“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder.

So you’re looking for fun things to do in the Hunter Valley? While wine tasting is one of the main draw cards to the region, I can assure you there is so much more to this stunning destination besides visiting the wineries. However, I won’t argue that’s a marvellous option as well!

As a local Sydneysider, I’ve undertaken several road trips from Sydney to the Hunter Valley but I recently enjoyed an extended weekend stay as there are many new experiences to be had. I love being an invisible tourist so escaping to the country was a great way to refresh, recharge and appreciate the small pleasures that can be forgotten in the usual daily grind.

17 Exciting Things to Do in the Hunter Valley for a Country Escape | The Invisible Tourist

Due to the growing popularity of the Hunter Valley as a weekend destination, it’s never been more important to book experiences in advance. But where can you find them, and how can you book hassle-free?

If you’re wanting to learn about Hunter Valley attractions you may not have heard of, I’ve teamed up with Klook to bring you this detailed guide to the region. From getting closer to nature, a heaven for foodies and unlimited fun, there are so many things to do in the Hunter Valley for all ages. Read on for more!

 This guide to fun things to do in Hunter Valley will cover:

  • Go glamping under the stars
  • Enjoy ample wine tasting
    • How to get wine tasting experiences for $1
    • Popular wineries in the Hunter Valley
  • Take in a birds-eye view of the Hunter region
  • Create culinary delights with local produce at a cooking class
  • Delve deeper into the Hunter Valley by horse riding
  • Explore further on motorised wheels
  • Relax in the stunning Hunter Valley Gardens
  • Get hands on with grapes
  • Eat your way through a chocolate and fudge factory
  • Try your hand at go-karting
  • Unwind at a day spa
  • Perfect your swing at a round of golf
  • Go kangaroo spotting
  • Explore further afield
  • BONUS: Things to do in the Hunter Valley for non drinkers 

This article was written in partnership with Klook and contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

17 Fun Things to Do in the Hunter Valley for a Country Escape | The Invisible Tourist
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NOTE: This article about to things to do in the Hunter Valley forms part of my guide to weekend getaways from Sydney, so take a look once you’re done here for more inspiration.

Fun & Unique things to do in the Hunter Valley

Go glamping under the stars

Looking for where to stay in the Hunter Valley? Staying in a TinyAway house is a completely unique experience to be had if you like the idea of “glamping” – you’ll love these eco-friendly and portable mini houses! 

Enjoy a night or two under the stars in a fully equipped house with bedding, kitchen, decor and more to escape from reality (and crowds) in a secluded location around Pokolbin or Broke. Read more and book here!

 

Enjoy ample Hunter Valley wine tasting

Known as Wine Country here in New South Wales, you are really spoilt for choice when it comes to wine tastings in the Hunter Valley. This is Australia’s oldest wine region, almost 200 years to be exact, and some local vineyards have been rallying for recognition of UNESCO World Heritage status.

From reds to whites and specialty drops, it’s all here for you to enjoy. Bookings for individual wineries are becoming more attractive to visitors, so securing your spot in advance is a good idea to avoid being turned away.

Popular Wineries in the Hunter Valley

Combining a wine tasting with curated food is one of the most popular things to do in the Hunter Valley for couples. Some of my personal favourite cellar doors include:

  • Tulloch Wines – One of my personal favourites. If you’re travelling with little ones, a Junior Tasting is also available to keep them busy. Book here →
  • Audrey Wilkinson – Producing wine for over 160 years, this colonial style cellar door is the perfect place to watch the sun set with 360° views over the region. Book here →
  • Brokenwood – Renowned 5 star premium cellar door offering a behind-the-scenes winery tour in a casual setting. Book here →
  • Oakvale – With a focus on minimal intervention throughout the wine making process, this cellar door is vegan friendly. Book here →
  • Briar Ridge – The antipasto platters served as part of their wine tasting experience are also great value! Book here →

Wine and chocolate tasting is one of the fun things to do in the Hunter Valley

TOP: Wine tasting & antipasto platters at Briar Ridge ~ MIDDLE: Wine & chocolate pairing at Tulloch ~ BOTTOM: Cute “Junior Tasting” at Tulloch

Take in a birds-eye view of the Hunter Region

Seeing the Hunter Valley from the skies is a truly memorable experience. It’s a unique way to mark a special occasion such as an anniversary, birthday or even to pop the question! Admire the unobstructed views of Brokenback Mountain Range, expansive emerald vineyards and perhaps some native animals at sunrise.

