Hunter Valley Cheese and Wine Tasting Tours

If there was ever a match made in heaven, it’s fine wine and matched cheeses. And on an iHop Hunter Valley cheese and wine tasting tour, you can indulge in the very best of both while enjoying the beautiful backdrop of the Hunter Valley vineyards – a region that many say is not far off heaven itself, but within easy reach of Sydney.

No matter whether you’re a committed gourmet wine and cheese lover, or you’re simply looking for a special weekend getaway, or a unique and memorable group activity, a Hunter Valley cheese and wine tour is literally a feast for the senses.    

A cheese lover’s paradise

When you think about the Hunter Valley, most people think of it as a wine destination, and rightly so. After all, it is recognised across the world as one of the great wine regions. But what you might not know is that the Hunter Valley is quickly becoming equally famous for its fine cheeses.

Given the wonderfully rich grazing land that has been producing top quality dairy produce for generations, it’s not surprising that the Hunter Valley has attracted the talents of leading cheese makers that now produce an extensive array of cheese styles with their own particular Hunter Valley personality. In much the same way that wine reflects the regionality of where it is made, so too with dairy produce and the cheeses that the region inspires.

So many Hunter Valley cheese shops

The Hunter Valley Cheese Co is just one of the standout cheese makers that is a perennial favourite on any Hunter Valley cheese tour. This boutique cheese factory with it’s own maturation and tasting rooms, offers a fascinating insight into the cheese making process using local dairy produce. After you’ve filled your mind with the help one of the company’s cheese specialists, fill your mouth with an extensive sampling selection of the company’s artisan handmade cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses, including fromage blanc, feta, brie, washed rind, natural rind, cheddar, tommes and blue vein styles.

Other popular options that are open to the public include Cheesemaker Simon Gough’s Binnorie Dairy that specialises in soft cheeses and the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop, which, for added decadence, is also home to the Hunter Valley Gelato Company.

The best of Hunter Valley wine and cheese in one

One of the best ways to experience the best cheese and wine the Hunter has to offer is by joining iHops Wine and Cheese Lovers’ Progressive Dinner Tours. The name pretty much says it all. But there’s more to it than simply tasting the best of the cheese makers’ art.

Typically lasting for about three-and-a-half hours, on these nighttime tours you’ll get the full Hunter Valley experience that combines sampling fine wines and cheeses and dinner at award-winning restaurants set amongst beautiful vineyard surrounds. You’ll also get an insight into the art of perfect cheese and wine pairing and a private look behind the scenes of a working family vineyard.

This is by no means the only option. In fact, you can enjoy local cheese plates and matched wines on iHop’s Taste ‘n’ Graze Tour and on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tours you will be able to visit and sample all of the Hunter’s best cheese offerings at cheese factories, shops and cellar doors.

If you’re looking for something different to the organised tours, or there are particular providers or sites you’d like your group to visit on a Hunter Valley cheese and wine tasting tour, the iHop team can help you put together a tour itinerary to suit your needs.

Getting to the Hunter Valley from Sydney

Given its proximity and easy transport connections to Sydney, the Hunter Valley is ideal for an overnight or weekend getaway.

Driving from Sydney, the distance to the Hunter Valley is around 160 kilometres, via the most direct route north on the M1 motorway. This will have you in the Hunter Valley in around two to two-and-a-half hours. Follow the Cessnock/Hunter Valley exit sign to Cessnock. That said, there are a variety of scenic coastal and country routes to enjoy that take a little longer.  

Catching to the train from Sydney’s Central Station is another easy and popular option. Trains to the Hunter Valley area leave regularly throughout the day. Google Transport NSW Trip Planner for details.

Flying to Newcastle from Sydney is another option. From Newcastle hire a car, or take a bus service to your destination.

iHop offers a range of tour pick-up points throughout the region, depending on the tour you choose. These will be listed along with the tour details.

Given the region’s popularity as a tourism destination, the accommodation options are wide and varied, from budget to boutique 5-star winery stays. Any good accommodation-booking website or travel agent will have a host of options to suit your budget.

Find out more about iHop’s Hunter Valley cheese and wine tour options here.

Hunter Valley Wine Tours from Sydney

No matter whether you’re a passionate wine lover, or just a lover of a relaxed tipple with friends and family in gorgeous surrounds, a Hunter Valley wine tour has to be on your bucket list. And the best bit is, if you’re a Sydney local or travelling to the City, Hunter Valley wine tours is within easy reach from Sydney and a must do!

