Set amongst vineyards and with Brokenback Range as its backdrop, Pokolbin is the village centre of the Hunter Valley wine region, and focal point for the wineries and boutique accommodation in the area. The pretty country roads around Pokolbin are home to some of Australia's most well-known wine labels, making it a veritable wine lover's paradise.
The area has grown into one of the most desirable short-break destinations from Sydney and Australia's most popular wine tourism region. Restaurants and accommodation in Pokolbin are varied and sophisticated. Stay in a cosy B&B, luxury guesthouse or spa retreat before heading out to meet local winemakers, see how wine is made, and sample local drops at free cellar door tastings.
Spanning over 60 acres near Cessnock, Hunter Valley Gardens comprises of ten stunning feature gardens. Along the eight kilometres of walking paths are more than six thousand trees, one million ground covers and six hundred thousand shrubs. A floral display featuring a variety of plants and statuary, all of a standard that you won t see elsewhere in Australia. The Rose Garden has more than 8,000 roses on display; favourite fairytale characters are featured in the Storybook Garden.
Once a service centre for travellers, it became a major coal mining town around the turn of the 20th century. Today it is a residential, commercial and government centre. In recent years, Cessnock has developed other tourist ventures beyond the wine industry such as championship golf courses, hot air ballooning, sky-diving, and guest house accommodation.
The commercial centre of the Hunter Valley and a railway, coal mining and market town, the City of Maitland is set on the Hunter River and surrounded by fertile plains. Of the major towns of the Hunter Valley, Maitland retains many historic buildings that date back to the earliest years of colonial Australia.
Maitland is the gateway to the picturesque Williams Valley and the towns of Stroud, Morpeth, Gresford, Paterson, Clarence Town and Dungog.
Muswellbrook is a regional centre for the Upper Hunter Valley. There are numerous award-winning wineries and olive farms around Muswellbrook, most of which are on the Upper Hunter Wine Trail. Muswellbrook is the gateway to Wollemi, Goulburn River and and Barrington Tops National Parks. Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre manages a large permanent collection which was originally founded through the Art Prize in the late 1950s. It also presents travelling exhibitions, local exhibitions and art prizes (including the biennial Muswellbrook Open Art Prize), along with periodic selections from the Max Watters and Shire Collections.
Located in the southwest corner of the mid Hunter Valley and sitting between Pokolbin and Wollombi, Broke is an historical town, once being a major centre in the Hunter Valley involved in the development and heritage of NSW. Historically, it is one of the oldest wine growing areas in Australia. The Broke area is well known for its boutique wine production and is usually referred to as the Broke-Fordwich wine region (a sub-region to the more famous Pokolbin area nearby). There is also substantial open-cut and underground coal mining in the area between Broke and Singleton.
The largest wilderness area in NSW, Wollemi forms part of the recently declared Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area a maze of canyons, cliffs and undisturbed forest. Descend to the Colo River on Bob Turners Track (4 km, 200 m descent, some steep sections) and enjoy the inland beaches in one of the state s longest and most scenic gorges. There are historic ruins at Newnes; the Glow Worm Tunnel is part of the old railway that serviced the area; Dunns Swamp has easy walks and plenty of opportunities for canoeing.
Stretching over 70 km from Wisemans Ferry to the Hunter Valley, Yengo National Park is a wild area of steep gorges and rocky ridges. The area is rich in Aboriginal and cultural heritage. The historic Old Great North Road, an intact example of early 19th century convict road-building, follows the south-east boundary of the park. Included as part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage, the area also includes the Mt Yengo Aboriginal Place and much of the reserve is declared wilderness.