
Hunter Valley Hot Air Ballooning
Ivanhoe Wines
Leaves and Fishes
The Bluetongue Brewery Cafe

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