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Best Hotels in Pokolbin

Exploring Pokolbin

Located north of Sydney and west of Newcastle, in the Lower Hunter Valley, is New South Wales’ premier wine growing region, Pokolbin. This area is a collection of vineyards and villages rather than a single town. There have been wineries here for over 150 years, with the stunning Brokenback Range as a backdrop. Along with fine wines and tastings are top-notch food and accommodation in quality resorts and luxury bed and breakfasts.

It’s all about the wineries and while there are several in a relatively small area, the only real way to explore them all is by car. Many visitors choose to rent a car from the airport and then overnight in one of the excellent accommodations, such as the quality Tuscany Wine Estate Resort. For a change of pace, the area boasts horse-drawn carriages and hot-air balloons.

Sights nearby

The wineries are king here, and most people come to visit them and sample their wines, as well as to take in the beautiful countryside. The stunning Hunter Valley Gardens is a worthy side attraction and there are many golf courses in the area.

The wineries
Visiting the many wineries of the Hunter Valley is, of course, the main pastime. But you’ll need a car to get the best out of a visit to the area. McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate, noted as being the biggest family-owned winery in Australia, is on Marrowbone Road and comes with cheap tours. Other wineries include: Lindemans Ben Ean on McDonalds Road, with tastings Monday to Friday; Oakvale on Broke Road, not far from the four-star Harrigan's Irish Pub & Accommodation and known for its cheap wines; and Pepper Tree Wines on Halls Road, which boasts stunning gardens around its tasting room. Hungerford Hill, also on Broke Road, knocks out many fine wines and has a fabulous tasting room and cellar.

Hunter Valley Gardens
Visiting the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens is a must while here as they are one of the most striking gardens in New South Wales, and indeed Australia, with their rose gardens, waterfalls, and ponds. The gardens stretch over 60-odd acres in the centre of the main wineries and have the Brokenback Range as a backdrop.

Hot-air ballooning
There is no better place in the region to enjoy hot-air ballooning, with several companies operating out of Cessnock to offer that once-in-a-lifetime experience. Flights are typically an hour long and go at sunrise when the air is calmest. Expect stunning views of the countryside, including the wineries, the hills, the forests, and the rivers. Hunter Valley Hot-Air Ballooning and Balloon Aloft are two popular companies.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Some of the wineries have their own restaurants, such as Hungerford Hill with its highly-rated Muse Restaurant and Café or Bistro Molines at Tallavera Estate. These eateries typically have high priced menus. Farther out is Amanda's On the Edge Restaurant, which is not part of a winery, and you can find good eating at the likes of the four-star Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens. Nearby working-class Cessnock is best for normal priced eating, with pizzerias and Indian restaurants, along with a shopping centre.

Public transport

It is best to drive here as you’ll need a car to get about the wineries. The drive from Sydney is about two hours and goes via the F3 highway. Buses don’t run directly to Cessnock from Sydney, though there is a train to Morisset, from where buses run to Cessnock. Tour buses run here on daytrips, as does the Happy Cabby shuttle from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. Local buses run around Cessnock and its surrounds.