A Weekend Guide To The Hunter Valley: The NSW Region’s Greatest Hits
— 14 September 2023

A Weekend Guide To The Hunter Valley: The NSW Region’s Greatest Hits

— 14 September 2023
John McMahon
John McMahon

It may not have the lustre of the Barossa Valley or the excitement of Adelaide Hills, but Hunter Valley is easily one of the most valuable wine regions in the country.

Spanning 30,000 square kilometres, the stretch of bucolic New South Wales central coast is flecked with over 150 wineries, restaurants and estates, making it a bit of a playground for those who love to eat and drink well.

Centre yourself around the Lower Hunter town of Pokolbin, fan out to wineries like Hungerford Hill, Scarborough and Whispering Brook, and you’ll quickly understand the hype. With that in mind, you’ll want to focus on the quintessential experiences before you go rogue; for that, check out Boss Hunting’s official weekend guide to the Hunter Valley.

Hunter Valley Guide

Best time to go: Anytime, really. Autumn (late March to late May) and Spring (September to November) are perfect for mild temperatures and prime weather.

How to get there: Just over 2 hours on the M1 north of Sydney.

Where To Stay

voco Kirkton Park

(Photo by Voco Hotels)

The voco Kirkton Park is a low-key, meticulously appointed boutique country estate that makes you feel like you’re a guest at a rich uncle’s rustic vineyard, rather than a crammed inner city hotel. The refined luxury is accentuated by a combination of soothing blue and white colours enclosed by tiered waterfalls and beautiful rose gardens. Your one-stop shop for destination weddings and romantic weekends away. The ‘Signature Suite’ is as incredible as it sounds. Check out our complete review for more.

Spicers Guest House

(Photo by Spicers Guest House)

The renovated Spicer’s Guest House offers a modern elegance where wine & exploration is always front and centre. A five-star hotel located in the heart of the Hunter Valley. You’ll feel a sense of relaxed luxury as soon as you arrive.

Where To Eat

EXP. Restaurant

(Photo by EXP. Restaurant)

This is one of the most premium options in the Pokolbin area. EXP Restaurant is well-established as a bit of a dining institution for rural NSW, driven by a kitchen that changes its set menu weekly, based on the best produce available. This hyperlocal approach ensures top quality each time but it’d be useless to point out any signatures given the list changes so often. Just know that you’ll be in very good hands once you walk through those doors into this very well-dressed fine dining room.

Muse Restaurant

(Photo by Muse Restaurant)

Here’s another award-winning, fine dining experience, that is as highly regarded as EXP. You’ll find Muse Restaurant on-site at the popular Hungerford Hill winery, awaiting guests with a very attractive dining room that’s elegant and eccentric in equal measure. A reasonable $155 per person will net you the five-course menu, which changes by season and presents home-style, produce-driven meals like black garlic braised beef cheek with black olive, star anise, pink turnip and leaves.

Bistro Molines

(Photo by Bistro Molines)

Expect refined French food when heading along to Bistro Molines, which is the on-site restaurant at Carillon Wines. It’s a consistent winner for both locals and visitors with most online reviews praising the country-chic decor that helps the menu sink in that much easier, touting classics like twice roasted duck with braised red cabbage, speck, peas and orange glaze, and market fish with taramasalata, broccolini and chive Beurre blanc sauce.


Hungerford Hill

(Photo by Hungerford Hill)

For an unparalleled food and wine matching experience, Hungerford Hill’s cellar door has partnered with Muse, to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to the fruits and roots on offer in the Hunter. Their ‘Epic Tasting Experience’ is a broad selection of Hungerford Hill wines matched to bite-sized dishes from Muse. 

Whispering Brook

(Photo by Whispering Brook)

Drive 15 minutes west of Pokolbin, the hub of the Hunter Valley, and you’ll come to Broke, tucked away in the hills of the valley rim. Whispering Brook’s cellar door is one of the standouts in the region, and their vineyard’s unique combination of terra rossa and sandy loam soils are ideal for Shiraz and Semillon grape varieties respectively.

