The problem with choosing from the top restaurants in the Hunter Valley is that there are just so many fantastic options it’s difficult to know where to start. Here’s a little food-for-thought that might help you make an informed choice.

What’s so good about Hunter Valley restaurants?

World-renowned as a food and wine tourism hotspot, it’s not surprising that the Hunter Valley boasts some of the country’s best restaurants and top chefs.

What makes the Hunter Valley particularly special is that it’s most likely produced locally, from world-class wines (naturally) to handcrafted beers and spirits, award-winning beef, poultry and cheeses, to fresh fruits and vegetables bursting with goodness. 

The broad diversity of regional produce means that, no matter what the time of year, you can expect an incredible array of seasonal dishes with a unique Hunter Valley flavour.

Premium fine dining in the Hunter Valley

If you are looking for a bit of white-tablecloth dining luxury, you won’t be disappointed in the Hunter Valley. From creative modern Australian cuisine using only the best ingredients, to classic European and Asian influenced menus with a distinct Hunter Valley twist, there is something wonderful waiting for every palate in the Hunter. And, as you would expect, the finest local and imported wines are carefully selected and matched to every course. It’s what the Hunter does best.

Here are some popular options to consider:

Circa 1876 – A Hunter Valley institution, famous for its farm-to-fork ethos and its organic kitchen gardens directly outside its windows. Get a taste for the region with the chef’s two-course, three-course, five-course and seven course tasting menus. 

EXP – This Hunter Valley favourite is famous for it’s inspired Australian menu that’s driven by local in-season produce. The wine-list features distinctive handcrafted wines from the family-owned Oakvale Winery. 

Margan Restaurant – Another of the Hunter’s most recognised restaurants, attached to the award-winning, family-owned winery. Pioneers of agri-dining in the region, the menu is based on what’s grown and raised on the estate.

Muse Restaurant – Another of the Hunter Valley’s foodie favourites, known for it’s fresh contemporary Australian dishes. Located in the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, this award-winning restaurant also boasts it’s own on-site farm garden.

Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyard Estate – Known for its sophisticated contemporary cuisine with a focus on wholesome and healthy local ingredients, not to mention its award-winning wine list and stunning views. Great for vegetarians and vegans.

Hunters Quarter – Located in the Cockfighters Ghost Vineyard, Hunters Quarter is the perfect stop in for any foodie. Under the watchful guise of chef Brian Duncan, Hunters Quarter produces tantalising seasonal dishes

Bistro MolinesBistro Molines is the Hunter Valley’s little slice of France. Feel welcomed by award winning owners Robert and Sally as you indulge in some of the finest food the Hunter has to offer.

Villa Du PaysTake advantage of the stunning alfresco views that Villa Du Pays has to offer. With a wonderfully paired À la carte menu that caters to the vegetarians of the group and a reputation for the best dry aged steaks in the Valley, you can’t go past this one.

Eremo Restaurant at Spicers GuesthouseAfter years in an Italian kitchen, hatted head chef Cameron Matthews found his way to the Hunter Valley and Eremo Restaurant. With an extensive menu displaying the best of Italian cuisine Eremo has earned its reputation in the Valley in a short space of time.

Top casual dining restaurants, cafes and more

The beauty of Hunter Valley dining is that even if the atmosphere is a little more casual and relaxed, you can be sure of the same superb standard of food and wine, with a focus on the best local and seasonal produce.

With a myriad of boutique producers, farms and providers throughout the Hunter Valley region, getting off the beaten track and heading to the farm gate or producer’s table can be another great way of experiencing the bounty of the region.

Here are some popular options to consider:

Amanda’s on the Edge – This charming restaurant is located on the hill above Windsor’s Edge Vineyard in Pokolbin and is famous for its charming verandah outlook and gorgeous views from every table.

Blaxlands Inn – If you’re looking for some hearty country comfort food and boutique wines, this is the place. For that special ambience, dine outside under stars by the open fire pit.

Lillino’s Bar and Trattoria – A taste of Italy in the Hunter Valley. Situated above the vines of St Clements Estate. Know for it’s wood-fired pizzas and Sardinian classics.

Goldfish Bar & Restaurant – Located within Roche Estate, Goldfish Bar & Restaurant is known as the social hub of the Hunter Valley. With its extensive wine list, numerous craft beers on tap and beautifully created cocktails, it is no wonder they have earned this reputation.

Yellow Billy Restaurant – There is nothing better than sitting by a fire in the colder months – nothing except watching your dinner being cooked over a custom made fire pit. Yellow Billy is unlike anything else in the Hunter Valley and strives to provide a flexible “shared plate” dining experience

Il CacciatorieAward winning bringing the best of Northern Italian cuisine to the Hunter Valley. Using the best ingredients from the area, II Cacciatorie creates a relaxed and delicious dining experience.

