5 things to do in the Hunter Valley that aren't wine tasting

Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? The Hunter Valley has long been known to Sydney-siders as an ideal weekend escape where you can kick back and indulge in some of the finest wines NSW has to offer.

But hopping from tasting to tasting isn’t the only thing there is to do in the region, as Be discovered when packing a whole heap of activities into a 36-hour stay.

Float above the vineyards in a hot air balloon ride 

Appreciate the beauty of the countryside from a whole different perspective by getting up above the clouds in a hot air balloon.

Floating gently along the breeze, you can reach heights of 2,000ft or more, with the captain manoeuvring the balloon to give you the best possible views.

If you’re a morning person, we recommend getting up before dawn to catch the sun rising over the horizon. It’s definitely a highlight.

A balloon ride into the Hunter Valley’s sunrise is the perfect way to start your trip. Source: Jessica Maggio

Treat yourself to a wine-inspired spa treatment

If you’re looking to kick back and relax, a spa treatment – available on almost every corner you turn – is just what you need.

Why not try the local special, a vinotherapy facial? As its name suggests, vinotherapy takes its lead from wine (or vino in Italian), and chocolate inspired ingredients like grapes, cacao and natural oils.

It’s said to be full of antioxidants and vitamin rich organic ingredients that aim to leave your skin feeling completely rejuvenated. Plus, the products actually smell of sweet wines and chocolates which are good enough to leave your stomach rumbling!

A spa treatment will surely kick your weekend into relax mode. Source: Jessica Maggio

Taste the local produce

You won’t get far on a wine-filled weekend with an empty stomach.

Paddock to plate is the food philosophy behind many of the region’s best places to eat, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can sit down and sample local fresh produce.

There’s a strong emphasis on rich olive oils, cheeses and of course a good steak, so get stuck into it.

The ‘product to plate’ experience really shows the quality of produce the region has. Source: Jessica Maggio

Get into a helicopter for an aerial tour

If drifting in open-aired balloons isn’t really your cup of tea, then you could try a helicopter ride (locked doors supplied). It’s a super luxe way to see the countryside and taking a helicopter over the vineyards is sure to make you feel like a true VIP.

The experience gives you incredible bird’s eye views of the local wineries and vineyards, with rolling green hills that extend to the Hunter’ Broken Back Range. With running creeks, and lush valley views, you’ll get a great sense of just how vast the region is.

If you really want to splurge, you can get your chopper to drop you off at a restaurant for breakfast or lunch.

A helicopter ride over the Hunter Valley gives you perfect views of the gorgeous vineyards. Source: Jessica Maggio

Stay at a boutique hotel

Lodgings at the Hunter Valley are a whole other level of spectacular – especially the boutique hotels which are great favourites for destination weddings.

They often have a quaint, country feel to them, and places like the newly decorated Kirkton Park, are decorated with colonial finishes and wicker patio sets that look out onto their historic gardens – perfect for anyone looking for an authentic country stay.

It’s the little things that really make your getaway feel special.

The stunning interior at the Kirkton Park hotel is perfect for a chic boutique stay. Source: Jessica Maggio

And of course, don’t leave without a little wine tasting

Whether it’s at Brokenwood, Tempus Two, Tyrell’s, De Bortoli, Tamburlaine, Tulloch Wines or any of the other fabulous wineries, you can’t visit the Hunter without stopping in for a little vino.

If you’re looking for boutique dessert wines, ports and other sweetened fortified wines, try Pepper Tree, Briar Ridge, Scarborough, Audrey Wilkinson, or Oakvale for some of the region’s finest.

Some of Australia’s best wines can be found in NSW’s Wine Country. Source: Jessica Maggio

A beautiful and quaint location, the Hunter is definitely your perfect weekend getaway. A weekend just won’t seem like enough time!

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