Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hunter Valley in review

Before two sets of my friends moved there during 2008, the Hunter Valley was a place I'd heard of but couldn't locate on a map. Now I know it's the next major region north of Sydney, heading inland from coastal Newcastle, and I've actually been there before as a nine-year-old.

This area is famous for two things, or maybe three: the two most obvious are wine and coal mines, and I'd add the lakes on as a third well-known part.

As far as tourism in the Hunter Valley goes, I got the impression that much of it is put on for wealthy Sydneysiders spending a quick weekend up there. The vineyards - we saw plenty around Pokolbin, for example, when we stayed with our friends in Paxton - mostly have pricey wines and restaurant menus targeted at Sydney's high-income earners.

But if you hang out with locals and get off the beaten track, things get more relaxed and much less pretentious. We ate a great hamburger at a cafe in Wollombi and took several drives into the surrounding hills to get views over the valley. I'd also recommend a day cruise we did out on Lake Macquarie on the Macquarie Star; I always love a day out on the water and this trip came with lunch and down-to-earth commentary, including quite a few insults flung at city-slickers who park their expensive yacht in the lake and then never use it. I couldn't agree more!


  1. Wow! I had never thought much about visiting Hunter Valley but you have reminding me that we have so much left to explore in our own backyard right?


  2. Too true. I was reminded of the same thing when my husband told his sister (in Switzerland, who visited us last year) about our Sydney trip and suggested we should all meet up there sometime, and she said she figured she could visit Australia at least 10 times and still only scratch the surface.


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