The Hunter Valley is a beautiful region in eastern NSW, known for its stunning views, unique wineries and gourmet food and produce. While the Hunter Valley thrives in Spring and Summer, with tens of thousands of people visiting the area during this time, the onset of winter doesn’t mean that there aren’t new experiences to be had. We have complied a list of the top 10 things to do in the Hunter Valley during the cooler winter months. Experience everything that the Hunter Valley has to offer.
1. Wine and dine at Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival
The highly anticipated Hunter Valley Wine Festival will return for the 9th time at the beautiful Crowne Plaza on 19th June, 2021. The festival will also be in support of Pokolbin Rural Fire Service with charity raffle donations going towards the well-deserved cause.
Taking place amongst mountain ranges and picturesque vineyards, the festival will offer over 40 local winery booths, gourmet food and craft breweries.
The festival can also be a family outing, with many children’s activities available like train rides, bouncy castle, face painting and a carousel!
General admission tickets are $15 if purchased online; ticket sold on the day will be $25 so it is best to grab them early before the event takes place to secure a deal.
2. Have some winter fun at Snow Time in the Gardens
Snow Time in the Gardens an annual event located at Hunter Valley Garden in Pokolbin, running from 19th of June – 18th of July 2021.
There is a large range of activities for the friends and family to enjoy—younger children may particularly enjoy the snow play zone to touch snow or build a snowman for the first time. They also have a huge ice-skating rink and ice toboggan for more adrenaline-pumping thrills!
For friends or family, the event will also have a fun-fair with a 25-metre Ferris wheel, a traditional Venetian carousel, tea-cup rides, and a swing chair 11-metres up in the air.
A day pass for the event starts at $34 per adult and $25 for a child (4-15 years)-there are also family passes available and ride tickets available for purchase.
3. Kick back and make some art while drinking wine
Maybe festivals are not your style, and you would like something more relaxing with friends.
Art n’ Sip in the Vines could be the perfect get-together for you then! At the Red Barn Cellar Door, you can become your own artist while having a private Greenway Wines tasting with lavish cheese and charcuterie plates.
Running from Friday the 26th of March to Friday the 17th of December—there will be 4-hour sessions for groups of 4 or 8 people from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The price is only $150 per person with all food, wine and art supplies provided and you will be able to bring your canvas creation home!
4. Try your hand at some winter sports
Show your skills on ice! Fridays at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium are dedicated to ‘Friday Skate Night’ which are open to the public. However, if you are not so confident in your skating skills, there are designated skating frames and area for beginners. The HISS is located in Warners Bay, approximately 25 minutes from the heart of the Hunter Valley.
5. Visit the coastlines and do some whale watching
As we come into June, up to 20,000 whales make their journey past the eastern NSW coastlines and can be visible from a lot of the popular beaches. Some beaches you might want to visit are Nobby’s Headland, Merewether Beach or the Anzac Memorial Walk, all of which are conveniently located only 30 minutes from the Hunter Valley.
Although you may want to check out a boating tour offered by CoastXP, they run throughout whale watching session and provide a closer view. The perk of a boating tour is that even if you do not catch a sighting of a whale, you will still be able to get a close-up experience of sea caves, see the beautiful coastlines of the popular beaches, and learn a lot about the area.
6. Embrace the cold and go on a hike!
Hunter Valley has some of the best bushwalking trails and scenic views, so do not let the cold get you down! Remember to wear suitable clothing and to pack some food or hot drinks in a thermos.
A popular trail with locals is the Great North Walk which goes from Bimbadeen to Mount Bright. With two route options, one for which is easier and one which is more advanced, you can choose which pace you want to go at. Either way, you will be able to see the stunning outlook of the city of Cessnock.
Another great choice is the Fernleigh Track which goes from North Belmont to Adamstown, approximately 15km long, although you can shorten the trail by cycling or walking through the shorter paths. The trail also has a lot of facilities like public bathrooms, drinking fountains, coffee shops and local shops.
7. Grab hot cocoa with friends
Hunter Valley is best known for being wine country, but it also has wonderful cafés which should put you in the winter spirit!
Cocoa Nib is one of those cafés with stellar 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor with one guest saying, “Myself and my partner both had the deluxe hot chocolate, and it was amazing! An experience and makes it onto my list of best hot chocolates I have had. Would definitely come back here and recommend to others”. Not only does Cocoa Nib have great hot cocoa, but they also have award-winning French couverture chocolates made daily.
8. Visit the Cheese & Chocolate festival
Speaking of chocolate, the annual Hunter Valley Cheese and Chocolate Festival will be running from 3-4 July 2021 in Pokolbin. Experience great local produce, live entertainment, markets, wine, and beer tasting, and of course, delicious chocolate.
9. Challenge your friends in a wine quiz!
Test your knowledge of Hunter Valley wine with your friends! Tulloch Wines in collaboration with Wine Selectors Hunter Valley will be holding wine quiz night on Friday June 18th 2021. There will be three rounds of Hunter Valley themed questions, as well as 2 mystery wine tastings. Platters of cheese, cocktails and prizes will be given out throughout the night.
10. Check out a music festival
The 33rd annual Newcastle Jazz Festival will be running from 27 -29 August 2021. Over 150 musicians will play jazz, blues, and big bands. Food stalls, coffee carts and bars will be available all day! Tickets are limited, starting from $110 if purchased before 30th June.
Contact Hunter Valley Tours for more winter activities!
We specialise in personalised tours and can help you explore throughout the Hunter Valley region and can help you have a perfect wine tour! Book your vineyard tour by contacting Julie at 0456 737 888 or book here.