An idyllic patchwork of vineyards and orchards stretching north of Sydney, Hunter Valley is a natural playground for Sydneysiders, and it’s less than two hours from the city. And Australia’s oldest wine region is more than just a pretty face—Hunter Valley is famous for prestigious wines, award-winning wineries, and delicious regional cuisine.
It’s no surprise that wine tasting is the most popular activity in Hunter Valley, given that more than 150 wineries and cellar doors are open to the public here. To experience the region, there are plenty of options for wine tours from Sydney. Singleton and Maitland are the main towns where wine lovers can learn more about winemaking on a winery tour and sample some of Australia’s best varietals. Small-group and private tours offer a chance to tailor your itinerary or discover lesser-known or boutique wineries.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The legal drinking age of 18 applies for all wine tasting in the Hunter Valley.
- Most Hunter Valley wineries do not have a dress code, but smart-casual dress is required at the region’s upmarket restaurants.
- Cell phone coverage can vary throughout Hunter Valley, but free WiFi is available at the Hunter Valley Visitor Centre.
- Sunscreen and comfortable shoes are a must if you plan on walking through the vineyards.
- Many of the Hunter Valley wineries are wheelchair accessible, although tours of the vineyards are not always possible, and it’s best to check in advance to avoid disappointment.
How to Get There
The Hunter Valley is located 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of central Sydney, about a two-hour drive via Highway 1. To get there by public transport, catch a train from Sydney’s Central station to Maitland, Singleton, Muswellbrook, or Scone. Hunter Valley Buses connect towns across the Hunter Valley region.
When to Get There
The best time for wine tasting tours is December through February, during the summer harvest season when you’ll want to book ahead for tastings (note that temperatures can reach up to 86˚F (30˚C) during this time). It’s possible to visit the Hunter wineries all year-round—the cooler weather in spring and autumn is ideal for walking and cycling tours, while winter offers cheaper prices on accommodations and activities.
Outdoor Activities in the Hunter Valley
Walking and cycling tours are the best way to take in the Hunter Valley scenery, but serious hikers should head to Barrington Tops National Park, where there are ample marked trails. You also don’t have to get active to enjoy the views—fly in by helicopter for a VIP lunch date, float over the vineyards on a hot air balloon ride, or go horseback riding through the hills.