The ultimate weekend bucket list guide to the Hunter Valley

This article is sponsored by Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.

JUST two hours’ drive from Sydney and you’re in paradise. The Hunter Valley with its delicious local produce, delectable wine, impossibly stunning scenery, wonderful wine, huge variety of wildlife, heavenly wine, and abundance of things to do is perfect for a weekend getaway. And did we mention the wine? – Magnificent!

Here are Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s top 10 picks you simply must add to your weekend to-do list in the Hunter.

1. Stay at Crowne Plaza  

The ultimate bucket list requires ideal luxury. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is proud of their reputation for having some of the most luxurious accommodation offerings in the area. Go all out for comfort and book a deluxe room with a plush and generous king size bed. Or for extra space why not try a two or three bedroom villa for some serious relaxation?

With all we have planned for the weekend, you will be pleased you upgraded to total bliss. You’re welcome!

Crowne Plaza accommodation

2. Have an unforgettable spa experience

Unwind with a spa treatment surrounded by some of the most picturesque sceneries in the country. Start your weekend with a complete de-stress.

Located at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Ubika Spa offers a range of indulgent treatments. Choose from massages, facials, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, and other beauty treatments.

If you’ve got a girls weekend or hens party planned why not book the Sanctuary Suite, which caters for groups from two to twelve people.

Enjoy the Sanctuary Suite’s spa bath, sauna, separate bathroom and tranquil relaxation area while you indulge in a glass of Hunter Valley sparkling and a local fruit platter.

Ubika also has an exclusive deal for locals that give 20 per cent off the complete range of hair grooming services from cutting and styling to colouring and treatments.

Ubika Spa treatments

3. Greet the day in a hot air balloon

You’re here for a good time, but a weekend is not necessarily a long time so there isn’t a minute to spare if you want the full wine country experience.

To make your stay truly memorable go the full floating lift of a hot air balloon ride at dawn.

Beyond Ballooning know all there is to know about this adventure and will give you the confidence of being in good hands. Fire up your senses as you take in the Hunter Valley from a rare vantage point as the sun rises.

Once back on terra firma why not cap off the morning by indulging your sense of taste with a gourmet champagne buffet breakfast at Redsalt Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.

Beyond Ballooning

4. Get in a round of golf

You haven’t enjoyed a round of golf until you have done it Hunter style. With such a picturesque backdrop, golf in the Hunter Valley ensures you have a beautiful walk and get in a game as well.

With a Golf Staycation package you are covered for a night in a deluxe hotel room at Crowne Plaza, a full buffet breakfast at Redsalt Restaurant, an 18 hole round of golf, complete with a cart hire and a complimentary beer afterwards.

Golf Staycation package

5.  Experience Jazz in the Vines

The last ever Jazz In The Vines music festival at Tyrrells' Winery, Pokolbin in 2016. Pic by Max Mason-Hubers

The last ever Jazz In The Vines music festival at Tyrrells' Winery, Pokolbin in 2016. Pic by Max Mason-Hubers

If you only do it once make it this year, Saturday November 24, at Hope Estate Hunter Valley.

Let the groovy strands of jazz wash over you and elevate you to a higher plain as you relax under the stars in Hope Estate amphitheatre.

James Morrison and his band will perform the magic that is the best of Motown with hits like Heard it Through the Grapevine’, ‘Dancing in the Streets’, ‘Get Ready’, ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, ‘What’s Going On’, ‘My Girl’… and plenty more.

Check out the website for the packages available this year.

Hope Estate Jazz in the Vineyards

6. Buckle up for a guided winery tour

What trip to the Hunter Valley would be even remotely complete without a winery tour, preferably with a bus and driver so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy yourself?

A radically different edition to the wine tour scene in the region is The Lovedale Bus Tour. The tour goes by some of the most famous wineries in the area and offers a selection of the best wine, beer, cider and food on a three hour tour.

Tours depart Saturday, 12.30pm – 5pm; $55 per person.

Lovedale bus tour

7. Taste the delights of the Hunter Valley

For the cheese lovers among us, and who isn’t, the Hunter’s locals give their tick of approval to the Smelly Cheese Shop.

Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop is the place to stock up on local, Australian and imported artisan cheese, gourmet delights, gelato that is made on site, cured meats and accompaniments. They also offer cheese platters, antipasto platters and a selection of different olives.

Why not try a cheese tasting board of five cheeses, or book a private cheese appreciation class to learn about different varieties and the art of wine matching?

With an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, the Smelly Cheese Shop can also be the place for an inexpensive but tasty meal.

Smelly Cheese shop

8. Take in the full picture from a helicopter

On many people’s bucket lists is a helicopter ride, but when you add views of the natural, unique beauty of the Hunter Valley’s landscape from the air, you have yourself something extra special.

Lift off and see paradise from above with Hunter Valley Helicopters.

Choose from a range of packages designed to accommodate your needs and budget for an experience you will never forget.

Hunter Valley Helicopters

9. Explore the landscape on a Segway

While it may sound like a zany way to get around, exploring the bush of the Hunter Valley on a Segway tour may even turn out to be the highlight of your stay. Immerse yourself in the real landscape in a tour that takes you on tracks framed by the majestic Brokenback Ranges. Keep your eyes on the bush closer to home to see some locals – kangaroos, wombats and even goannas.

The tour takes you through renowned McGuigan vineyard and past the Hunter Valley Bottling Company on the way home. See the grapes in their natural state before sampling them in the finished product.

Take in stunning scenery, historic facts from the region and use the latest Segway personal transporter technology on this magical tour.

Segway tours

10. Delight in Sculpture in the Vineyards

Jacek Wankowski with his work Reef as part of the Sculpture in the Vineyard exhibition in 2007. Pic Stefan Moore

Jacek Wankowski with his work Reef as part of the Sculpture in the Vineyard exhibition in 2007. Pic Stefan Moore

Try something completely unique to the Hunter Valley with Sculpture in the Vineyards.

The exhibition is part of the 16th Visit Wollombi Celebrations and starts on Friday November 2, running through to Sunday, the exhibition will open daily from 10am to 5pm.

An experience for the whole family, entry to the outdoor exhibition is free. The artwork is full of delight with a variety of creative approaches and innovative materials used in their construction.

Hear from local art experts or join an artist-led creative workshop or you can chat with a vigneron from the area about wine making and how to grow the best grapes.

Later, reflect on a true Hunter Valley experience with a glass of wine at one or more of Wollombi’s cosy cellar doors.

Sculpture in the Vineyards

Whatever you place on your bucket list from these suggestions, by the end of the weekend you will feel you’ve had an authentic, all sensory, Hunter Valley experience, and you can’t beat that.

This article is sponsored by Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.