Leaves and FishesWith decor that is sure to stun and a menu to match, Leaves and Fishes is the perfect venue for a long leisurely lunch or dinner that focusses on beautiful Modern Australian Produce with an Asian twist.

Peterson’s HouseA Hunter Valley institution, Peterson’s House is known not only for its premium sparkling wines cellar door, but it’s extensive menu at Restaurant Cuvee. The perfectly paired menu combines the best of what Peterson’s has to offer.

Tatlers TapasWith 30 years experience as a chef, Andreas Burri brings the best tapas to the Hunter Valley. With share plates using the best ingredients in the area, Tatlers Tapas is perfect for large groups or something more intimate.

How to experience the best food and wine in the Hunter Valley

iHop’s Premium Food & Drink Pairing Tours and Twilight Tasting & Dinner Tours offer a convenient and hassle-free way to experience the best of the Hunter Valley’s restaurants, wineries and more at relaxed pace. No need to nominate a designated driver is just one of the added advantage.

You can find out more about Hunter Valley restaurants here.

As one of Australia’s premier food and wine tourism destinations, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales is blessed with a wide variety of excellent accommodation options.

So, where to stay in the Hunter Valley? Well, it all depends on where, when and what you want to see on your Hunter Valley trip. But no matter what the time of year, your particular food and wine travel desires, or your budget, you can be sure the Hunter Valley will not disappoint. With so much choice our guide will assist with some suggestions and help you figure out your options and make an informed decision.  

Staying among the vineyards

Naturally, as a world-famous wine-producing region, staying among the vineyards is a popular option for many visitors to the Hunter Valley. One of the great delights for many visitors is wandering among the vines as they sample the very wines that were produced on the spot from some of Australia’s oldest vineyards.

One of the advantages of staying on a vineyard is the opportunity to enjoy special features and activities, such as private wine tastings, winemaking and wine and food pairing classes, as well private vineyard explanatory tours, and alike. And with more than 150 wineries dotted throughout the Hunter Valley region, you’ll never be short of vineyards to explore. 

5 Star luxury in the Hunter Valley

If you like your accommodation ritzy with all the bells and whistles, the Hunter Valley has plenty of options. The region offers a host of 4 and 5-star resort and hotel choices that offer the kind of luxury facilities you would expect, such as swimming pools and spas, tennis courts, beauty spas, child-minding services, and more. A popular draw card for many is the region’s excellent golf facilities. Some resorts, such as the Crowne Plaza, boasts their own 18-hole courses, or you can enjoy a round at many of the other courses in the area including the Greg Norman designed course located within The Vintage.

Some popular choices to consider: Chateau Elan At the Vintage; Mercure Resort; Spicers Vineyards Estate and Guesthouse; Kirkton Park Hunter Valley; Tonic Hotel Rothbury; The Convent.

Top accommodation options to suit any taste and budget

Not matter whether you prefer a relaxed country farm-stay style of accommodation or a more modern, sophisticated style of accommodation, you’ll find the Hunter Valley has a wide variety of options to suit your taste and budget. From cosy country hotels and boutique B&Bs to backpacker-style budget accommodation, you’ll find there’s a welcome mat with your name on it in the Hunter Valley.

Popular options to consider: The Boathouses, Lovedale – just four individual suites overlooking a lily-filled lake; The Longhouse – looks like a rustic woolshed outside, relaxed luxury inside, other options include Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Hermitage Lodge, Leisure Inn Pokolbin Hill, Pokolbin Village, Weekenda, Ingenia Holiday Park, Wine Country Tourist Park, Estate Tuscany, Hunter Valley Resort, Potters, Harrigans Irish Pub & Accommodation, and H Boutique Hotel

A great place to stay in any season

One of the Hunter Valley’s great attractions as a short-stay food and wine holiday destination is that it has something unique to offer in every season of the year. Whether it’s sipping chilled whites overlooking the vines on a balmy summer’s afternoon, or savouring a rich red by an open fire in winter, every season has its charms in the Hunter.

Summer (December to February) is harvest time in the Hunter. This is the most vibrant time of the year, and perfect if you want to experience where the winemaking process begins. Autumn (March to May) as the temperature cools and the colours change is a beautiful time to enjoy the region’s bounty at a more relaxed pace. Winter (June to August) in the Hunter is known for it’s clear blue skies during the day, and an evening chill ideal for cuddling up by a romantic open fire. Spring (September to November) is when the region bursts back into life again. As the vineyards and pastures turn a lush green, it’s the ideal time for long walks and leisurely alfresco lunches featuring the new season’s produce.   

Getting around the Hunter Valley

Getting around the Hunter Valley is surprisingly easy. iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours are a great way to experience the best of what the Hunter Valley has to offer, when, where and how you choose. With stops visiting the most popular wineries, craft breweries and distilleries, restaurants and cafes, cheese makers, local providores and attractions of all sorts, you make your Hunter Valley tour exactly how you want it.

You’ll find details of iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour routes and stop information here.

