The Hunter Valley region has made its reputation for great Australian winemaking, but, over time, lots of other fantastic food, wine, beer, spirits, entertainment, arts, and culture businesses have added to this thriving tourist destination.

The iHop Hop-on Hop-off bus service is a great way to get around and see as much of the Central Pokolbin area as you want, all at your own pace. So let’s look at some destinations on the route that offer various options!

Hop 3 – Tamburlaine Wines


Tamburlaine Wines offers a point of difference, having committed to producing ‘organic’ and “vegan-friendly” wines. For anyone interested in winemaking, it’s interesting to learn how winemakers meet this challenge as the consumer demand for organic wine takes off worldwide. Established in 1966, Tamburlaine Wines (named after Christopher Marlowe’s famous play and character ‘Tamburlaine the Great’) has stayed committed to its vision to produce vegan-friendly, low sulphur and no added sulphur wines. It has won many awards and has become one of Australia’s largest producers of Organic wine.

Hop 5 – Ben Ean

Ben Ean (formerly Lindeman’s) is arguably one of the most beautiful properties in the region. It offers a range of winemakers at one location for tastings and some fantastic specialty shops onsite. It boasts the Baume restaurant, which is well known for its excellent food, and The Still House offering a series of “meet the winemaker” lunches – special events – private tastings, and lunch with the winemaker who will share winemaking philosophies, stories, and of course, the wines!

Hop 6 – Hunter Valley Gardens & Shopping Village

Let’s now go to the gardens. The Hunter Valley Gardens are beautifully manicured gardens you can stroll and picnic in, and some of the prettiest foliage you’ll ever see. Every year the Hunter Valley Gardens hosts the Christmas Light Spectacular, which is fantastic for families. It’s a magical experience to walk around the gardens and decorative displays at this festive time of year. 

The Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village is adjacent to the gardens, a unique collection of shops and eateries. You won’t be disappointed – you can enjoy fabulous food, beer, wine and cocktails, coffee and cake, and bespoke shopping – local art, jewellery, clothing, homewares, and gifts.

All of the shops are located within a stroll of each other. This ‘market’ type feel makes the village unique – a must-visit on your trip to the Hunter Valley.

Hop 11 – Estate Tuscany & 4 Pines Brewery at the Farm

Authentic Tuscany, right here in the Hunter Valley, offers breathtaking views of the Broken Back Ranges (one of our favourite photo stops)! Estate Tuscany provides guest house-style accommodation with two eateries – their signature restaurant, The Mill (Awarded Chef Hat 2020), and casual offerings of the Brokenback Bar, along with Andrew Thomas Wines cellar door for a tasting sensation of premium wines (Semillon and Shiraz a specialty) with shopping and other wineries nearby.

In this location, you will also find 4 Pines Brewery. Initially, 4 Pines started in Manly on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, but it’s now had a home in the Hunter Valley for several years. Aside from brewing fantastic beer (which can make a nice change in amongst all the wine!), 4 Pines has a great story to tell about its humble beginnings. This phenomenal success story is, in fact, the result of a chat between mates after a surf who wanted to create a company highly committed to sustainability and community. Enjoy bistro-style food (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and paddles of beers, and be sure to stop in for a tasting at the Hermitage Road Cellar Door featuring a range of local winemakers from the region.

Hop 12 – Piggs Peake

Piggs Peake is one of the smaller wineries in the Hunter Valley, specialising in premium wines. Although the winemaking techniques use state-of-the-art modern technology, the winery processes grapes from vineyards dating back to the 1800s. The Yellow Billy Kitchen, onsite at Piggs Peake, is a 1 Chef Hatted Restaurant and a must-dining experience. Much of the produce comes fresh from the kitchen garden, and the menu focuses on food cooked over a fire, matched with a selection of local and international wines.

So there, you have five worthwhile stops and seven destinations to explore on the iHop bus route. Of course, there is much more to showcase, with over 40 venues to explore on the route, which we can’t wait to share in future articles.

Don’t forget that we offer private transport and customised tour options too so that you can create your itinerary, or we can create one for you – so let us take care of the driving and sit back and relax in your private bus.

In addition to private transport, groups with their schedule or itinerary may like our on-demand bus for an alternative transport service to the hop-on hop-off bus. If you want the flexibility to see and do things at your own pace, anywhere in the region, then the iHopGO service is the perfect option to get you around.

Of course, we also offer fully guided, all-inclusive tours that run in the morning and afternoon. Of course, we’re just at the end of an email or a phone call if you need help planning your perfect wine country getaway. You can also follow us on social – Facebook and Insta for trip ideas.

