The Hunter Valley and the region surrounding it is one the most scenic parts of NSW.
It is known as ‘wine country’ and some of the world’s best wines come from this place.
Foodies will find themselves in food heaven with beautifully prepared dishes with fresh produce and gourmet ingredients.
As you drive along the roads, you will pass kilometres and kilometres of lush grass with vine neatly draped on strings that line the vineyards. You really can’t even see any establishments from the road unless you drive up into the driveways which eventually wind into the main estate building.
It will feel like you are a million miles away, but the Hunter Valley is just over 2 hours from Sydney. Quiet country towns surround this area and in busy periods they may be good options to consider when the area gets booked out.
So if you want to be right in the middle make sure you make your reservations well in advance!
The Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop
A word of warning so you know what to expect – this is a shop as the name suggests, not a cheese factory. There are no tours or viewing for the production of cheese.
For cheese lovers, there are many gourmet options such as the below:
- Favoured nuts
There is a quite a range of options that you can mix and match. Service can take some time as there can be a high volume of customers being served at the shop during certain times but their customer service is wonderful. Lots of options to try before you buy to ensure you are happy.
Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
If you are a chocolate lover and you love to indulge then you might find this place gives you that nice finish to complement the last meal you had.
Many people visit this shop with the expectation that they will see rich chocolate drips moving from one part of the machinery to another and being prepared to be shaped and packaged. Again this is a shop, not a factory, but they do have a workspace where, if you are lucky, they might be making a fresh batch. With a stroke of luck you might have even arrived at a time where you can sample the chocolate they have made!
In the shop you will find quality items like truffles, fudge slices, chocolate covered nuts, bottled chocolate that you can use as spreads on toast or ice cream, chocolate covered coffee beans, chocolate blocks and of course little indulgent and luxurious chocolate treats.
Prices are on the higher side as it is a boutique style chocolate shop and service can be a hit or a miss depending on the time you visit and how busy it is. There are also lots of options for those with dietary requirements such as dairy-free and gluten fee.
They also have a café on site if you want to grab something to eat or drink. Whatever you choose to consume (*ahem* hot chocolate!) you would be doing it with a beautiful view and fresh country air.
For those who are not crazy about chocolate but would love to try something different, they have chilli chocolate, where sweetness meets spice.
Hunter Valley Garden
Hunter Valley Garden is another place you can visit for those that enjoy greenery. Filled with beautiful landscapes, flowers, and themed areas such as Storybook Garden, which has plenty of characters that the children will recognise, love and enjoy.
Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular
If you visit the Hunter Valley in January, then make sure you go to the Christmas Lights spectacular held at the Hunter Valley Gardens. It runs from 1 to 26 January and there are lots of figures, statues and displays that are lit up.
Tickets either allow you to enter for the regular day pass or for the Christmas Spectacular, not both, so choose wisely 🙂
Hunter Valley Hot Air Ballooning
For a truly memorable experience try hot air ballooning. Hovering high above the trees and hearing nothing but the sound of the flames of the fire thrusting the balloon higher into the sky. There is nothing between you and the ground except the basket you are standing in. It is quite the sight!
There are a number of companies providing this service and they are able to customise your flight if you are travelling with a group or if you are planning to pop the question. Some packages include photography and some with breakfast, some with both depending on what suits your taste or requirements.
Prices range between $225 – $300 for a morning flight.
Whatever you do, you cannot miss visiting a winery (or a few), such as McGuigans, Tyrells, Tamburlaine and Tempus Two Barrell Room. Due to increased visitors to the area there is a $5 charge per person to do wine tasting at some places. The wines made here can vary quite a bit in flavour and intensity from one winemaker to the next, so you’ll be sure to find something that you like.
Are you visiting the Hunter Valley soon? Have you been to a great spot that hasn’t been mentioned above. Let us know in the comments below.
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