Sunrise hot air balloon flight

Personally, I was a little hesitant to go hot air ballooning at first. Despite this I bit the bullet anyway and it wasn’t as scary as I had expected – I’d even love to fly again in another destination someday!

Find out why and what to expect in my detailed guide to a sunrise hot air balloon flight in Sydney, or book your Hunter Valley balloon flight here.

Scenic helicopter flight

I’d have to say one of the most fun things to do in the Hunter Valley is fly in a helicopter. If you’ve always wanted to give it a try, soaring over the Hunter region is a great place to start!

Admire the geometric patterns created by the vineyards, appreciate the scale of the Hunter Valley Gardens, discover the beauty of Brokenback Mountain Range from above with rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my scenic helicopter flight in the Hunter Valley, for me the lift off from Cessnock Airport was the most exciting part. Aviation lovers, this one’s for you! Book your Hunter Valley helicopter flight here.

With thanks to Klook for partially gifting me this amazing experience!

Create culinary delights with local produce at a cooking class

Cooking classes are the perfect way to learn about local food and culture. If you’re a foodie, this is a must-do! Learn how to cook in traditional ways from an experienced chef in the Hunter Valley and enjoy sampling local organic produce. I’d have to say the best part is being able to dine on your creations at the end! 

Delve deeper into the Hunter Valley by horse riding

If you’d rather keep your feet closer to sea level, a few hours venturing around the region or horseback is worth considering.

See a different side of the Hunter Valley often overlooked by visitors by exploring our native bushland, abundant farmland and photogenic vineyards at a casual pace. This experience is great for beginners, too! Book your own horseback ride through the vineyards trails here, or in a private vineyard here.

TIP: Celebrating a special occasion? Enjoy a horse and carriage ride around the Hunter instead! Book a small group horse and carriage wine tour with lunch here

Explore further on motorised wheels

Segway tour

If you’re like me and have always wanted to try a Segway outside of busy European cobblestone streets, now’s your chance with this fun idea for things to do in the Hunter Valley! A Segway tour will help you discover late 19th century trails overlooking Brokenback Mountain and the opportunity to see native fauna such as kangaroos and wombats. Book your Segway experience here.

Electric bicycle tour

Enjoying the fresh countryside air by pedalling through vineyards is a lovely way to explore the Hunter Valley. Hire an electric bike to take the hard work out of it, explore at your own pace, stop off anywhere you like along the way. Bike hire includes a local map and a quick run-down of the bike’s features. Hire for half or full day here!

Relax in the stunning Hunter Valley Gardens

The award-winning Hunter Valley Gardens is one of the most popular attractions and for good reason. With beautifully manicured landscapes depicting different corners of the world, you could be strolling through an Italian grotto one moment and amongst bamboo groves from China the next! 

NOTE: It’s not widely publicised that the Hunter Valley Gardens are not free to enter. Buy your Hunter Valley Gardens tickets in advance here! 

Founded by Bill Roche of nearby Roche Estate in 2003, the gardens feature areas for visitors of all ages. It’s especially popular in the NSW school holidays. 

Kids will adore the Storybook Garden where life-size characters from children’s classics tell their stories through sculpture. Have a tea party with Alice in Wonderland, stop Humpty Dumpty from falling off the wall and roll down a hill with Jack and Jill. 

Keep your eyes out for the exquisite Rose Garden featuring a unique rose commissioned by Bill for his wife, Imedla. It’s exclusive to the Hunter Valley Gardens so you won’t find it anywhere else.

TIP: From November to January annually, the Christmas Lights Spectacular illuminations make this one of the most popular things to do in the Hunter valley at night. Featuring over 3 million lights, Santa’s Castle, theme park rides and more makes it a fun experience for the whole family. Buy tickets in advance here.

Things to Do in Hunter Valley Gardens | The Invisible Tourist

Get hands on with grapes

If you’re a pro at consuming grapes in their alcoholic form, why not expand your knowledge into learning more about the traditional winemaking process and history? These laugh-inducing outdoor activities are for you!

Grape stomping

Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians (and some traditionalists) believe grape stomping is a crucial part of the wine making process. Get barefoot in a vat while learning how all the skins, seeds and stems don’t end up on your glass by booking your grape stomping experience here.

