Imagine a valley with endless rows of grape vines stitched neatly into the landscape. Add a few sunrises which stretch long shadows across the mist-draped hollows. Hang some colourful hot air balloons in the sky and dot the towns and backroads with boutique wineries. Mix in some 5-star hotels, some 3-star restaurants and a million stars in the night sky. You have just imagined the Hunter Valley. Located a two-hour drive north of Sydney, this is one of Australia’s premier grape-growing areas and boasts a stellar selection of fresh produce paired with exquisite wine and dining options. The luxury hotels of the Hunter Valley spread themselves across a wide variety of locations. You can find boutique retreats attached to tiny, bespoke vineyards, and luxury day spas in little towns full of angle-parked 4WDs and Akubra-hatted locals. You can embark on endless wine-tasting adventures, fill yourself to the gunwales with epicurean delights, or simply sit and watch the world go by over the rim of a coffee cup or a crystal glass of wine. Every single day is perfect in the Hunter Valley. So don’t dream it: come and see it for yourself.
15 Thompsons Road, 2320 Pokolbin, NSW Australia
Welcome to the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, a luxurious 300-acre award-winning resort nestled in the picturesque Hunter Valley. It’s an ideal destination for a tranquil and indulgent escape from Sydney. Popular tourist attractions such as Hunter Valley Gardens and Brokenwood Wines will be right at your doorstep.
Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort offers one, two and three-bedroom self-contained villas with elegant furnishings. Each villa is tastefully decorated and comes with a modern kitchen, spacious living and dining area, laundry facilities, and a private balcony.
There is no shortage of dining options at the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort. Open daily from 12 pm – 9 pm, Cypress Lakes Bistro and Bar offers both indoor and outdoor dining. There is Oak & Vine, a fabulous dining establishment where guests can enjoy local cuisine and some of the finest wines from the region. The resort is also home to 2 bars/lounges.
Guests will find a range of world-class facilities at this iconic resort ranging from swimming pools and a fully-equipped fitness centre to 2 tennis courts and meeting, conference and event facilities. Stop by the Elysia Day Spa & Wellness Centre and enjoy an extensive range of treatments including hand and foot care, facials, massages, and body scrubs. The resort overlooks an award-winning 18 hole championship golf course and offers reduced green fees for guests staying at the property.
647 Hermitage Road, Polkolbin, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
Rating: 8.4 Very Good
Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley Wine Country, No Leaf Retreat is a charming boutique resort that offers a range of 5-star features and facilities. The property is located just a stone’s throw from some of the finest cellars, vineyards, and dining establishments in the Hunter Valley Wine Country.
Nu Leaf Retreat offers 10 bright and spacious guesthouses, each fitted with air conditioning, a seating area, and private bathrooms. Most rooms boast a patio with breathtaking views of the vineyards. Guests staying at this lovely boutique resort also have access to a communal sitting room with a log burning fire and comfortable sofas.
The property offers an open plan dining room and a brand new kitchen where guests can prepare meals. There are several restaurants within a short drive from the property including the Mill, Muse Kitchen, Botanica, Yellow Billy, Amanda’s on the Edge, and Peter Drayton. Wine lovers can look forward to visiting nearby wineries such as Piggs Peake, Eclectic Wines, and Tintilla Estate.
Guests can t work out at the well-equipped gym and enjoy a spa and wellness centre with a jet spa and steam room. There is also an indoor heated mineral pool and an outdoor swimming pool with a relaxation deck, umbrellas, and sun loungers.
609 McDonalds Road, 2320 Pokolbin, NSW Australia
Rating: 8.5 Very Good
Hermitage Lodge is a luxury boutique hotel nestled on 25 acres in the heart of the world-famous Hunter Valley wine-growing region. The property has its own vineyard! Hunter Valley Gardens, Hope Estate Winery, and Pokolbin town centre will be right at your doorstep.
