“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, especially when tastings start from just $5!
As a local Sydneysider, I’ve undertaken several day 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.
Due to government restrictions on numbers at wineries and 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!
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.
This guide to fun things to do in Hunter Valley will cover:
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.
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 wine tasting
Known as Wine Country here in New South Wales, you are really spoilt for choice when it comes to wine tasting in the Hunter Valley. From reds to whites and specialty drops, it’s all here for you to enjoy.
Did you know due to recent health restrictions and visitor numbers placed on each winery, walk-ins are no longer accepted? It’s now mandatory to pre-book any Hunter Valley wine tasting tours or experiences. It’s no hassle as Klook helps to make this a breeze!
If you’re not familiar with Klook, this popular booking platform makes it super convenient to bring you local experiences at over 350 destinations around the world. I personally love them and have explained the benefits of Klook here.
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. Simply download their app to your smartphone and you’ll be all set for the Hunter Valley.
How to get wine tasting experiences for $5
Contrary to popular belief, Hunter Valley wine tasting doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. In fact, each experience can be as little as $5 – here’s how!
Most wine tastings at individual wineries actually range from $5 – $10 each. My detailed guide to pre-booked cheap wine tastings in the Hunter Valley covers more of what to expect. It’s a good one to save for later so take a look once you’re done here.
Popular Wineries in the Hunter Valley
- Briar Ridge – The antipasto platters served as part of their wine tasting experience are also great value! Book here →
- 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 →
Enjoy FREE activities with NSW ‘Dine & Discover’ Vouchers
Hey NSW! Looking for more fun experiences in Sydney and across our state? Browse & book these 30 FREE activities with the NSW Government ‘Dine & Discover’ vouchers. Hurry, it’s only for a limited time!
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!
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 eating your creations at the end!
- Hope to gain culinary skills from an executive chef during a lunch or dinner session? Book a private cooking class here.
- Want to learn how to create pizza from scratch with fresh organic tomatoes? Book a pizza making class for all ages here.
- Have a sweet tooth? Join the fun of creating sweet treats from scratch! Book a candy making class here.
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 private couples horse and carriage wine tour here, or a small group horse and carriage wine tour with lunch here.
Explore further on motorised wheels
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. Due to current regulations, it’s essentials to pre-purchase your tickets. 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.
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 families. Buy tickets in advance here (November – January).
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!
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.
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
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 $12 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.
Concluding exciting things to do in the Hunter Valley
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,
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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!