As part of celebrating another year in my life, I was taken to the Hunter Valley last weekend for some wine and fun with some friends. Even though it rained off and on, the Hunter Valley was still a beautiful place to visit that I would recommend to any visitor around Australia.
The Budget Way
Did you know the Hunter Valley area has a YHA? That's perfect for travelers looking to take advantage of the famous wine region while also staying in a place where you can meet other travelers. Getting there shouldn't be a problem since you can catch a bus there from Sydney (arranging the transport through the hostel of course).
Once in the Hunter, you can coordinate a small shuttle service to take a tour of some of the amazing wineries in the area.
The Not-So-Budget Way
If you want more freedom during your trip to Hunter Valley, you can always take a car, or rent one, for the journey. With this option, definitely make sure you have a designated driver along for the ride - you know, someone actually willing to spit the wine out after tasting. Drinking and driving is something to NOT mess around with. Also, be aware that many shuttle services are around if you're wanting to partake in many tastings and not have to spit.
Hunter Valley is swarming with accommodation options, some very romantic and luxurious. Or, if you have a group of people, renting your own private cottage is a great idea! You'll find that a simple Google search will result in more than enough options to keep you busy.
What To Do
No matter how you get there, and how you decide to spend your nights, there are plenty of day activities that everyone can partake in.
1) Wineries - Since there are so many to hit up, it is probably best to get recommendations from people who have been before.
2) Cheese - What goes better with wine than some great cheese? Be sure to stop by the Smelly Cheese Shop to taste a few!
3) Breweries - There's not just wine in the Hunter. Take a stop at the Potters Hotel & Brewery for a nice tour.
4) Pubs - A pub lunch may be in order, so take a look at Harrigans Irish Pub.
5) Kangaroos - Watch out! There are so many kangaroos, you will need to keep an eye out while driving!
6) Zoo - If all the wild kangaroos weren't enough, check out the Hunter Valley Zoo.
7) Chocolate - If you love chocolate, then stop by the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company while you're around.
You might be surprised to know just how much there is to do and see in Hunter Valley. I could have spent many more days wandering around the vineyards last weekend, even in the light rain. It is a wonderful getaway from Sydney City.