There are many accommodation options to choose from at the Hermitage Lodge. The Lodge Room boast en-suite bathrooms, comfortable king beds, LCD televisions, and a covered verandah with spectacular views of the vineyard. Guests can also stay at the Deluxe Room with Spa Bath that features wooden cathedral ceilings and both front and rear decks. Other accommodation options include Premier Studio & Vineyard Studio, Premier Suite, Vineyard Suite, and Vineyard Spa Suite.
Hermitage Lodge is home to an award-winning restaurant called Il Cacciatore. This Italian dining establishment with a spacious deck for al fresco dining offers a seasonal menu with authentic Italian ingredients and house-made pasta. The wine list is everything you would expect from a top-notch Italian restaurant. The property also offers a delicious in-room continental breakfast for a surcharge.
Guests have access to a cosy guest lounge with plush sofas and an open fine. You can also go for a dip in the on-site swimming pool and use the laundry facilities. A reliable Wi-Fi connection is available throughout the property.
430 Wine Country Drive, 2325 Lovedale, Australia
Located in Lovedale, Rydges Resort Hunter Valley is a lux 100-acre resort surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and picturesque vineyards. Sydney is just a 2-hour drive away and popular Hunter Valley attractions such as Hunter Valley Zoo and Hope Estate Winery are easily reachable by car.
The hotel offers a range of deluxe rooms, suites and villas with spectacular views of the surrounding rural landscape. Each room features a private bathroom with a bathrobe and slippers, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, ironing facilities, and tea/coffee maker. Most rooms at the Rydges Resort Hunter Valley have balconies.
Guests can have a memorable dining experience at the on-site Redsalt Restaurant. This fine dining establishment offers a range of grilled dishes and an extensive wine list. You can also enjoy refreshing non-alcoholic drinks, wine, and cocktails and the Lovedale Bar and Restaurant. Beer lovers can stop by the resort’s on-site Sydney Brewery and try a variety of local ciders and beers.
Rydges Resort Hunter Valley has many 5-star facilities that will exceed your expectations. Guests can play a game of tennis, enjoy golfing at an award-winning 18-hole golf course, swim in the luxurious pool, or stay in shape at the well-equipped fitness centre. The on-site Ubika Day Spa offers mani/pedi and soothing massages.
Vintage Drive, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
Surrounded by rolling vineyards, the award-winning Château Elan at The Vintage is a luxury golf, conference, and spa resort located just a 2-hour drive from Sydney in Hunter Valley. This 5-star resort is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, 18-hole championship golf course, and award-winning spa centre. Attractions such as Moorebank Vineyard and Bimbadgen Estate are just a short drive away.
Luxury accommodation options range from guestrooms with iPod docking stations to villas and spacious and individually furnished suites with spa baths. Guests will instantly fall in love with pillowtop beds that come with Egyptian cotton sheets and modern bathrooms with designer toiletries.
Stop by the resort’s Legends Grill restaurant for lunch or dinner. This fine dining establishment offers a high-quality a la carte menu and an extensive wine list. Guests have access to the on-site bar/lounge, where they can enjoy snacks and refreshing drinks throughout the day. Room service at Château Elan at The Vintage is provided.
Hotel visitors can go for a dip in the spacious outdoor swimming pool. Pamper yourself with a visit to the award-winning spa centre where you can enjoy a range of beauty and health treatments such as Thalgo facials, massages, and hydrotherapy in one of the 17 treatment rooms. Golfers staying at Château Elan at The Vintage have access to the Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship golf course.
2090 Broke Road, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley is the warm and welcoming luxury hotel, Harrigans. Contemporary yet traditional, Harrigans prides itself in offering a family friendly environment in deluxe and elegant settings. Close to wineries, stores and cafes this is a great location for a weekend getaway with the entire family.
Studio suites are available for a couples getaway and 2 or 3 bedroom suits available for a family holiday or time away with friends. With stunning views of the outside and Foxtel inside this is a great spot for cozy evenings with a nice glass of red. Air Conditioning for the warmer months and heating for the cooler months are featured in all room configurations.