David Hook Wines

(Photo by David Hook Wines)

The provincial sandstone cellar door enclosed by a quaint courtyard is one of the prime picks for low-key vineyard experiences. Here is a great spot to try the classics of the Hunter, including Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz, while also dabbling in a few emerging varieties for the region including Pinot Grigio and Barbera.



(Photo by DestinationNSW, Richard Weinstein)

If you’ve ever wanted to have a hit at one of the country’s most exclusive courses, LuxGolf is your answer. Travis and his team have access to the Hunter’s two most sought-after championship resort courses, including Cypress Lakes and The Vintage. This golden ticket also comes with private Porsche transfers, a personal game day kit, and the use of premium Callaway graphite or steel clubs.

There’s no better way to start your Saturday morning with a tee-off over rows of amber-coloured vines surrounded by curious wildlife. LuxGolf offers a ‘Nine & Vines’ tour which includes an overnight villa experience of indulgence, unparalleled in wine, exquisite food and least of all, the country’s two most picturesque courses to enjoy a hit with the boys.

Slattery Helicopter Tours

(Photo by Slattery Helicopter Tours)

You’ve never truly seen the beauty of something until you’ve seen it from the air. This rings especially true in the Hunter Valley. Jay and his crew at Slattery Helicopter Tours offer everything from $60 short and sweet scenic flights to full-on day charters.

If you’re strategic enough and plan in advance, you can even have the heli land right outside voco Kirkton Park, and take you to pretty much any hotspot in the valley. Working up a little wine buzz by hopping between vineyards in a helicopter is something you have to experience for yourself.

Sunrise Hot Air Ballooning

(Photo by Sunrise Hot Air Ballooning)

If the roar of a helicopter isn’t quite your thing, or you’re after a more tranquil form of waking up, a sunrise hot air balloon ride above the valley is definitely the option for you.

As the crisp valley air slices through your clothes, and the warmth of the sun finally breaks the horizon, imagine slowly rising above the fog line and seeing half a dozen other balloons resting on the clouds around you.

After soaring to over 2,000 feet in a silent suspension above the valley, you’ll come back to solid ground before enjoying a Champagne breakfast at Peterson House. Packages start from $270 per person.

Festivals & Gigs

Hunter Valley Food & Wine Festival

(Photo by Hunter Valley Food & Wine Festival)

This one seems pretty self-explanatory. Yes, even the Hunter Valley has its own food and wine festival. Running through May & June, the festival showcases the best in winemaking masterclasses, gourmet dining experiences and hands-on cooking classes, complemented by cosy evenings by the fire. During this time you’ll find a plethora of accommodation deals and promotions.

Wine Machine

(Photo by Wine Machine)

The extremely popular throw-back music festival, Hot Tub Time Machine, has a vino-centric brother. Over a selection of weekends in March and April each year, scattered at varying vineyards across the valley, you’ll be able to mix your favourite chardonnays with all-time classic tunes. Think a family picnic with booze and tunes meets festival vibes. You have no reason not to time your weekend in the Valley with this boutique day party.

Prefer to stick closer to the big city? Check out some of our Sydney content.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is Hunter Valley from Sydney?

It will take you roughly 2 hours to drive from Sydney to Hunter Valley via the M1 and Hunter Expressway.

How many days do you need in the Hunter Valley?

With the number of wineries and restaurants in the Hunter Valley, we’d recommend spending at least two to three days in this region.

Where is the best place to stay in Hunter Valley?

When visiting the Hunter Valley you’ll want to stay close to Pokolbin as it’s the main town in the area.

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John McMahon
John McMahon is a founding member of the Boss Hunting team who honed his craft by managing content across website and social. Now, he's the publication's General Manager and specialises in bringing brands to life on the platform.


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