It’s not just all about wine swirling when you visit the famous Hunter Valley wine region. If you love to shop and looking for some retail therapy whilst on your well deserved break, there are many great boutique stores to spend your days browsing through. If you are on the lookout for a gift or souvenir, want to sample some gourmet locally-made cheeses or chocolate, need a new outfit or shopping for that special someone, there is something for everyone. We suggest checking out the Pokolbin Village Shops and the Shopping Village at the Hunter Valley Gardens where you will find a great range of options. 

Both of these locations are part of the iHop Hop-On Hop-Off Tours route, so if you are without transport, we can get you to where you need to go and back at your leisure. The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours visits 16 designated stops accessing over 40 different venues throughout the Central Pokolbin region, check out iHop’s designated bus stops here.

We have compiled a range of shops in the region that are some of our favourites, so grab your shopping bags and let’s get going!

Pokolbin Village Shops

This is located at Hop 4 on the Central Pokolbin Loop!

The Pokolbin Village Shops showcases a variety of shopping and foodie options. Browse a selection of your favourite Hunter Valley wines at the Pokolbin Bottle Shop, sample some locally made chocolates and cheeses, pick-up your essentials at the General Store or wander through the boutique Homeware stores.

Cheese Shop

Looking to create your very own cheese board or wanting to do a cheese tasting? Be sure to check out The Smelly Deli, stocking a variety of locally made and imported artisan cheese. They also stock a pantry full of gourmet treats and products. Be sure to try their house made gelato while you are there. Cheese and wine is the perfect pairing, almost a staple here in the Valley! The staff can also offer advice on the best cheeses to pair with your favourite drop.

Kitchen & Bakery

Peckish or needing a caffeine hit? Be sure to drop into Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery for a barista-made coffee, baked treats or settle in and enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch. Specialising in artisan breads all baked on site that can be enjoyed there or later with that afternoon antipasto platter. A staple near the Pokolbin Village Shops.

Clothing & Gifts

Gifts and trinkets and so much more! Browse a selection of accessories, gifts, candles and clothing at Maple Homewares for that perfect gift.

Chocolate & Jam Shop

We also love our chocolate here in the Hunter! Enjoy a selection of locally made chocolate, fudge, jam and teas at the Pokolbin Chocolate Shop. Or if you can’t decide, book in for one of their chocolate tastings and sample a range of their finest.

Hunter Valley Gardens Shops

This is located at Hop 6 on the Central Pokolbin Loop!

Hunter Valley Gardens’ Shopping Village is located in the same vicinity as the Hunter Valley Gardens and makes for a great day out! For all those shoppers looking for a unique gift, souvenirs and confectionery, as well as bespoke fashion, jewellery and homewares we have compiled a list of shops to explore.

Clothing Shops

Browse a unique selection of clothing, hats, scarves, throws, blanket and teddies – all made from alpaca fibre grown in Australia. The Australian Alpaca Barn is a family-owned business specialising in quality products, providing the perfect unique gift for yourself or others.

Going out for dinner and need a new outfit? Look no further than Wilson & Hunter – bringing the latest Australian and international fashion trends to the Hunter through a variety of clothing, shoes and accessories.

Food & Drink

Are you a Brit looking for a slice of home, or just keen to try something different? Check out the British Lolly Shop – stocking everything from Millions and toffee bonbons to Monster Munch and tea – you won’t leave empty-handed and is a real treat for the sweet tooths!

Handcrafted and distilled using premium organic ingredients in their signature glitter bottles, Small Mouth Vodka is definitely worth a visit. Stocking a variety of delicious flavoured vodkas, gin and liquors, from Caramel Vodka to Pina Colada liquor, there is an abundance of flavours to choose from.

Something Different…

Step back in time and peruse a collection of fine antiques, collectables and vintage accessories. Peppers Creek Antiques is unique to the Hunter Valley and well worth a visit if you want to experience something different! There’s also the Crystal Shop that’s worth a look in, featuring a selection of the finest crystals including natural and polished, beautiful crystal jewellery, salt lamps and much more.

For the full list of shops in the Village the the Gardens visit the link here.

There is so much to explore just in the Pokolbin Region catering to a variety of shopping needs and wants! From unique gifts, clothing and accessories to locally produced chocolate, cheeses and products, it’s time to get shopping and treat yourself or that special someone!

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).

If you’re visiting the beautiful Hunter Valley wine region and want to get your hands (and taste buds!) around the certified “good stuff”, then this is the guide for you!

