A road trip through Australia calls for a stop in the Hunter Valley region. This area, located about 2 hours south of Sydney, is best known as a wine region featuring more than 100 wineries and some of the world’s best wine. However, Hunter Valley is more than just wine, and it has plenty of other activities to offer. Whether you want to explore nature, learn about the area’s rich history, or visit vineyards, you can find something to do in Australia. Thanks to a moderate climate, even outdoor activities are possible in the winter. So, follow this handy guide to learn more about Hunter Valley before you take your campervan hire there.
Hunter Valley is located in the New South Wales region, which typically boasts fairly moderate year-round temperatures. Hunter Valley’s winter runs from June through August, with average daily high temperatures hovering around 12 degrees to 13 degrees Celsius. June is usually the rainiest of the winter months, with rainfall dropping off a bit in July and August. So, while temperatures do cool during Hunter Valley’s winter, they aren’t so frigid that you can’t take in the beauty of the region during your visit in your campervan hire.
Winter Wine Tours
A visit to Hunter Valley isn’t complete without sampling some of the area’s wine. Known for making some of the world’s best wines, Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region with more cellar doors than any other part of the country. Because wine is such an integral part of life in Hunter Valley, you can enjoy the area’s many vineyards in a variety of ways. First, if you’re visiting in June, the Hunter Valley Wine Festival is a must-do. This festival features entertainment, family-friendly activities, and access to plenty of wine, beer, cider, and food.
Another way to explore the Hunter Valley wine region in winter is by going on wine tours throughout the region. Wineries offer daily tours, allowing you to take in the beauty of the vineyard while sampling some wine. Check out Audrey Wilkinson Winery, Gartlemann Wines, or Harkham Winery. The Hunter Valley region boasts an impressive 150 wineries, so you have plenty of spots to choose from during your winter visit.
If cool temperatures deter you from outdoor activities, don’t fret. There are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy in the Hunter Valley region. The Australian Army Infantry Museum boasts a variety of exhibits and displays dating back to the 19th century. This museum features two sections–first, a chronological section detailing the Australian Army’s storied history. The second section focuses on arms, training aids, and tools of the trade for Australian infantry.
Located in Maitland in the lower Hunter Valley sits Maitland Gaol, which offers a glimpse into history and an immersive experience for visitors. This former prison offers several public guided and self-guided tours, allowing you to explore its many buildings. On the Ex-Warder Tour, you’ll explore the cells and corridors from the perspective of someone running the prison. On the Escapes Tour, you’ll hear unbelievable stories of prisoner escapes at the prison. Finally, if you’re up for even more adventure, try a Ghost Hunting 101 tour, where you can search the facility for ghosts.
Outdoor Winter Fun
Because Hunter Valley’s winters are moderate, you don’t have to nix all of your outdoor activities if you visit during the winter months. Hunter Valley Gardens hosts Snow Time in the Gardens every winter. This event typically runs throughout July. Even if temperatures aren’t cold enough for snow, you can enjoy a snowy good time during your visit. Hunter Valley Gardens’ scenic landscape turns into a winter wonderland featuring an ice-skating rink, mega ice toboggan, and a snow play zone where kids and adults of all ages can build their very own snowman. Warm beverages and hearty foods are available for purchase to keep you warm after a day of wintry fun. In addition, the Gardens’ four main rides, which include a carousel, ferris wheel, swing chairs, and giant slide, are always available to enjoy, even during the winter.
Layer up and head out on an adventure when you visit Hunter Valley in the winter. Whether you want to stroll leisurely through a vineyard or enjoy a more rigorous hike, the Hunter Valley region has plenty of trails to offer. Visit Watagans State Forest, where you can hike Watagan Trail, a challenging hike that takes you from Heaton Lookout to McLeans Lookout. Yengo National Park is a secluded park featuring spectacular views and challenging trails. Here, you’ll encounter steep gorges, rocky ridges, and Aboriginal rock carvings. Finally, try the Great North Walk that takes you to the Bimbadeen Lookout, offering views of the city of Cessnock below. This hike offers both novice and advanced options, depending on what you’re looking for.
Don’t let winter deter you from visiting the Hunter Valley Region. Located just a short drive in your campervan hire from Sydney, Hunter Valley has plenty to offer. Whether you’re braving cool temperatures and enjoying the area’s natural beauty or sipping on some of Hunter Valley’s world-famous wine, you’ll be glad you made the trek to this region in New South Wales.