Breweries & wineries
Hop onto a Hunter Valley wine tour, or hire a private driver to visit the region’s cellar doors. There’s the experimental Usher Tinkler Wines, housed in an early 20th century Pokolbin church, Keith Tulloch overlooking the crags of the Brokenback Ranges, or one of the valley’s oldest vineyards, Audrey Wilkinson. Sip a cold beer at FogHorn Brewery, at either its Hunter Valley or Newcastle pubs.
Pick out that picnic produce to go with your wine and beer at the Newcastle City Farmers Market, where farmers and gourmet creatives alike hustle to sell their wares on Sunday mornings.
Nature & rainforests
Once you’ve had your fill of paddleboarding across its calm waters or fishing in its depths for bream and squid, there’s plenty of other activities to do on dry land around Lake Macquarie. Take the five-kilometre Caves Beach walking track at Wallarah National Park, walk the rainforest gullies of the Watagan National Park, and sleep in its campgrounds.
Up in the Barrington Tops, take the easy Gloucester Falls walking track through the snow gums to see waters that plunge down into the bush valley, or extend the hike through sub-alpine bush woodland. To sharpen your navigation skills, the Barrington 4WD 15-kilometre trail is perfect for driving or mountain biking.
Attractions & activities
Pocket some sugar cubes and cling tight to your dog-eared copy of The Saddle Club – it’s time to put on your jodhpurs and go for a ride with Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures. Offering trail rides, pony experiences for the little ones and a tractor tour of the farm, it’s a true country experience through and through.
Drift above the early morning mists of the Hunter Valley when you take to the skies in a hot air balloon, high above the vines and fields during the colourful Hunter Valley Balloon Fiesta.
At King Edward Park in Newcastle, swim at the heritage Bogey Hole, an ocean swimming pool carved at the foot of sea cliffs by convicts in the early 19th century.