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Looking to plan a few days away with your friends or family? The Hunter Valley is where it’s at! Located just two hours north of Sydney, Australia’s oldest wine region is the ultimate mini-break destination. Brimming with charming vineyards, stunning cellar doors, luxury accommodation and gourmet delights, the Hunter Valley truly is a treat for the senses. With so much to do and see, we’ve pulled together a Hunter Valley weekend itinerary; listing the best places to visit, eat, drink and stay to make the most of your short getaway!
We recommend you get organised and hit the road to arrive in the Hunter Valley by 12pm, with Roche Estate as your first stop. Renowned for its exceptional fine dining, award-winning wines and locally-made produce, it’s a quintessential Hunter highlight.
Looking to start your getaway with a long lunch and delicious cocktails? Goldfish Restaurant and Cocktail Bar is a fantastic choice. The food menu is a long list of amazing shared dishes that include flathead tacos, Spanish meatballs, 18-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder, and gourmet pizzas. And the talented bartenders are on hand to make their signature menu of shared and classic cocktails for you!
If you enjoy Asian cuisine or looking for a quick and light meal to get you on your way, Oishii is a great choice. This family-owned restaurant is the first and only Asian restaurant in the Hunter Valley and offers a mix of classic and contemporary Japanese and Thai dishes.
Once lunch is done, a visit to the Tempus Two cellar door, also in Roche Estate, is a must. They do things a little bit differently here. You’ll find some delicious wines including a Gamay, Shiraz Pinot blend and sparkling varietals. However, they’re pushing the boundaries and have recently launched a range of gins that use wine as the base spirit. They have the world’s first Prosecco Gin and their Shiraz Gin is a crowd favourite – need we say more?
Your nose will lead you to the next stop on our itinerary. The Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop is packed full of local, Australian and imported artisan cheeses and accompaniments. This delightfully pungent store is the perfect place to pick up some cheesy treats and charcuterie for afternoon wine time during your getaway, or stock up to enjoy them at home.
Located right by Roche Estate, Mecure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens is nestled within the beautifully landscaped Hunter Valley Gardens, which includes 10 individually-themed gardens that showcase both native and exotic varieties of plants. It’s also home to a number of spectacular events including the famous Christmas Lights Spectacular and Snow Time in the Garden.
Another fantastic accommodation choice is Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Located in Lovedale, it’s an award-winning resort that’s perfect for a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled family holiday. It boasts a number of different restaurants and bars onsite, a pool for the warmer months, and an 18-hole championship golf course.
No visit to the Hunter Valley is complete without stopping in at its iconic Irish pub, Harrigan’s. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional Beef and Guinness Pot Pie, a juicy steak with chips, or a salad, Harrigan’s offers a delicious bistro menu, in a friendly and welcoming setting. The weekend vibe here is especially fun, with live music in the evening.
Cafe Enzo is famed for its Tuscan-inspired setting, rustic charm and enchanting courtyard. Established in 1996, this gorgeous cafe offers excellent coffee, a menu of homemade dishes featuring local produce, and service with a smile.
After a big, hearty breakfast, it’s time to head over to McGuigan’s cellar door to meet our fabulous team who are on standby to provide you with an unforgettable wine tasting experience. We’re open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm.
Enjoy a free 30-minute tasting of our cellar door exclusive sparkling, white, red and dessert wines, for groups of up to five people, on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re looking for something a little extra, we have a variety of different tasting options that are all customisable and led by our friendly and knowledgeable team members.
Make a booking for any of our below tasting experiences:
And here is our pick for the best McGuigan wines to try at our Hunter Valley Cellar door:
If you’re feeling a little peckish after your McGuigan’s tasting experience, head next door to Hunter Valley Cheese Co. They make delicious lunch platters with a variety of cheese handmade in the Hunter Valley, breads, crackers, fruit pastes and other charcuterie add-ons. If you’re looking for a more interactive activity, the team also host cheese-making workshops that you can pre-book online.
Maybe you have a few beer drinkers in your group? Pop by Hope Estate where your group can decide between trying a beer paddle, continue wine tasting, or noshing on pizza from the onsite restaurant. Dinner at Muse Restaurant For your final evening in the Hunter, why not splurge on a truly memorable fine dining experience? Muse Restaurant is an award-winning establishment located at Hungerford Hill Winery in Pokolbin. It offers contemporary Australian cuisine with an emphasis on seasonality and quality. The set menu has four amazing courses that can be paired with matching wines. Vegetarians are also catered for with a custom menu of delicious plant-based dishes. Muse is a lovely dinner option if you’re celebrating an occasion or looking to spoil that special someone in your life.
Located on the grounds of Keith Tulloch Wine is Cocoa Nib, a boutique that sells unique, handmade chocolate creations. The range, made from the highest quality French couverture, includes award-winning hand-painted artisan bonbons, as well as incredible tarts and desserts. The perfect place to stop in for a quick caffeine fix and to pick up some choccy treats to share and enjoy at home.
Before heading home, it’s worth stopping in at the Hunter Valley Gardens for brunch and for all your last-minute souvenirs and goodies. The shopping village offers a bespoke collection of stores, and there are a few fantastic cafe and restaurant options onsite. And if the weather’s nice, take the opportunity to explore the stunning gardens - there are 8kms of walking paths through the themed gardens including the Rose Garden, Storybook Garden, Chinese Garden and Italian Grotto. Breathtaking!
If you happen to be around on the weekend, make sure you check out the Handmade in the Hunter Markets that pop up most Saturdays from 9am-2pm. You’ll discover a variety of goods grown, made and crafted by Hunter Valley artisans. The markets are held in the picturesque, rose-lined gardens of Sobels Wines in Pokolbin.
When it comes to outdoor concerts and festivals, the Hunter Valley is renowned for putting on a great show. The Hunter has played host to countless international and Australian touring artists and bands over the years. Check out the event listing to see if your getaway dates coincide with a major musical act.
A hot air balloon Hunter Valley flight experience with Beyond Ballooning is a magical way to take in the sunrise and the beautiful scenery of the valley and Australia’s oldest vineyards. The flight lasts around an hour, giving you plenty of time to revel in the beauty of the Hunter and take some stunning early morning pics.
Looking for an indulgent spa experience to elevate your getaway even further? Ubika Spa is located on the ground floor of Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, and offers rejuvenating massages, facials and body treatments for singles, couples and groups. The team at McGuigan can’t wait to welcome you to the Hunter Valley and be part of your wine country experience.