Located on the premises are Bistro and Burger Bar. Offering an open first place indoors over Winter and a gorgeous alfresco dining area for the Summer, the Bistro is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Delicious pizzas and burgers await you at Burger Bar, which is also the perfect spot for afternoon drinks and enjoying live music.
Unwind after a day of wine tasting and sightseeing in the guest VIP lounge, adjoining the high tech sports bar. With a daily happy hour and drinks specials, don’t forget to check the events board to find out what is on during your stay.
555 Hermitage Rd, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
Just two hours from the Sydney CBD, Spicers Vineyards Estate is an award-winning romantic destination. Centrally located within Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, the estate is surrounded by vineyards, golf courses and restaurants.
The tastefully decorated rooms contain an inviting fireplace and comfortable beds with premium linens. The King Spa Rooms feature French doors that open to the wrap around veranda which has stunning views of the area. Meanwhile, the Luxury Spa Rooms have well-appointed ensuites, featuring a rain shower, separate spa bath, double vanity, and underfloor heating. For a more exclusive experience, guests can stay at Vineyards House, an elegant and luxurious countryside cottage.
A true luxury hotel, Spicer Vineyard Estate offers guest a range of premium experiences. Guests can enjoy a gourmet private picnic or visit Spa Anise, the on-site day spa. For those looking to take to the skies, the estate can organise a sunrise hot air balloon flight or daytime helicopter tour.
Restaurant Botanica serves Modern Australian cuisine that is influenced by the Hunter Valley region. The menu features produce that is picked fresh daily and pairs it with fine wines from the local area. The attentive chefs are happy to cater for the specific dietary requirements of diners.
57 Ekerts Road, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley, Spicers Guesthouse offers modern elegance with a relaxed atmosphere. This luxury hotel is surrounded by a range of wineries, perfect for any wine connoisseur. Conveniently located, it is less than 15-minutes from the Hunter Valley Zoo, Hunter Valley Gardens and town of Cessnock.
The well-appointed rooms feature a classic yet contemporary design, with inspiration for the colour scheme being drawn from the Hunter region. Guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, a flat screen TV and Bose Soundlink Mini. The light, airy ensuites feature rain showers and heated towel rails. For a more exclusive and luxurious experience, guests can stay at The Cottage.
Through Spicers Guesthouse, a secluded and romantic picnic for two or a sunrise hot air balloon ride can be organised. There are complimentary bikes and electric bikes for hire. At night guests can relax and mingle around the firepit, enjoying a glass of wine.
At éRemo Restaurant, the talented and dedicated chefs use local produce to create Modern Italian cuisine. The menu is changed daily depending on the available fresh ingredients and features creative, one-of-a-kind dishes. It is complimented by a thoughtful wine list which matches regional Hunter Valley vintages with those from further away.
251 Talga Road, 2325 Lovedale, Australia
Tonic Hotel is a relaxing and stylish countryside escape that is free from interruptions. The small, luxury country hotel is in the Lovedale area of the Hunter Valley. Within a twenty-minute drive there are multiple wineries, the Hunter Valley Gardens, Hunter Valley Visitor Centre and Werakata National Park.
The stylish rooms contrast steel and glass construction against the whimsy of native Australian vegetation. They feature king-sized beds with premium linens and goose down doonas. The bathrooms have heated floors, a double vanity and bathtub. For larger groups a two-bedroom apartment can be booked which features a full kitchen, lounge area and two master bedrooms, each with an ensuite.
At Tonic, guests have access to a range of relaxation and wellness facilities. Experienced therapists provide in-room massages that sooth sore muscles and promote skin rehydration. The hotel has an outdoor pool and from the Tonic Lounge guest can experience views of wild kangaroos.
There are also a number of nearby golf courses. A continental breakfast featuring homemade muesli is placed in the accommodation fridge’s each day for guests to enjoy in privacy. Curries are available from the Tonic Lounge, which also has a full kitchen and BBQ for guests to use.
Located two hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s premium grape-growing region. Foodies will find an incredible array of artisan foods and farm-fresh produce in the Hunter Valley’s markets, restaurants and cafes. There are also some diverse tourist attractions and activities available in the Hunter Valley, and wherever you’re luxury hotel might be located, you will be able to venture out and experience the best things that the Hunter Valley can provide, all with an easy reach.