Wine barrel rolling race

There’s no need to travel to Italy for a Tuscan experience! Wine barrel rolling has ties to a 14th century race in Tuscany (read more about it in my guide to the Hunter Valley for non drinkers). It’s fun to carry on this tradition here in the Hunter Valley – I challenge you to try and keep the barrel straight!

Rolling barrels of local wine is a great activity for small groups with laughing guaranteed. Book your wine barrel rolling experience here

Where to find cheap wine tasting in the Hunter Valley

Eat your way through a chocolate and fudge factory

Attention fellow chocolate lovers! The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is a must to add to your itinerary, with some of the creamiest treats on offer. Not only do they specialise in delectable handmade chocolates, your sweet tooth will have a field day sampling a wide range of fudge and gelato, too! It’s one of the tastiest things to do in Pokolbin.

Try your hand at go-karting

If you’re looking for fun things to do in the Hunter Valley with kids, Go Karts Go! is an exciting option. With junior karts available for children over 5 years, there’s plenty of fun to be had on 850 metres of track. Or go tandem in a twin kart!

Unwind at a day spa

One of the most relaxing ways to unwind in the Hunter Valley is to spend time at a day spa. Ubika Spa located within the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley resort in Lovedale offers a huge range of treatments to pamper yourself, including nourishing facials, body scrubs, hot stone massages and more. It’s a popular treat for hens parties or bridal showers!

Perfect your swing at a round of golf

For more ideas for Hunter Valley activities, why not take a shot at Aqua Golf? Located within the grounds of the Hunter Valley Gardens is this unusual game as well as Putt Putt golf. Win a prize by hitting a golf ball into a floating Aqua Golf target net! It’s fun for all ages and costs $13 for an Aqua Golf & 18 holes of Putt Putt combo ticket.

For those who take golf more seriously, some 18 hole championship golf courses in the Hunter Valley include:

  • Hunter Valley Golf & Country Club at the Crowne Plaza resort in Lovedale
  • Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort in Pokolbin
  • Vintage Golf Club at the Chateau Elan in Rothbury

Go kangaroo spotting

Trying to spy the marsupial on our national emblem is one of the few free things to do in the Hunter Valley. The best time to spot kangaroos is at dawn and dusk, and they tend to venture into vineyards near bushland to make for iconic photos from this region.

These roos aren’t tame and are easily spooked, so it’s wise to watch them from a distance. It’s definitely worth waking up early for this “only in Australia” moment!

Explore further afield

Need some extra inspiration for Hunter Valley attractions? These suggestions for the central and greater region may suit your tastes:

  • Immerse yourself in nature by hiking amongst Barrington Tops National Park 
  • Check out a local art gallery, such as Watershed Gallery or Greg Wilson Gallery in Pokolbin or Morpeth Gallery in Morpeth 
  • Pick up some locally-made cosy goods Mortels Sheepskin Factory in Thornton or Warners Bay
  • Learn about Aboriginal art and culture in and Australia’s colonial history in Wollombi Valley 
  • Admire 60 outdoor artworks along the Kurri Kurri murals trail (each includes a kookaburra for you to find!)

BONUS: Things to do in Hunter Valley for non drinkers

While some people may argue that no visit would be complete without wine tasting, I can assure you there are plenty of enjoyable experiences if you prefer not to drink or are looking for things to do in the Hunter Valley for families! Check out my detailed guide to the best things to do in the Hunter Valley for non drinkers for a few extra things not mentioned here.

Roses and Vineyard in the Hunter Valley | The Invisible Tourist

Concluding exciting things to do in the Hunter Valley NSW

I hope this article has given you plenty of ideas to add to your Hunter Valley to do list! From getting closer to nature to sampling the best wines, seeing different sides of the region through various experiences will guarantee your trip is unforgettable.

Which of these things to do are you most looking forward to? Are there any others you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Sending a huge thanks to Klook for making this article and these experiences possible!

Do you need more ideas for getaways on Australia’s east coast? Take a look at all my articles for Australia and greater Oceania while you’re here, read my Amazon #1 New Release book, or come and join me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for more travel inspiration!

Until next time, 

The Invisible Tourist


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17 Fun Things to Do in the Hunter Valley for a Country Escape | The Invisible Tourist

Images watermarked with the Klook logo remain the copyright of Klook and are used with permission. This guide to things to do in the Hunter Valley contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!


 

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