While Sydney offers plenty in the way of fine dining, the Hunter Valley is arguably the number one spot in New South Wales for lovers of food and drink. The region is around two hours' drive north of the state capital and is perhaps easiest to reach from interstate by catching a flight to Newcastle Airport, which is located about an hour from the Hunter Valley.
Once arriving in the area, visitors who love a glass of wine or two will find they are spoilt for choice. The Hunter Valley is home to more than 120 wineries, making it one of Australia's biggest producers of reds, whites and roses.Loved by wine buffs the world over, some of the top varieties include the ripe Hunter shiraz and crisp Hunter semillon.
The best way to sample these fine beverages is by taking a tour of the wineries and cellar doors in the seven sub-regions that make up the Hunter Valley. Sites of particular interest include the so-called 'bluebloods' such as Drayton, McGuigan and Tyrrell, which have been making wine in the area for generations.
Several boutique winemakers are also well worth a visit, with names to look out for including Pooles Rock Wines and Emma's Cottage Wines. Anyone keen to complement all that wine with some dairy products can taste handmade cheeses at the Binnorie Dairy and Hunter Valley Cheese Company. However, the Hunter Valley offers more than just food and drink - the region is also home to several big-name annual events.
Those who prefer lagers and ales to wine should check out the Bitter and Twisted International Boutique Beer Festival, which takes place at Maitland Gaol in November. Other occasions that are well worth a visit include the Morpeth Honey Festival, offering attendees the chance to learn more about beekeeping and taste the finished product. This event is held in Morpeth each October.
Those looking for other accommodation options near the Hunter Valley should try either Cessnock Accommodation or Pokolbin Accommodation.