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History of the Hunter Valley


Over 30,000 years ago, the land we now know as the Hunter Valley was inhabited by the Wonnarua tribe of Aboriginal Australians along with the Awakabal tribe to the south and the Worimi tribe to the north, which includes eastern Port Stephens and Great Lakes regions of coastal NSW. Together, these three tribes developed a trading route between the Sydney area and the Hunter (Coquun) Valley – exchanging goods and performing ceremonies along the way.

Captain Cook ignored the Hunter Valley region on his travels along the Australian coast in the late 1700’s. It was only when a British naval officer by the name of Lieutenant John Shortland, came upon the Hunter Valley by chance during a search for escaped convicts that the region was identified for its valuable source of timber to repair ships and coal to fuel the steamship trade coming out of Sydney.


However, it was four years after this first discovery and only when Sydney Cove started experiencing food, fuel and material shortages that an expedition headed by Lieutenant Colonel Paterson was sent to the region to confirm Lieutenant John Shortland’s findings...

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Part of the Lower Hunter Region, Hunter Valley Wine Country is located approximately 165km / 2 hours drive north-west of the Sydney's CBD. 
From Sydney, take the M1 Motorway at Wahronga / Hornsby headed North. Take the M15 Hunter Expressway Exit (approximately Xkm from the  start of the M1 Motorway)
M15 Best Exits: Take the Lovedale Exit for Lovedale, Central Pokolbin, Pokolbin South and Nulkaba. Take the Huntlee Exit for Pokolbin North and Broke Fordwich.
From Newcastle, take the A15 (Newcastle Rd) to Wallsend. Continue on the A15 (Newcastle Link Road) until it turns into the M15 Hunter Expressway. 
M15 Best Exits: Take the Lovedale Exit for Lovedale, Central Pokolbin, Pokolbin South and Nulkaba. Take the Huntlee Exit for Pokolbin North and Broke Fordwich.
Classic Hunter Valley Wines

The Hunter Valley is renowned for producing some of the world's best and most distinctive styles of Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay which are the hallmark of this region.

The most recognised of these is Hunter Valley Semillon, a truly  outstanding wine in terms of quality and taste, with a style that has not been replicated anywhere else in the world. Other varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chambourcin and Sangiovese amongst the red wines and Verdelho, Viognier, and Gewurztraminer amongst the whites. The region is also home to a talented list of winemakers who are at the forefront of innovative and new varieties and styles such as Tempranillo and Pinot Grigio.


Classic Varieties
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Pokolbin South (Peter Draytons Wines) to
Central Pokolbin (Hunter Valley Gardens)............12mins

Central Pokolbin (Hunter Valley Gardens) to
Mount View (Kelman Vineyard) .............................12mins

Lovedale (Cnr Talga & Lovedale Rds) to
Cessnock (McDonalds) ............................................13mins

Cessnock Centre to Wollombi ............................. 45mins
Wollombi to Broke ...................................................28mins
Broke to Central Pokolbin (HVG) ...........................16mins
Driving Times
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Local Townships


Named after Cessnock Castle in Ayrshire Scotland, the city of Cessnock was originally developed as a private village on the road that is now known as the “Convict Trail” – the original Sydney to Hunter Valley road built by 3,000 convicts.

Cessnock then became a major mining centre at the turn of the century, but wine and tourism soon became the major industries for the area. With the vineyards being so close to the town, Cessnock very quickly became recognised as the “gateway” to the wine region and now includes a number of fine hotels, motels and guesthouses as well as a number of restaurants, pubs and galleries. Visitors are also able to visit the nearby local Hunter Beer Co. micro-brewery – renowned for its award winning selection of craft beers.

Kurri Kurri

Rich in heritage with country pubs dating back to the early 1900’s and a railway museum, Kurri Kurri is renowned for its magnificent outdoor murals illustrating the area’s history and culture. Established in 1902 to service the local Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main collieries and mining communities, Kurri Kurri is also home to the annual Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival.


Founded in 1820 on the banks of the Hunter River, Singleton is a delightful mix of heritage, country charm and modern sophistication. From Singleton you can tour a host of boutique wineries and fine dining restaurants, or step back in history with one of the museums.


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