The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region and today boasts over 150 winery destinations for our welcome visitors to try. From humble beginnings in Semillon and Shiraz, the region still does our classics well, but we also range out into some amazing Chardonnay and Verdelho. There is even an emergence of European styles growing successfully here including Southern Italy’s Vermentino and Fiano varieties, which still carry the hallmark of a Hunter white being crisp and light with a beautiful dry finish. If reds are more to your liking Spanish Tempranillo and Italian Sangiovese are also producing beautiful wines in the Hunter. Basically, there is something for everyone!

With so many varieties and destinations to consider it can be hard to know where to start, so we have put together a run-down of the best places to visit for an award-winning wine experience. Luckily, you can plan your visit to some of the Hunter’s favourite destinations across Pokolbin and Lovedale with our Hop-on-Hop-off tours!

Calais Estate

(Hop 1 – Lovedale and North Pokolbin Route)

As well as a Cellar Door located in the charming colonial-style building built from convict cut bricks and solid timber bridging beams, Calais Estate offers sweeping views over their vineyard and Brokenback Ranges. Here you can taste everything from classic wine varieties, to a range of hand-crafted sparkling wines made in the French traditional method. With their cellar door awarded the ‘Best Cellar Door’ in the Lower Hunter Business Awards for five consecutive years, this is one not to miss!

De Bortoli

(Hop 2 – Lovedale and North Pokolbin Route)

The smell of roasted coffee, toffee, sweet raisins and a touch of lemon-peel bitterness will draw you in as you arrive at De Bortoli. These are the aromas of the award winning Black Noble. As the world’s only fortified wine made from the botrytis grape, this wine was the recipient of a gold medal in the highly respected ‘2019 Global Fortified Masters Blind Tasting Competition’.

Hungerford Hill

(Hop 3 – Central Pokolbin Route)

Grab your friends and indulge in Hungerford Hill’s boutique wine tasting experience. Tickle your tastebuds with award winning wine by treating yourself to a bottle of St Vernay Vineyard 2017 Shiraz, awarded 90 points and 4 stars by the ‘Gourmet Traveller WINE Expert Panel’! This light wine has the perfect balance of light peppery fruit, perfect for pairing with a meal from the acclaimed Muse Restaurant offering some of the finest dining in the area with its 2 Chef Hatted status.

Roche Estate; Tempus Two

(Hop 5 – Central Pokolbin Route)

Hop off at Roche Estate and try the Uno Series at the Tempus Two Cellar Door! Winning the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion Competition in 2016, the Uno Series represents the very best of Hunter Valley winemaking. Luxurious and elegant, this series comes as a classic medium to full bodied Shiraz. Its perfumed red-berry aroma will encapsulate you, while its long lingering finish will leave you wanting more. After wine-tasting, there is a range of award-winning cheese on offer at Smelly Cheese Shop next to the Tempus Two Cellar Door. Or you can head across the road to McGuigan Wines, who have won International Wine Maker of the Year a record four times! Also across the road is Brokenwood who won 2019 Cellar Door of the Year in the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Awards. This stop is a great place to plan for lunch with Oishii, The Wood Restaurant, and Goldfish restaurants all within reach.

Hart & Hunter

(Hop 13 – Central Pokolbin Route)

Boasting a 4.5-star rating from James Halliday, Hart & Hunter celebrates their 10-year anniversary in 2019. Their grapes are sourced from highly regarded Hunter growers and they have a strong emphasis on single vineyard wines and small batch processing. This approach has served them well with their wines winning a multitude of awards including the ‘Marshall-Flannery Trophy’, the ‘H.J. Lindeman Trophy’ and accolades from the ‘Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers’ Show’ in the past.

Bimbadgen Estate

(Hop 14 – Central Pokolbin Route, Lovedale and North Pokolbin Route)

Relax and take in the views in the Courtyard Cafe while sipping on Bimbadgen Estate’s award winning 2017 Semillon. With a fragrant citrus blossom and lemongrass scent, mixed with a weighty lemon and lime fruit on the mid palate with a fine acid backbone, you’re sure to leave wanting more. This is a style of Semillon which has seen the Hunter region gain international recognition and popularity.

First Creek

(Hop 15 – Central Pokolbin Route)

With an esteemed win of the James Halliday 2018 Chardonnay Challenge – Best Hunter Valley Chardonnay, you mustn’t leave the estate without trying this Winemaker’s Reserve Collection. This collection encapsulates regional and vineyard provenance, winemaking skill and integrity, as well as the essence of the First Creek style resulting in exceptionally rare and special wines. Greg Silkman, owner of First Creek and highly regarded industry leader, won last year’s Hunter Valley Wine Legend Award if you needed any more proof that First Creek is a stop not to miss!

