Even if wine tasting is not your thing, there is a whole lot more that can be found in the Hunter Valley. Only a stones through from Newcastle, the Hunter is rich in history, culture and host to a whole bunch of great little country towns and villages. It is well worth the trip west on your next weekend outing. Oh, and did I mention wine? Vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards.
Not only handy to Newcastle, a couple of hours drive up the F3 will see you arrive in Pokolbin from Sydney in time to be enjoying the area by breakfast. And with the vast array of cafés, restaurants, pubs, resorts, golf clubs and vineyards, you will not be short of choice.
Pokolbin is the epicentre of the Hunter wine country. The airport neighbours the Crown Plaza Hotel divided by Wine Country Road which will be your main access from Cessnock or Branxton off the New England Highway. From here just about any direction will see you surrounded by thousands of acres of wine country. You will find cellar door after cellar door and each more impressive than the last.
By turning onto Broke Rd past the airport you can head out to see the impressive Hunter Valley Gardens , Australia's largest display gardens. Again more cafes and some interesting little shops, the garden village is well worth a look and the gardens themselves are an explosion of colour and aroma. From here you can head on through to broke, then onto Wollombi.
Wollombi is small village crammed full of history and character. Old original sand stone buildings have stood the test of time and just about the whole village is on display. The old courthouse features historic relics of machinery and for some reason someone thought it would be cool to make a giant cheese grater. There's plenty more quirky charm to be had here and to take a different route back to where you started from, take Wollombi Rd back to Millfield and turn left onto Mt View Rd and follow it through to Bimbadeen lookout.
From there Mt View Rd will take you back towards Pokolbin. Parts of this road are unsealed but usually in good condition. From the lookout you will get a great view of the valley you just explored. It is sure to top off a great day out and hopefully by this point in time you won't have drank too much wine to drive home again.