A filigree of picturesque roads criss-crosses this prolific valley in New South Wales, but a pleasant ride through the countryside isn’t the main attraction for tourists from all corners of the globe – decadence is. Hunter Valley is simply one big gorge fest: from chocolate, cheese and olives to fine wine, boutique beer and gourmet restaurants, the valley offers an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just a curious tourist eager to explore all of the beauties Australia has to offer, here are some tips for an unforgettable road trip through the Hunter Valley Trail.
Hit the road
Although the typical access to the Hunter Valley, via the M1 Pacific Motorway, is pretty straightforward, if you’re planning an incredible road trip, why not take the road less travelled? Enjoy a scenic ride on Tourist Drive 33, along the Great North Road or Convict Trail, and through the breathtaking NSW countryside. This slower-paced route follows a rather windy path, but it passes some incredibly beautiful farmland, charming country houses and barns, farm-gate stalls offering local produce, and careless sheep and cattle grazing by the road – it’s a truly magnificent sight to behold. In order to ensure this delightful ride goes as smoothly as possible, turn to an excellent mechanic from Hunter Valley that will give your vehicle a thorough check-up before you embark on this unforgettable road trip.
Go on a winery tour
Being the most famous wine region in Australia, one of the most popular activities in Hunter Valley, and one that is highly recommended for all newcomers, is following a wine trail and going on an extensive tour that grants you exclusive access into the complex chain of efforts that go into creating the most sublime products in the country and encourages you to appreciate the wine’s expert blend of taste and texture. But, if you don’t know your Shiraz from your Merlot, the valley also offers many educational tours you can embark on to expand your knowledge and love of this outstanding drink. While the towns of Cessnock, Pokolbin, Lovedale and Rothbury seem to be the most popular destinations, there are so many incredible wineries in Hunter Valley that you simply can’t go wrong.
Visit the Hunter Valley Gardens
Just outside Pokolbin, you can find a site distinctive to the Southern Hemisphere – the incredibly beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens. Ranging from Oriental designs to European influences everywhere in between, this complex contains ten different theme gardens, each one unique, but equally as beautiful as the next. The gardens have over eight kilometres of scenic pathways that will take you past six thousand shrubs and over one million ground covers, all carefully planted and taken care of for years. In spring, the area offers a rose garden experience like no other, while in autumn you get the opportunity to take some incredible shots of deciduous masterpieces. Whether you choose to grab lunch at one of the many exquisite restaurants or simply decide to have a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the Hunter Valley Gardens are truly a sight not to miss.
Explore the incredible national parks
Nestled among the hills at the foot of Mount Royal Range, Lake St Clair offers fishermen and water lovers an abundance of activities to bide their time in between wine tastings. With the lake chalk full of bass, catfish and golden perch, keen anglers are always welcome here, while water enthusiasts have the option of swimming, boating, water skiing, or simply pitching a picnic blanket and indulging in the scrumptious treats they’ve managed to acquire on their travels through the region. If you enjoy hiking, Yengo National Park offers a variety of relatively flat trails that take in the convict-built Circuit Flat Bridge, some wonderful aboriginal engravings on the Finchley Cultural Walk and an abundance of breathtaking wilderness views from the Lookout that are undeniably worth the walk.
Every now and then, we all deserve a break, and embarking on an incredible journey through Hunter Valley seems like the perfect option. From amazing food and exquisite wine to picturesque sceneries and serene towns surrounded by quaint meadows, this beautiful region offers everything a soul in need of nourishment might require.