With rich vineyards and olive groves, the Hunter Valley is a popular choice for those wanting to experience award winning wine and craft beer. 

Summer time for the Hunter Valley is often its busiest, with events becoming a regular occurrence. With the great degree of events and showcases emerging, it can become difficult to decide which events to attend. Our Hop-on-Hop-off tours aim to make this a little easier through ease of accessibility to these events; being designed to showcase the best the Hunter Valley region has to offer. 

To make your plans become a reality, we have listed our top Hop-on-Hop-off events this summer in the Hunter Valley.

Roche Estate – Grapevine Gathering 2020 (Hop 5 – Central Pokolbin Loop) 

Set amongst the stunning vineyards, the Red-Hot Summer Tour will return in celebration of 10 years of operation. Indulge while taking in the Hunter Valley and treat yourself to one of the concerts hampers ranging from $20 to $140. Or, simply enjoy the music with ARIA Hall of Fame inductees Hunters & Collectors reuniting to headline the 2020 tour, bringing with them special guests James Reyne, The Living End, The Angels, Baby Animals, Killing Heidi and Boom Crash Opera.

Bimbadgen Estate Wines – Sundown Fridays (Hop 14 – Lovedale & North Pokolbin Loops)

Take in the delights of the Bimbadgen Estate while relaxing in their Tuscan inspired courtyard. Pair this with delectable food and a $5 Happy Hour from 3pm-6pm. This is what Sundown Fridays are all about.

Each Friday will bring a new artist to appeal to your music needs, providing live music from 4pm. With guests invited to book dinner reservations at Esca Bimbadgen, it is the perfect Friday plan and start to your wine country weekend away!

Go ahead and enquire now!

De Bortoli Wines –  Hunter Wine Country Markets (Hop 2 – Lovedale & North Pokolbin Loop)

Satisfy your taste buds with food, coffee and wine while observing meticulously handcrafted items at the Hunter Wine Country Markets every Saturday!  Local artisans showcase their work with stalls ranging from food, jewelry, candles, soaps and much more.

Make sure to bring the kids along for a camel ride, or simply to listen to the live entertainment from local buskers in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Lovedale Smokehouse – Majors Lane Cooking School (Hop 7 – Lovedale & North Pokolbin Loop)

Head over to Lovedale Smokehouse every Saturday and Sunday for a fun hands-on outdoor cooking class. Situated in a stunning 100-acre vineyard, you will get the choice of a variety of classes and cooking styles to learn. Your senses will be ignited by the smells, sounds and flavours of your chosen cuisine as you learn how to compile a tantalizing menu.

At the conclusion of your class, you will receive a souvenir apron, recipes and a glass of wine or beer with your meal.

Due to the popularity of these events it is crucial to start organising your plans as soon as possible. Make sure to grab your family and friends to book your Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour today with iHop Hunter Valley before tickets run out!

While the Hunter Valley is well known for its picturesque vineyards, expansive restaurant options and delectable local produce, it also hosts a range of shopping opportunities. From antique homewares to upmarket fashion, the Hunter Valley shops are sure to satisfy any shopping addict’s needs.

Conveniently located at Hop 6 (Hunter Valley Gardens Village) and Hop 7 (Peppers Creek Village) of the iHop Central Pokolbin Bus Tour, these stores are our top picks for shopping destinations in the Hunter Valley.  

Maple Homewares – Pokolbin Village Shops (Hop 4)

Start your shopping journey at Maple Homewares, a delightful store that stocks a range of art, homewares and accessories. 

Maple Homewares products come in a range of sizes and styles and keep up with current trends such as wooden, ceramic, woven and leather features. This store is a great location to pick up that cute or quirky item that will complete a room. 

If homewares aren’t your thing, peruse the extensive range of jewellery, handbags and shoes which effortlessly combine style and comfort for a chic, relaxed look. 

Wilson & Hunter – Hunter Valley Gardens Village (Hop 6)
Take a wander through the picturesque Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village and you will stumble across wine country’s go-to fashion destination, Wilson & Hunter. The warm and inviting atmosphere paired with fresh, upmarket and timeless fashion pieces ensures that you always look and feel your best.

Boasting labels like Camilla, Bec and Bridge, Faithful, Karen Walker and more, this boutique is your one stop shop for all things designer. In only one location, you can find an entire outfit due to the large range of items including handbags, shoes, accessories and clothing.

