The Hunter Valley is a magical sight in winter. The crowds disappear, leaving a pristine and untouched natural scene. The rains arrive to nourish the soil. The early morning frosts make for a good excuse to rug up and visit some of the region’s excellent restaurants, cafes and wineries. It’s the perfect place for a quick getaway in winter, especially if you love your gourmet food and wines.
Hire a car from Sydney with DriveNow and travel three and a half hours south to the Hunter Valley. There you’ll begin your winter adventure with these five great experiences.
Have fun with Snow Time in the Garden
This is a fantastic family-friendly event. During summer, the Hunter Valley Gardens is a web of right kilometres of walking paths through gorgeous, landscaped gardens. In winter, it transforms into an icy wonderland for three weeks. There’s an ice skating rink, an ice toboggan and the chance to build a snowman. Entertainment every day of the week.
Check out Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival
The Hunter Valley is an iconic destination for food and wine festival. In May and June this region becomes the centre of a major annual festival that attracts thousands of people from across Australia. All are on a journey to discover the best gourmet dinners and vineyards. Many will also take up the opportunity to learn in a hands-on cooking or winemaking class.
At any time of year you can make the most of one of the Hunter Valley’s greatest assets – its wineries. It’s home to some of the oldest vine stocks in the world, with its Semillon iconic to the region. You can sign up with an organised group tour, which visits a handful of wineries. Alternatively, you might visit them at your own pace with your hire car, spending as much time as you like sampling world-famous and smaller boutique wines. Some of the most popular wineries to visit include De Bortoli Wines and Brokenwood Wines.
Revitalise yourself at a spas
Relax and rejuvenate in the Hunter Valley. If you’re escaping Sydney for a quiet getaway then there’s a good chance you’ll be in need of some “me time” at one of the region’s top spas. Pick Thai Nature Massage at Cessnock if you want to revive yourself. There’s also The Spa at Chateau Elan, where you can choose facial and/or body treatments. It also features a hydro lounge and deck area, where you can admire panoramic views from an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Enjoy shopping and art
The Hunter Valley also caters for the type that loves to shop. It may not be the type of shopping you’ll see in big cities like Sydney or Melbourne, but the region offers boutique stores, including art and homewares. Lovedale Antiques Old Wares and Gallery features original Australian furniture and art. Splurge on the latest exhibition at the Cessnock Art Gallery, see glassblowers use their talents or walk through Kurri Kurri’s outdoor murals.