Top 5 Things to do in the Hunter Valley (apart from wine tasting of course)
Planning a trip to the Hunter Valley these school holidays? Before you start filling your schedule, leave time for these fun activities for the whole family, as well as a good tasting session at one of Scarborough’s Cellar Doors.
Hunter Valley Horse Riding
Hands up who likes a bit of riding? The Hunter’s terrain is just made for horse riding. About 20 minutes from Scarborough’s Gillards Road Cellar door is Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures. Take a ride through the beautiful Molly Morgan Range enjoying the expansive wine country, the lower Hunter and as far north as Barrington Tops, which is the northern boundary of the Upper Hunter. All riders are catered for, with dedicated trail rides with qualified guides, family rides, pony rides and sunset rides. The property also offers mountain bike riding and hiking on its trails as well as animals on the property and fantastic family accommodation.
There’s also Chapman Valley Horse Riding, which is in Howes Valley, about an hour away from the middle of the Hunter. This place offers hard-core riding with cattle round-ups and camping in the middle of the beautiful regional countryside.
Bike Riding in the Hunter
If horses aren’t your bag, try a two-wheeler, especially now there’s a new dedicated bicycle lane along Hermitage Road. Hire an electric (yes, electric!) bike at Sutton Estate Bicycle Hire and ride around the district, with the option to peddle or not peddle, along one of the Hunter’s main winery routes with a designated bikeway. Check out the Around Hermitage Food & Wine Trail to map out your route.
Where there is wine, there is food. And where there is food, there is creativity in the kitchen. Explore your own cooking creativity in the Hunter with a cooking class to rival the best in the country. One of our favourite Italian restaurants, Il Cacciatore, offers gnocchi making classes on Saturdays – watch the masters in play at the demonstrations, then make your own gnocchi and enjoy it as part of a two-course meal with a glass of local Hunter wine. Or book in to Majors Lane Cooking School for a hands-on lesson in Asian cuisine using local produce – choose from Thai, Indonesian, Balinese and Vietnamese, among others. There’s also Lovedale Smokehouse – take a masterclass in how to hot smoke produce with demonstrations and tastings, plus a quick history in the practice of smoking and curing, timber selection and menu inspiration.
Golf, Aqua Golf & Putt Putt
Indulge the inner golfer in you at the many courses in the Hunter, from Cypress Lakes and The Vintage to the Hunter Valley Golf Club. Find the course that works best for you here. Take the seriousness level down a notch and have a laugh at Hunter Valley Gardens Aqua Golf & Putt Putt, where the target is a floating net in a 5000 square metre lake, and the putt putt course boasts 18 holes across the beautiful gardens on the property. Fun for everyone.
Hunter Valley Zoo
The Hunter Valley Zoo is only five minutes from Cessnock – visit a diverse range of mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as exotic monkeys. There’s a fantastic Meet a Meerkat Exhibit where you get up close and personal with theses curious creatures and you can also experience the worlds of the Emperor Tamarin and the Marmoset in their enclosures. Pack a picnic lunch and some Scarborough wine and your day is looking pretty good.