Hunter Valley Gift & Crystal Shop – Hunter Valley Gardens Village (Hop 6)
For those who are spiritually inclined, look no further than the Hunter Valley Gift & Crystal Shop. Specialising in the finest quality crystals, unique giftware and international homewares, this store is the perfect place for any alternate soul. 

At The Hunter Valley Gift & Crystal Shop, expect to be mesmerised by amethyst, citrine, tourmaline and jasper which appear in both natural and polished jewellery forms. Also make sure to take in the large range of Himalayan Salt Lamps which are said to cleanse the air, assist with allergies and provide a calming light source in the home.

Southon Style – Hunter Valley Gardens Village (Hop 6)
For stylish shoppers on a budget, Southon Style is one of the Hunter Valley shops to visit – with an extensive range of women’s fashion including resort wear, sarongs and a specialised Southon Curve fashion line.

Southon Style is perfect for any fashion forward shopper looking for value for money items that won’t break the bank. Featuring on-trend fashion pieces and stocking all sizes from 6 – 24, this boho chic store has something for everyone. 

The Twig – Hunter Valley Gardens Village (Hop 6)
Venturing further into the Hunter Valley Gardens, you will stumble across eclectic homeware and giftware store, The Twig. Jam-packed with a range of knick knacks for all ages and interests, The Twig caters to any gifting need. 

Get lost browsing the shelves and discover beautiful, new pieces as well as vintage one-offs and unusual small furniture items. Kids will love discovering eclectic wonders including old-school toys, dollhouses, board games and more.

For those wanting to treat themselves with a touch of luxury, be sure to check out the bath, body and accessories section where you can select from a range of high quality soaps, sleepwear and trinkets.

Fetch Gifts and Homewares – Peppers Creek Village (Hop 7)
Walking into Fetch Gifts and Homewares will automatically put you at ease. Surrounded by an extensive range of plants, ceramics and timber items, you could easily assume that you are standing in a rainforest.

Lovers of a natural looking home will adore the timber furniture items on display that are handmade by store owner, Joel. Every shopper will feel satisfied knowing that their purchase is bespoke and unique. 

Fetch Gifts and Homewares also stock simple but sophisticated clothing options that will make you feel instantly transported to summer in Italy or out for brunch with the girls. 

Why not incorporate a wine tour followed by a shopping tour to fill your day, starting your day joining our Beyond the Vines half day tour where you can visit a trio of different venues where you will experience premium Hunter Valley wines and local produce before a behind the scenes winery tour with a twist! Followed by an afternoon of retail therapy in the local area!

Find our more about iHop Hunter Valley Beyond the Vines Tour and other Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours here.

Consider kids activities Hunter Valley style this October. Keeping them busy during the school holidays is tricky. Thinking of fun and engaging ideas to fill two weeks can be such a hassle for parents. 

To cure those school holiday blues, take a trip with iHop Hunter Valley and tick these fun kids activities Hunter Valley has to offer off your bucket list!

Sweet Tooth Treats: We all know that kids love sweet stuff! Whether it be chocolate, ice cream, lollies or a mix of all three, watch your little one’s delight as they visit these

Pokolbin Chocolate Co – Pokolbin Village (Hop 4)
Pokolbin Chocolate Co provides a mixture of old and new chocolate products like their famous rocky road or yummy white chocolate honeycomb clusters. Individual chocolates also come in fun shapes like penguins, shells, hedgehogs, golf balls and more! Make sure to have a taste of their specialty home made fudge which come in  a range of delectable flavour. 

photo credit – Trip Advisor

Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop / Hunter Valley Gelato Company  (Hop 5)
Just a quick ride on the bus to reach Hop 5 and we are only a short distance from the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop. While the impressive selection of international delicatessen cheese may not entice the kids, the extensive Gelato selection certainly will. 

The Hunter Valley Gelato Company makes gelato using traditional, imported Italian ingredients and a 200 year old recipe! With over 200 gelato flavours made on site including dairy free, vegan and gluten free options, your tastebuds will surely be tempted. 

British Lolly Shop – Hunter Valley Garden Village (Hop 6)
After another quick trip on the iHop bus, you will reach the Hunter Valley Garden Village and more importantly, the British Lolly Shop. Selling all of your old school favourites direct from the UK, this store will remind you of your childhood.

Take a moment to revel in your adolescence and take a photo with the lifesize toy guards watching the store. With an extensive range of lollies on offer including sweets, chocolates, fudge, and savoury snacks, you’ll find it hard to choose!