Why choose a Hunter Valley wine tour?

Well, if you’re not familiar with the Hunter Valley, first up you should know that it’s recognised as a world renowned wine destination, with some 150 cellar doors located within the Hunter Valley region. And as you would expect, where there’s great wine, there’s great food, and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

But more than that, the Hunter Valley is also a diverse agricultural centre known for its top produce and stunning natural beauty, as well as a growing crop of distinctive craft breweries and distilleries that are fast capturing international attention.

Add to that a host of great events and shows staged throughout the year and you’ve really got your hands full just trying to make a choice on what to include on your Hunter Valley itinerary.

One of the more practical advantages of the Hunter Valley for locals and travellers alike is its proximity to Sydney. Depending on what transport option you choose, you can find yourself in the heart of Hunter Valley wine country from the Sydney CBD in less than three hours. You’ll find more details later in this article under the section: What’s the best way to get there from Sydney?

Why choose an organised wine tour?

For many people, there are two standout reasons you’d choose an organised Hunter Valley wine tour rather than going it alone.

Firstly, everything is taken care of for you. You can just sit back and relax. There’s no driving, no navigating, no flipping a coin for who’s going to be the designated driver afterwards. Feel free to enjoy a tipple and know you’ll be safe and sound.

Secondly, the knowledge of a local guide can be of great assistance in finding places and enjoying experiences that you might not have known about or stumbled across otherwise. What’s more, in some cases, a good local guide can get special deals and access privileges that may not available to other visitors.

What type of Hunter Valley wine tours are there?

iHop Hunter Valley offers a range of tours that are planned for ease and convenience or, alternatively, the team at iHop specialise in custom corporate Hunter Valley wine tours and events to suit your interests, group size and importantly what you want to see and do.

Your options include a personalised Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours that give the flexibility and independence to experience the Hunter Valley in your own way and at your own pace. There are more than 50 venues that you can choose from to visit.

If you’re also a bit of a foodie, jumping aboard iHop’s Taste ‘n’ Graze tour is a great option. On this tour you not only get to sample great wines, but also the best of the region’s fresh produce and cheeses from the Hunter Valley’s best providores, from fine chocolate to award-winning whisky, you’re going to find it all on this tour. You’ll also pick up a few tips and educational insights on how to best pair food and wine.

iHop’s Hunter Valley Night Tours are another popular tour option. There are two types you can choose from: Wine and Cheese Lover’s Progressive Dinner Tour, or the Taste of the Hunter After Dark Tour.

As the name suggests, the Wine and Cheese Lover’s Progressive Dinner combines tasting the finest wines and cheeses, as well as special treats like a behind-the-scenes peak into a working family winery and learning the art of wine and cheese matching. Afterwards enjoy a 3-course dinner and drinks at a further two award-winning local restaurants.

With the Taste of the Hunter After Dark Tour, you will start with a guided tasting of some of the regions best wines and cheeses. But for a bit of a different take on the Hunter, you’ll sample some the region’s great craft beers and ciders, paired with delicious local bites with an insight into the beer making process at a local boutique brewery, followed with a selection of sumptuous wood-fired pizza’s and sides as you continue your exploration of the Hunter Valley after dark.

Keep in mind that iHop can also cater for custom night corporate and large group tours as well.

What’s the best way to get there from Sydney?

When you’re planning a Hunter Valley wine tour, you have several options for getting there from Sydney.

If you’re travelling by car, getting to the Hunter Valley is easy. Simply follow the main northbound freeway (the A1 or Pacific Highway) from the city and follow the signs. Travelling time is typically around two to three hours.

The train is a good option if you prefer to leave the transport worries to somebody else. Trains to the Hunter Valley vicinity (Singleton and Maitland being the closest stops) and nearby Newcastle leave regularly from Sydney’s Central Station.

iHop offers tour pick up points throughout the local area within the Hunter Valley, depending on the tour option you choose. You’ll find details under each of the tour pages on the website.

What are the accommodation options?

As you would expect there are a plethora of accommodation options in the Hunter Valley and surrounds, both on wineries and off. You’ll find that any good accommodation-booking website will have a host of choices to suit your budget.

If you’re particularly looking for a cost-effective hunter valley wine tours from Sydney, taking the train from Sydney, connecting to the local area and then jumping aboard the iHop Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is a great budget-friendly option.

You can find out more about iHop’s Hunter Valley wine tour options here.