What’s on your Summer Bucket List? You know, those once in a lifetime experiences you’ve always wanted to tick off. Make this summer about unforgettable Hunter Valley moments shared amongst friends and family as you explore lush vineyards, indulge in cheese tastings against a backdrop of endless crystal clear skies.

To help you get the most out of the season, we’ve put together a bucket list to ensure Summer in the Hunter will be one to remember for you and your loved ones.

1. Go on a road trip

The classic road trip has to be one of the best ways to kick start an unforgettable escape. The Hunter region is a mere two and a half hour drive from Sydney or 40 minutes from Newcastle. Regardless of where you’re from, make sure to bring plenty of snacks, a pumping playlist and an adventurous spirit.

2. Picnic amongst the vineyards

Venture out and explore the stunning hunter region with a rustic and delicious picnic. A beautiful vineyard inspires outdoor alfresco grazing while tasting your favourite wines and enjoying the spectacular summer sunset

3. Find a new furry friend

The region is home to an abundance of kangaroos, what better way to see them all than on the back of a golf buggy? Explore the bush, spot kangaroos grazing and marvel at the majestic Brokenback Ranges. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a wombat.

4. Take a trip to the zoo

Take a walk on the wild side and visit Hunter Valley Zoo to meet a variety of animal friends. From Aussie icons to the king of the jungle, Hunter Valley Zoo is a must for any Hunter Valley visitor.

5. Indulge in a cheese tasting

If you’re a dairy king or queen, the Smelly Cheese Shop is an unmissable stop in the Hunter Valley.  This Hunter-locals certified shop is the go-to for some of the best cheese from the region and beyond. Our top picks are anything by local producer, Binnorie Dairy, but just to be on the safe side, we recommend going with the cheese tasting.

6. Party at a concert amongst the vines

You might recognise some of the big names who’ll be joining us here in the Hunter Valley this summer, including Elton John and Cold Chisel. A stunning vineyard backdrop, great wines and country hospitality make the Hunter Valley a beautiful yet comforting setting for the concert of your dreams. Check our Summer Concert Guide for updates on who’s coming next but be sure to book your ticket early for a magical outdoor concert experience.

7. A lesson in local produce

There’s no better place to get to know local produce than at a locally-run gourmet market. The Hunter Valley Fine Food Markets offers a variety of hand-made goods including farm fresh produce, boutique cheese, fresh baked bread, preserves and more. Have breakfast at the market, meander through the vast array of stalls and pick up a few Hunter specials for home.  

8. Trek to Mount Yengo lookout

Make one bucket list item a fitness one, with a bush walk to the Mount Yengo lookout. Watch over the north and west in Wollemi wilderness, followed by a short hike to the breathtaking vantage point overlooking the valley. It’s the perfect spot to reflect and reimagine what life in wine country was like, hundreds of years ago. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

9. See sunrise from a hot air balloon

Just when you think you’ve seen everything the Hunter has to offer, take to the skies with Beyond Ballooning for one last look at the region. Sometimes a shift in perspective is all you need for fresh ideas to start flowing.

10. Explore Australia’s Largest Gardens 

Get back to nature and explore the exquisite beauty that is Hunter Valley Gardens. Explore over 6000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and over 1 million ground cover plants, plus waterfalls, statues, murals and more!

11. Soak up the Sun

Would summer be complete without a pool day? Take a break from all that exciting Hunter Valley action and sip a refreshing beverage by the water. Grab a lounge beside Regional NSW’s largest resort pool or enjoy some quiet, grown up fun beside our adults only Haven Pool and Organica Bar.

12. Make a four-legged friend

Discover the true beauty of the Hunter Valley on horseback. Enjoy a daytime or sunset ride through picturesque trails. With trail rides to suit any skill level, from beginners to seasoned equestrians, including pony rides for the little ones and winery rides for adults.

13. Take a Scenic Flight

Enjoy the ride of your life with the team at Aerologistics, and discover the sweeping views of our wine country and coast. Explore an abundance of Hunter Valley wineries and bush areas, check out our beautiful beaches or marvel at the local Broken Back Range.

14. Indulge in the Hunter Valley’s world famous wines

You can’t leave without learning about the Hunter Valley’s famous wineries and tasting some of the regions most famous drops. DIY your own adventure, take advantage of a custom tour package or let the wine come to you at Redsalt Resturant. Not a wine fan? The team at Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley has your beer and cider needs covered.

15. Stay with us

This might be presumptuous of us to say, but we think we offer the best accommodation in the region for you to tick your bucket list off. Go out and adventure on but return to rest peacefully in our comfortable rooms, swim in Regional NSW’s largest outdoor heated pool or grab a bite from our Lovedale Bar.