Hunter Honey Hive – Hunter Valley Garden Village (Hop 6)
Parents looking for a healthier sweet treat should give the Hunter Honey Hive a visit. Featuring daily tasting of local honey’, this location acts as a shop as well as a great learning experience for the kids. 

Accessible through the Ye Olde General Store & Pokolbin Farm Shop, the store stocks an extensive range of honey products from Australia and New Zealand including cosmetics, medicinal products, candles, ice creams, honeycomb and themed giftware.

Hunter Valley Exploration: Now that the kids are full of sugar and bouncing off the walls, it’s a great time to burn off some energy. Head to Hop 3 to start your adventure!

Hunter Valley Vintage Wings (16 minute walk from Hop 3)
While this destination requires a small walk from Hop 3, it is definitely worth your while. Hunter Valley Vintage Wings specialise in vintage, open cockpit adventure flight experiences that the whole family can enjoy. 

Take in the majestic views of the Hunter Valley from above in a 1940’s Tigermoth or 1956 Winjeel plane. Anyone over 8 years old is able to experience the rush of flying in an open cockpit plane as it would have felt 75 years ago.

However, if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, visit the Museum Information Sessions where you can learn the history of these unique, vintage aircraft for free. 

Hunter Valley Gardens (Hop 6)
At Hop 6 we reach the Hunter Valley Gardens, an obvious choice for some school holiday fun. With a range of activities on offer including the Storybook Garden, Carnival Rides, Aqua Golf and Putt Putt, you’ll never run out of things to do. 

Featuring timeless nursery rhyme characters, the Storybook Garden is a fun and whimsical experience for all ages. Life size characters and murals lead you through the garden and provide excellent photo opportunities. 

Carnival rides became new additions to the Hunter Valley Gardens in 2017 and are open to the public during special events and school holidays. These rides, including the swing chair, ferris wheel, carousel and superslide, can create hours of fun for both the young and the young at heart.

Practice your swing at Aqua Golf and Putt Putt within the Hunter Valley Gardens. Hit the golf ball into the lake and win prizes for hitting floating targets! Boasting great value for money, you can purchase one bucket of balls at Aqua Golf and 18 holes of Putt Putt for just $12.

After a long day of eating and exploring your way through the Hunter Valley, it’s time to relax. Why not book the iHop Twilight Dinner Tour where you can unwind over a wine tasting and 2-Course dinner. 

We hope explaining these kids activities Hunter Valley has to offer provides more insight into what this amazing region has to offer. It’s not just for adults!

Find our more about iHop Hunter Valley Twilight & Night Tours and other Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours here.



If you think the Hunter Valley is all about wine, think again. The Hunter is also home to a thriving micro-brewery scene. And when it comes to beer tasting in the Hunter Valley you’re spoilt for choice.  

In fact, the Hunter Valley has several award-winning breweries and a number of boutique craft brewers that you can visit, each offering their own selection of distinctive locally brewed beers and special seasonal releases that you can sample.

In many cases, you can go behind the scenes and see how these local beers are made and talk to the brew master for insights into their particular beer-making process. 

With an amazing variety of beers and ales from the traditional to the surprising, as well as the region’s popular ciders and ginger beers, you’ll find the beer tasting at Hunter Valley’s breweries just as interesting and diverse as the region’s world-famous wineries.

No matter if you’re a serious beer connoisseur or simply a keen amateur who enjoys trying new things, here are some of the top spots for beer lovers to try on a Hunter Valley beer tour.

 

Hunter Beer Co at Potters Brewery

Hop 1 on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Central Pokolbin Bus Tour

The Hunter Valley’s original microbrewery is located at Potters Hotel Brewery Resort. Amazingly, given its prodigious range of beers, the Hunter Beer Co. is one of the smallest breweries in the country.

For the brewers at Hunter Beer Co. it’s all about distinctive handcrafted brews using traditional methods and all-natural ingredients. Though it’s not all traditional, with chocolate beer and bacon beer just two of their unconventional creations. Make sure you have some time because they typically have 10 craft beers on tap for you to try as you watch the beer being made. The tasting paddles are a great way to try a range of brews.

A visit to the Hunter Beer Co. is about the experience. Join head brewer Keith ‘The Beer Guy’ for a casual tour of the brewery and insights into the process. Daily brewery tours run at 4:00 pm. Book directly at the brewery.

 

Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley

Hop 3 on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Lovedale & North Pokolbin Bus Tour

The Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley is located in the grounds of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley hotel in the central Hunter Valley town of Lovedale, with the popular Lovedale bar and restaurant right next door to the brewery and distillery.  

