Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Hunter Valley

Being a mere 2 hours drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a great option for either a day tour, or a place to stay and enjoy a bit longer at one of the Hunter Valley Hotels, Lodges or Retreats.  The region is most commonly known for its wineries, but you don't necessarily have to be a wino to appreciate the beauty of the area.  It is also known for its thoroughbred horse breeding, so horse riding options are quite plentiful.

The early stages of wine....
The region is named for the Hunter River - the main river that flows through the area, although there are several smaller ones also.  The mouth of river is found at Newcastle, the largest city in the vicinity, and the second most populated area in New South Wales.  The Port of Newcastle is of vital importance to the area, especially to facilitate the coal exports for which the area is also known.

There are a number of cultural festivals held each year in Newcastle, as well as a wide range of art galleries and theatres.  The area has a very active music scene, which spawned two popular Australian bands, Silverchair and The Screaming Jets.

Although the Newcastle metropolitan area has an extensive public transport system, to get a really good look  at the region I would suggest hiring a vehicle from our Car Rental page.  However, if you're going to be touring the a booze cruise so that you don't have to worry about drink-driving.
The Hunter Valley
If you don't have a lot of time to spare and want to combine The Hunter Region as part of stay in Sydney, consider doing the spectacular Hunter Valley Luncheon Tour by Helicopter (you can find the link for it on our Sydney Tours Sightseeing and Activities page).  You'll be picked up and dropped back at your hotel, so you don't have to worry about transfers.  It takes approximately 6 hours, but you get a breathtaking aerial view of Sydney Harbour, the city and the northern beaches before landing in one of the vineyards for a scrumptious three-course lunch.  Sit back, relax and absorb the peace and tranquility before heading back to the big city.

Should you choose to drive from Sydney to the Hunter Region, make sure you stop at Somersby (about 50km/31mi north of Sydney) to visit the Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.  A great place for the kids, it's a hands-on zoo with lots of animal interaction and wildlife shows.  You can even have your photo taken with a python, koala or wombat - just not all at the same time!

Start planning your trip today!

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