The best way to appreciate the bucolic landscapes of the Hunter Valley is to soar over them in a hot air balloon. Sunrise is generally the most favourable time to go ballooning. As you drift silently above the patchwork fields, long rows of grapevines, intricately worked paddocks, and sensual hills, you will see the valley come to life in the light of the new day. When you land you’ll be treated to the traditional champagne breakfast that balloonists have enjoyed from the earliest days of the sport. This is a great way to celebrate a romantic anniversary or special occasion with your loved one.
There’s nothing better than plodding along on a horse on a sunny day. There are a number of horse trekking operators in the Hunter Valley. You can choose a ride up into the hills through the sunlit forests, plod lazily along through the vineyards and river valleys, or take a carriage ride through the streets of Pokolbin.
The Hunter Valley is ground zero for foodies, and if you would like to learn the optimum way to cook some of the best produce in the world, the Hunter Valley has a number of different options where you can learn to cook – and then devour – farm-fresh food in all manner of amazing settings. Your chosen luxury hotel may even have a cooking class option at their restaurant.
The ordered and bucolic landscapes of Hunter Valley are overlooked by rugged ranges which preserve some of the largest temperate rainforests in Australia. The Barrington Tops National Park is located in the upper part of the Hunter Valley and is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area. There are some wonderful walks in these ranges, such as the Antarctic Beech Forest walking track, which takes you through sub-alpine forests, and the 1500m climb to the summit of Aeroplane Hill, which takes you through wetlands and woodlands to the stunning views from Careys Peak Lookout.
Ganguddy, also known as Dunns Swamp, is a World Heritage-listed wilderness landscape of mist-draped swamplands, cliffs, gushing rivers, waterfalls and canyons, enclosed by beehive-shaped rock formations. There are guided kayak tours available that will take you into this beautiful area to experience some of its rich and unique Aboriginal heritage.
Most of Australia’s unique fauna is represented in the Hunter Valley Zoo, so if you’ve ever wanted to pet a koala, hand-feed a kangaroo, or wander through an aviary full of screeching, squawking, feathered Australian beauties, the Hunter Valley Zoo is the place to come. Along with the Australian critters, you can also meet white lions, ring-tailed lemurs and cheetahs, and you can hang out with lemurs, meerkats, marmosets, emperor tamarins and squirrel monkeys.
Everyone likes a good pampering and in the Hunter Valley, you will find all manner of spas and retreats which will provide the perfect tonic for your strained city nerves. Many of the local spas offer treatments inspired by local products, and you can book a double treatment room for you and your friend.
If you love coffee, then the Hunter Valley is a great place to potter around hanging out in cafes. Virtually every town and locality will have at least one joint where you can sample your favourite extraction, and if you do nothing else in the Hunter Valley other than drifting from cafe to café, then your time here won’t be wasted. Sampling cafes is a great way for you and your partner to explore the valley and watch the world go by over the rim of your coffee cups.
Surrounded by mountains at the southern end of the Hunter Valley, Wollombi is a charming village of 19th-century sandstone houses, mixed with cafes and an eclectic selection of shops. There is a one-kilometre, self-guided stroll which will take you through the fascinating history of Wollombi, from its Aboriginal heritage to its early days as a convict settlement. The nearby World Heritage Wilderness of Yengo National Park will take you beyond the European history of the area and back into the deepest days of Aboriginal occupation in the area.
If golf is your thing, then you can tee off in all manner of tranquil country golf courses in the Hunter Valley. Many of the courses also offer restaurants so you can combine thwacking tiny white balls around with sampling some of the Hunter Valley’s best cuisine. The Vintage Golf Club in Rothbury, is a Greg Norman-designed championship course, while the course at the Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club is regarded as one of Australia’s best. Many of the clubs offer golf lessons, so if you are an absolute beginner you can get yourself started on your golf and career in the Hunter Valley.