The brewery boasts a vast range of beers brewed on the premises from the finest, filtered Hunter Valley water, which provides the brew masters with a blank canvas to create a wide variety of beers from traditional lagers to rich oatmeal porters.

What to try? You’ll find a rotation of seasonal beers on tap, so there’s always something new and different to sample. Staples include the brewery’s popular Lovedale Lager – a traditional Munich-style lager that combines three types of German hops to create a smooth citrus aroma complimented by a slightly toasted malt backbone. The brewery’s famous Sydney cider is on tap everyday. 

You can also join a behind the scenes tour of the brewery to see how they do what they do, enquire directly through Crowne Plaza.

 

Matilda Bay Brewery Hunter Valley

Hop 10 on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Central Pokolbin Bus Tour

Located at the Hunter Valley Resort, Matilda Bay is Pokolbin’s first boutique brew house, and where the story of the popular Blue Tongue brand of beer began. The Resort is also known for its glorious outlook over the Hunter Valley.

The Matilda Bay Brewhouse is another stop where you’ll want to spend a bit of time, with 12 craft brews on tap, including lagers, ales, stouts, cider and alcoholic ginger beer, plus regular ‘special’ brews ready for you to try, all with accompanying tasting notes. Choose a tasting a paddle of lighter or darker style beers to get the full perspective.

Also onsite is the Hunter Wine Theatre, Wine School, the Hermitage Road Wine Tasting Cellars, Hunter Valley Adventure Centre (Segway tours, horse riding and electric bike hire) and the Heavenly Hunter Massage Centre.

Hunter Valley Pubs, Breweries & Beer

 

Hope Estate Brewery

Hop 4 on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Central Pokolbin Bus Tour

The Hope Brewhouse is located at the Hope Estate winery in the heart of Pokolbin, set amongst 420 acres of rolling countryside and picturesque vineyards with stunning views.

At the Brewhouse you’ll find 12 different brews and ciders on tap offering a broad palette of styles and tastes. The brewery’s extensive range of award-winning craft beers and ciders are produced on site. Among a vat of awards the brewery has received for its brews, Hope Brewhouse won Champion Small Brewery at the 2016 CBA Awards.  

 

IronBark Hill Brewhouse

Hop 11 on iHop’s Hop-On Hop-Off Central Pokolbin Bus Tour

The IronBark Hill Brewhouse is Hunter Valley’s newest micro-brewery located at the IronBark Hill Vineyard in the heart of Hunter Valley wine country.

Sit down and enjoy a sumptuous meal overlooking the brewery area or out in the lovely beer garden set amongst the grape vines as you sample the eight delicious craft beers and cider on offer each day. The taps change regularly, so there’s always something different to try.

If you’re not much of a beer drinker, you won’t be left out. IronBark also makes a range popular apple and pear ciders, or sample a top drop from the Peter Drayton Wines range that are also made onsite.

 

An evening of Beer, Wine, Cheese and Delicious Food

If you’re looking for a great way to experience some of the region’s best beer, wine and food the Hunter Valley has to offer in one fun evening, join us for iHop’s Taste of the Hunter After Dark Tour.

Kick off with a guided wine tasting with local cheeses at an award-winning cellar door. Then enjoy a tasting paddle of top Hunter Valley brews or ciders (as well as some delicious bites) as you get an insight into the beer brewing process at a local boutique brew house. Afterwards, compare tasting notes over a selection of gourmet wood-fired pizzas, tapas and drinks at a popular local restaurant.

Find out more about iHop Hunter Valley’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours and Taste of the Hunter after Dark tour here.

 

Looking for things to do in the Hunter Valley?

The Hunter Valley is a very special place. Although you might know it primarily for its world famous vineyards and wines, the wide range of tourist attractions across the Hunter Valley region, and the amazing variety of things to do and see in the Hunter Valley, might surprise you. 

So what to see in the Hunter Valley? Well, from tasting world famous wines to indulging in unique local produce of all sorts; from exploring the stunning natural beauty of the region by hoof or heel to teeing off on a competition golf course among the grape vines; from a hot air balloon adventure to a soothing spa treatment, there’s just so many things to see and do in the Hunter Valley.

 

Tasting Tours of Wine, Beer and Spirits

For most people visiting the Hunter Valley, a vineyard tour and wine tasting is top of their must-do lists, and for good reason. With more than 150 wineries in the region, from world famous names to family-owned boutique wineries, there are just so many great choices and wonderful wines ready to be tasted.

