Though the Hunter Valley is one of the smallest wine growing regions in Australia, it produces some of the most highly-acclaimed wines worldwide. The region is home to many historic characteristics, with some wineries dating back to family lineages from the 1800’s. This rich heritage can be viewed and experienced on one of iHop’s guided wine tours and makes for an amazing Hunter Valley getaway.

The Hunter Valley is conveniently located, the drive is just two hours from Sydney and 50 minutes from Newcastle Airport. For the rest of Australia, the Hunter Valley is now even more accessible. You can take a direct flight from almost every major city into Newcastle Airport such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and the Gold Coast. You can find yourself immersed in rustic charm and hospitality in a matter of hours.

Explore Vineyards, Wineries & Cellar Doors

The Hunter Valley is home to more cellar doors than any other wine region in Australia, with over 180 cellar doors in the region. They range from global award-winning wineries to lesser known hidden gems, all producing a varied range of products. This means there is no shortage of options for you to experience. One of the best parts of wine tasting on your Hunter Valley getaway is discovering a hidden gem and new found favourite wine.

To expand your knowledge and experience on the variety of products to come from the Hunter Region, you can join a wine tour that specifically focuses on wine and food pairing (even some beer recommendations for those who prefer or want to try both). iHop’s ‘Taste ‘n’ Graze’ pairing tour takes you on a journey sampling some of the finest local wines, cheeses, craft beers, whisky, chocolates and chef tasting plates all while teaching you which types of drinks pair well with the foods you are tasting.

What better way to learn about Food and Drink pairing than from internationally renowned wineries and restaurants?

Foodie Lovers Haven

As for the fine dining in the area, there are a myriad of restaurants and cafes to suit your taste buds. Muse Restaurant is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed restaurants in the region and is a must try on your Hunter Valley getaway. They have maintained a Chef Hat status each year since 2011 and in 2015 to present, they have been awarded Two Chef Hats.

Other notable Hatted restaurants include; Restaurant Botanica, Bistro Molines, Circa 1876, Muse Kitchen and EXP Restaurant. The Hop-On Hop-Off service and iHopGO On-Demand Bus can transport you to most of these locations to enjoy a leisurely long lunch and unforgettable dining experience amongst the vines.

Hands On Wine & Cooking Schools

To learn more about the different types of wines and how they are made, The Hunter Valley Resort offers a wine education experience called the ‘Hunter Valley Wine School’ which focuses on everything from growing the grapes, right up to bottling and aging the wine.

The masterclass involves walking through the vineyards, followed by a comprehensive winemaking tutorial with their skilled ‘Cellarmaster’. The experience goes for two hours and can be reached by using transport services such as the iHopGO On-Demand Bus or the Hop-On Hop-Off service stops there at Hop 10 on the Central Pokolbin Loop.

There are also a number of cooking classes to experience on your Hunter Valley getaway, hosted by various estates and restaurants across the region, from an Italian cooking masterclass to cheese making. These fun and interactive cooking classes are a great gift idea or a good way to experience something different as a group or couple on your getaway. 

Accomodation

With many unique and memorable experiences on offer in the Hunter Valley, a day trip is just not long enough to get the most out of your time in this amazing region. Thankfully, there are many great accommodation options suitable for everyone, making the Hunter Valley a perfect getaway for a weekend or longer stay. From luxury resorts to self-contained units and wellness retreats, there is accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. Many of the estates and hotels in the Hunter Valley offer spa treatments and full day spa experiences, perfect for those looking to relax and unwind from the everyday world or is the perfect treat for that someone special.

A Hunter Valley getaway is the perfect break from the everyday routine and is often described as Disneyland for Adults, offering many Food and Drink related adventures and various other activities. Discover Australia’s oldest wine producing and world renowned wine regions today!

So you are here in Pokolbin surrounded by the natural beauty of rolling vineyards… but you don’t necessarily drink wine? Don’t worry, you are certainly not alone!

Customers often ask us what are some other things to do in Pokolbin, the heart of Australia’s oldest wine producing region? The Hunter Valley is not just all about wine tasting, offering a varied range of activities and things to do. In fact, this beautiful location boasts a lot more variety than you might think. So much so that we decided to write a blog post offering some local tips and insights!

