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Gourmet cheeses, a popular chocolate factory and Blue Tongue beer are all standout attractions in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, but the area is most appreciated as Australia’s original wine region. The first Hunter vines were planted in the 1820s and now supply an impressive 120-plus wineries. The Lower Hunter Valley, just west of Newcastle, is famous for its wonderful Shiraz and unwooded Semillon, while the Upper Hunter, near Muswellbrook, expertly dabbles in Shiraz too but also produces an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon. The various options for traveling between cellar doors include horse-drawn carriage, but driving obviously gives you ...

Gourmet cheeses, a popular chocolate factory and Blue Tongue beer are all standout attractions in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, but the area is most appreciated as Australia’s original wine region. The first Hunter vines were planted in the 1820s and now supply an impressive 120-plus wineries. The Lower Hunter Valley, just west of Newcastle, is famous for its wonderful Shiraz and unwooded Semillon, while the Upper Hunter, near Muswellbrook, expertly dabbles in Shiraz too but also produces an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon. The various options for traveling between cellar doors include horse-drawn carriage, but driving obviously gives you the most flexibility – so long as someone abstains from drinking superb wines to act as chauffeur. In the Lower Hunter, the best-known vineyards include Lindemans, Pepper Tree and Wyndham Estate; the latter can take the credit for introducing Australians to the pleasures of Shiraz. In the Upper Hunter, consider visits to Arrowfield, Cruickshank and James Estate. Afterwards, sleep off your tastings in one of the cozy guesthouses scattered around the valley.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Hunter Valley is located on Australia's south-east coast and is a region within New South Wales. This region is approximately 75 miles from Sydney.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Hunter Region

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Can be visited year-round, but the weather in spring (September to November) can be divine.