But there’s a lot more to the Hunter than just wine. The region also boasts several award-winning breweries where you can taste a variety of beer styles and seasonal releases produced on the premises.

Looking for a change of pace? At the Hunter Valley Distillery, you can try their award-winning spirits, including gin, vodka, liqueurs and schnapps, all made from premium organic and natural ingredients.

You’ll find more information here: Hunter Valley Vineyards and Restaurants: Find Food and Wine Tour Ideas

See more about iHop’s Hunter Valley winery tours here.

 

Casual through to Fine Dining

As we know, fine wine and food naturally go hand in hand. You won’t be disappointed with the fine dining and casual dining options available to you in the Hunter Valley. Experience the amazing variety of local seasonal produce prepared by some the best chefs in the country and the world.

You’ll find more information here: Top Restaurants in the Hunter Valley You Must Try

See more about iHop’s Hunter Valley restaurant and winery tours here.

 

Cheese Tasting in the Hunter Valley

With amazing dairies throughout the Hunter Valley, it’s not surprising that the region is becoming equally well known for its exemplary cheese making. You can even see how it’s made and learn to make your own from an expert.

You’ll find more information here: Hunter Valley Cheese Companies You Must Visit and Hunter Valley Cheese and Wine Tasting – A Match Made in Heaven

 

 

Discover Unique Produce of all Sorts

The variety of produce and gourmet foods produced locally is astounding. Virtually around every corner you’ll find magnificent produce and locally made gourmet products, such as beautiful olives and olives oils, breads, cakes, sauces, jams and condiments, and much, much more. Oh, and the chocolates and gelato are definitely not to be missed.

Love a good market? There are also local markets that run throughout each month across the region, so there’s always a local market with a range of good quality products and produce to wander through.

Love learning and gaining new skills? You’ll find a wide variety of fascinating courses and instructional tours that you can take part in across the Hunter Valley: tutored wine tastings, winery behind the scenes tours, wine blending classes, food and wine matching courses, cheese making, candy and pizza making courses and cooking classes are just some examples. 

 

Hit the Links or Pamper at a Day Spa

With a number of golf courses, including championship standard courses, all with gorgeous scenic views, the Hunter Valley is a popular spot for golfers of all skill levels, and particularly for those who like to be rewarded with a fine drop after a round.

Golf not your thing? Then a rejuvenating visit to one of the region’s popular day spas or a relaxing massage might be more your scene.

You can find out more here: Where to Stay in the Hunter Valley.

 

The Hunter Valley from up in the Sky

When it comes to the best things to do in the Hunter Valley, a hot air balloon tour is way up there – literally. It truly is one of the most spectacular ways to take in the full scope of the vineyards and natural surroundings. There are a variety of Hunter Valley balloon tour and adventure options to choose from.

Looking for a little more action? Try a helicopter tour instead.

 

Discover Natural and Cultural Wonders

There are many ways to discover the natural wonders of the Hunter Valley – by foot, wheel or hoof. Take a scenic drive by coach or car to take in the full beauty of the stunning vineyards and farmlands. Get your walking boots on and explore the many bush and farmland trails that meander through the Hunter. Join a bicycle tour for a relaxed way to see the sites and vineyards or hire an electric bike or even a Segway on your own and explore the Hunter as you please. Horse riding adventures and carriage tours are another popular way to experience the Hunter Valley.

Looking for top views? The lookouts at Mount Bright, Bimbadeen and Pokolbin Mountains Road offer great views across the Valley and are accessible on foot or by car.

Other top places to visit: Brokenback Range (beautiful natural bush land, views and bushwalking); Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in World Heritage-listed Yengo National Park; explore other nearby national parks, including Watagan Ranges, Mt Royal and Wollemi National Parks; visit Lake St Clair for sailing, swimming, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking and camping.

 

Fun for the kids and other top attractions

Sure, there’s plenty to keep the big kids amused, but what about the little ones? They’re no problems there with a bunch a great attractions for children of all ages to let off a bit of steam. Talking about letting off steam, how about a visit to the Richmond Vale Railway Museum near Kurri Kurri. Other popular attractions for things to do in the Hunter Valley include the Hunter Valley Zoo at Nulkaba, Luskintyre Airfield and Aviation Museum, Australian Army Infantry Museum, Hunter Valley Gardens Aqua Golf & Putt Putt and Hunter Valley Adventure Centre offer a host of fun and educational activities.

Find out more about iHop’s food and wine tours here.

Find out more about getting around with iHop’s Hop On Hop Off bus tours here.