Read on to discover what else you can get up to on your non-wine drinking trip to this famous region.

Transport Activities

Pokolbin is a place full of fun and entertaining activities for all! Whether you want to take in everything the great outdoors has to offer – hiking, horse riding, bike riding and the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus are all great ways to get around and see the area. Or if you fancy something a bit different – see the Hunter Valley from a birds eye view with a bespoke helicopter flight or hot air balloon ride that delivers breathtaking views and a memorable experience. These are just some of the most popular transport activities to do in Pokolbin.

Horse Riding

There are plenty of horse riding options available in the Hunter Valley including tours for beginners up to advanced riders, private tours for families, a romantic trip or corporate events – all with different durations and price points. So whatever the occasion and budget, horse riding through the vineyards is such a wonderful and unique experience to get amongst the vines and take in some beautiful scenery.

Take to the Skies

A helicopter or hot air balloon ride is a must do way to see the Hunter Valley. Helicopter flights  offer various experiences available to suit your travel preference and budget. Whether you’re just interested in a snap shot scenic flight or want to fly to different locations, there are many tailor made options to make your experience truly special. Alternatively jump aboard a hot air balloon ride departing at sunrise to catch a glimpse of the early morning local wildlife and glowing vineyards in all their glory.

On Ya Bike

There are a few bicycle hire companies in Pokolbin, providing guided tours or private hires from half to full days, suiting a variety of needs. Electric bikes are available for those wanting a more laid back ride or wanting to cover off a longer distance, and push bikes for those looking to exert some energy and enjoy that well earnt drink and leisurely lunch along the way.

Entertain the Kids

Looking for some family friendly activities? You couldn’t be in a better place with all the things to do in Pokolbin. A popular stop for the entire family is at the Shopping Village and the Hunter Valley Gardens which is located at  Hop 6 – on the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Depending on the time of year, children and adults will have a great time in the award-winning gardens, engaging in the Magical Storybook or the Christmas Lights Spectacular. Also at this location is Aqua Golf and Putt Putt if you fancy some family-friendly competition. Stay on and enjoy lunch or coffee at the many cafes and wander around the many boutique shops.

There is also the Hunter Valley Zoo, which homes everything from the Wombat and Tasmanian Devil to the Lion and Tortoise. Why not drop in to hand feed a kangaroo, cuddle a koala or reptile and watch the monkeys at play? There are many “meet the animal” encounter experiences also for the entire family to enjoy.

If you fancy doing a handful of activities in the Hunter Valley, it might be worth considering booking the iHopGO On-Demand bus that caters for small to larger groups and can transport you to anywhere in the local area. The service is charged at a flat fee for the group, where you can arrange to be picked up on the next available time, or plan ahead days, weeks or even months in advance.

Shopping!

Why not indulge in tasting some irresistible local artisan chocolates, visit the many local cheese shops and providores and create your own antipasto platter or browse the latest fashion and homewares. You can find all these treats in the Hunter Valley, if you know where to look. Find out more about the shops on offer here.

Events

Many of the vineyards actually utilise their land for hosting music events and concerts, and there’s also annual music events including Opera in the Vineyards in October and Jazz in the Vineyards in November. So be sure to plan ahead and see if there are any events that coincide with the dates that you’ll be in the Valley and experience a truly memorable day or evening out.

There are also a variety of cultural events that pop up over the Hunter Valley throughout the year, including artisan markets, comedy festivals and the Hunter Valley Art Fair in October, that showcases a unique collection of work from local artists.

Of Course There is Beer & Spirits!

We are also home to a range of micro breweries and distilleries that can be visited via iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours or On-Demand Bus, so if you feel like sinking a few cold ones, enjoy a brewery lunch or sampling vodka, schnapps, liquors or even rums, checkout all these venues and their locations on our iGuide/Timetable to Central Pokolbin which can be downloaded here.

So by now you know Pokolbin is not just a place to drink wine. There are plenty of amazing activities and things to do for all ages. If you don’t have transportation to get you to your activities or like the idea of having a local, designated driver, iHop Hunter Valley offers a range of transport options for getting around, visiting destinations all over the Hunter Valley Region (not just vineyards).