Fancy a tipple at some of Australia's top wineries? Look no further than the Hunter Valley; only a short drive from Newcastle but a world away from the city's hustle and bustle read more...
Bed and champagne breakfasts
The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's premier wine-growing regions and this fertile Mediterranean-like region is a renowned romantic retreat. Countless bed and breakfasts dot the vine-laced landscape, with many incorporated into award-winning vineyards for the ultimate in wine-tasting experiences.
The rustic countryside offers the most picturesque of backdrops to Hunter Valley accommodation, and while wine-tasting tours are the most obvious attraction, there's plenty more to do in this vibrant region. Horse-riding, bush-walking and the occasional round of golf are high on many agendas, however the promise of pure relaxation is what lures most visitors to the numerous bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the Hunter region.
When it comes to luxury resorts, there's no shortage of upscale places to stay in the Hunter Valley. Château Élan at The Vintage backs on to the 18-hole Vintage Championship Golf Course and offers a range of deluxe spa packages designed to relax and revitalise in lush country surrounds. Like many of the resorts in the region, it offers expansive views towards the foothills of the Brokenback Range.
The opulent Spicer's Vineyards Estate is one of the most popular resorts in the region and given its lush vineyard surrounds and unsurpassed facilities, that should come as no major surprise. Whether indulging in a hot-air balloon ride over the fertile fields below, sampling some local cheese varieties or simply relaxing at Spicer's purpose-built day spa, no activity is too decadent in this Hunter Valley environment.
Experience village life
The Hunter Valley vineyards are scattered among an expansive corner of New South Wales, meaning there's plenty of room to roam in this striking part of the world. Several small villages form the focal point of the region, including Pokolbin, Wollombi and tiny Lovedale.
Pokolbin is arguably the best-known of the Hunter Valley's many villages and this quiet rural locale hosts numerous high-quality guesthouses and hotels. Nearby Lovedale lies at the heart of the wine-growing region – making it an ideal base for wine tours – while the once-bustling Wollombi to the south-west these days hums to the tune of a steady tourist trade eager to sample some of the Hunter's award-winning wines.