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orange bulletDay Trip : Sydney To The Hunter Valley

A trip of 157 km from Sydney to Cessnock. Allow an extra 50-60 km for touring the wine routes.

Travel via via Warringah Freeway and Pacific Highway (both Route 1) and the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway (Interstate 1)

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's premier, and oldest, wine producing areas, with a history in the industry dating back to the 1830s. The valley has two distinct wine-growing areas, being the Upper Hunter and the Lower Hunter centered around the town of Cessnock. The Lower Hunter is closer to Sydney and is the preferred destination for the majority of day trips from the city.

Like most trips to destinations north of the harbour, this trip starts at the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Join up with the Warringah Freeway and then the Pacific Highway. Take the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway to the Cessnock turn-off.

The visitor information centre at Cessnock is the best place get the brochures and maps necessary to plan your tour of the Hunter. The Hunter Valley wineries, which number approximately 60, lie mostly on the western flank of the town, and some some 15 kilometres out of town.

A good starting point is Mount View Road for a scenic introduction to the district, then work your way north-west along the network of country roads and lanes that link the wineries. A great place to drop in for lunch is Rothbury Estate which probably marks the northern limit of what can reasonably be seen in a day.

A few wineries of note in the Hunter Valley include the historic Tyrrell's (established 1858), the boutique-style family owned Petersons, and Lindemans and McWilliam's Mount Pleasant, a couple of giants on the Australian wine-making industry. Most wineries provide tastings and cellar door sales.

Remember to make sure that there is a driver on board not partaking of the cellar door pleasures.