Hunter | New South Wales
A scenic 2hr (180km) drive from Sydney, the Lower Hunter is one of Australia's premier wine-producing regions. The first vines were planted as far back as 1832 and medals for Hunter wines were won as early as 1882. Today, there are over 90 wineries, large and boutique, and many restaurants. Although only around 5% of Australia's wine comes from here, the Hunter is home to some of the most respected wineries, including Draytons, Lindemans, Tyrrells and Tulloch.
While the region is bursting with natural beauty, seams of high quality coal are found throughout the valley. Coal mining has been a pillar of the local economy, although the current focus is on wine tourism. Maitland is a main centre for the region and has a rich heritage, being one of colonial Australia's most important towns.
There is much to see and do in this region and while many may initially come to sample the fruits of the vine, it will not be just the wine that encourages their return.
Hunter Valley Harvest Festival: This is a perfect opportunity to experience wine-country culture and tradition at its best. After harvesting the crop (Feb-March), leading wineries toast their crop with banquets, lunches and dinners as well as more traditional activities like barrel tastings from February to April.
Wineries are a well-known feature of the Upper Hunter. Vines were originally planted in the area in the 1860's, but winemaking went into a long decline and farming took over the fertile valleys. Although dairy farming is still very important, the wine industry has made a come-back. Wineries such as Rosemount and Arrowfield offer wine tastings and cellar door sales.
The upper reach of the Hunter Valley, surrounding the pretty town of Scone, is widely regarded as Australia's premier thoroughbred and horse-breeding district. There are more than 30 stud farms in this part of the Hunter, some offering personalised tours. In May each year, Scone hosts Scone Horse Week, complete with rodeos a must for equestrian types. Coal mining, vineyards and horse studs have brought prosperity to the Upper Hunter, the site of some of Australia's oldest towns.
admin | 2008-11-25 | If you are looking for a holiday to indulge in fine wines and cheeses, to relax in superb accommodation and still holiday to a budget, hunt out a deal in the Hunter Wine Region this summer | read more
mel | 2008-11-18 | The 6th Annual Exhibition of large outdoor sculptural works by local, Sydney based, interstate and internationally known sculptors – an eclectic mix of wine & art, along the picturesque vineyards of the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail in the Lower Hunter Valley. | read more
teagardens | 2008-05-22 | The Blue Water Country Music Festival is being held in Port Stephens on the June Long Weekend. The Festival is a new concept in Country Music with many of the Festivals activities being held on the water. | read more