Where to book your Hunter Valley stay

There are many ways you can find and book your Hunter Valley accommodation. Simply search for ‘hotels hunter valley’ or similar on your favourite hotel booking website. Alternatively, if you have a particular resort, hotel, motel, B&B or backpacker accommodation option in mind, visit their website where you can book directly. Suggest we recommend: https://www.winecountry.com.au/ for local accommodation options.

When booking, you’ll find many of the hotels, wineries and facilities are located around Pokolbin, Lovedale and Rothbury being the Heart of Wine Country located in the Lower Hunter Valley.

Getting to the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is located in the state of New South Wales (NSW) and is around two hours drive north of Sydney, and less than an hour’s drive from the city of Newcastle.

The Hunter Valley is world renowned as one of the greatest wine regions in Australia. Home to over 150 cellar doors that are dotted amongst the vineyards, including a number of highly acclaimed and award winning restaurants and wineries with mesmerising views.

Just two hours north of Sydney, Australia’s oldest wine region is surrounded by stunning natural beauty – and is the ultimate place to enjoy a semillon and shiraz in a picturesque setting.  

But what if wine isn’t your thing?

It’s not hard to see why the Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s biggest tourist destinations, and luckily, the world famous wine country has much more to offer than just wine. All of which you can experience on an iHop Hunter Valley Tour.

HUNTER DISTILLERY

Located in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country at Pokolbin, Hunter Distillery is locally owned and operated, and produce an exceptional range of top shelf spirits including Vodkas, Liqueurs, Schnapps, and their multi-award winning ‘Copperwave Distilled Gin’.  

Using only premium quality, organic raw ingredients to produce their spirits, Hunter Distillery offer daily tastings and makes for a perfect stop on your iHop Hunter Valley Tour.

THE HUNTER VALLEY CHOCOLATE COMPANY

Those with a sweet tooth will want to ensure they swing by this popular chocolate stores any 3 locations in Pokolbin, which offers an immense variety of chocolate types and flavours, as well as quality fudges and other confections that are made on-premises.

Established at the turn of last century, the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company has grown to become one of the region’s premier attractions, earning a reputation for quality and innovation. From watching Peter concoct his creations in the kitchen, to sitting back in the cafe to enjoy some chocolate-based excellence, let yourself enjoy some indulgence during your visit to wine country.

LOCAL MARKETS AND FESTIVALS

The Hunter Valley’s gourmet experiences are about as abundant as its world class wines. You can taste and buy local, mouth-watering produce at gourmet providores, festivals and markets all throughout the region.

Wine country has several monthly markets such as Handmade in the Hunter located at Kevin Sobels Wines and Hunter Wine Country Markets located at De Bortoli Wines, where you can meet stallholders and hear their stories, while stocking up on local cheese, olives, jams, freshly baked bread, handmade soaps, clothes and more.

There are a number of other festivals and events throughout the year that you must see as well – such as the Jazz in the Vines Festival, which hosts big celebrities each year in jazz, and the Lovedale Long Lunch, held each year in May.

PASTA MAKING AT SANDALYN

At Sandalyn’s Pasta Making Classes, enjoy a three-hour Tuscan style cooking class, where you will learn to make fresh pasta the traditional way. Enjoy the magic of turning flour and free range eggs, sticky fingers and laughter into mouth-watering pasta – the way it has been done for generations.

The class concludes with a leisurely two-course alfresco lunch – where the star attraction is you and the pasta you have just made.

Pasta making classes run every weekend, but can also be available midweek by arrangement.

HUNTER BEER CO

Hunter Beer Co (located at Potters Hotel Brewery Resort in Nulkaba) is a ‘must-do’ when planning your iHop Hunter Valley Tour. The brewery and tasting area is open to the public, and with 10 beers on tap, lets you either sample while watching the team hard at work, or if you prefer, order a schooner of your favourite and go sit and relax.

Hunter Beer Co have created a beer experience. You can have a chat to one of the brewers, watch them make the beer and sample the products that are all made on site. Tours are also available each afternoon for visitors to take a look ‘behind the scenes’ at one of the Hunter Valley’s best breweries.

HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS

A naturally beautiful experience in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country, the Hunter Valley Gardens was created by Bill Roche over a four year period, with a dedicated team of 40 landscape gardeners, architects and engineers.

The gardens are a place for the appreciation of nature and peaceful reflections, and now also a place for families and fun. The Hunter Valley Gardens hold a number of renowned annual events such as the Christmas Light Spectacular and Snow Time, and are also open 7 days a week for visitors to take a walk around the eight kilometres of walking paths, with more than six thousand trees, one million groundcovers and six hundred-thousand shrubs. There is also a floral display featuring a variety of plants and statuary, all of a standard that you will not see anywhere else in Australia.

So, are you ready to visit the beautiful wine country? iHop Hunter Valley Tours cover all of the popular locations, hidden gems and so much more!