The Hunter Valley Australia

Discover a NSW tourist hotspot and wine lovers paradise.

Where is the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is not a clearly defined region with distinct boundaries, it is a mix of several different regions. The Hunter has 11 local government areas! It is a mix of sub regions inside a wider region known as the Hunter.

 

As far as the traveler or wine tourist is concerned the centre of the Hunter Valley would be Pokolbin.

 

You could draw a line from Woolombi to Broke, Broke to Singleton, Singleton to Maitland, Maitland to Cessnock, and Cessnock back to Woolombi.

 

Technically and legally speaking however the area is much larger. The Australian Geographical Indication "Hunter Valley" was entered in the Register of Protected Names on 1 May 1996. The AUSTRALIAN GRAPE AND WINE AUTHORITY places Muswellbrook as the geographical centre of the Hunter Valley on their GI MAP.

 

A geographical indication (GI) identifies a good as originating in a specific territory, region or locality where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

List of Towns in the Hunter Valley

 

  • Pokolbin
  • Broke
  • Lovedale
  • Mount View

 

Weather in the Hunter Valley

Weather in the hunter valley is divided into four distinct seasons. The temperature ranges on average from about the coldest in June or approx 18 degrees Celsius to around 30 degrees Celsius in January.

For more information about the highs an lows head over to the WeatherZONE

The Hunter Valley offers a different experience for each of the  seasons, and any time of year is worth going.

  • If you head to the Hunter Valley in Autumn (March to May) you will see the vine leaves and the deciduous trees in the valley, turning a warm red hue and start dropping off the vines. Be sure to bring your camera.
  • Holidaying in the Hunter Valley during Winter (June to August) expect to see mostly sunny days (on average) with clear blue skies and mild temperatures during the day. It is a great time to visit, especially for those from colder climates. And for those winter nights, luxury accommodations come with  fireplaces, great for romantic evenings

 

  • Planning to spend from time at the Hunter Valley in the Spring (September to November) you will be greeted by delicate light green foliage along with the hills and the hillsides becoming more lush and green. The Hunter is  picturesque in the Spring, and it brings festivals and all type of activity to the region.

 

  • Come to the Hunter Valley in the Summer (December to February) to experience the Vineyard harvest. It is a vibrant and exciting time of year, where warm days create the perfect   backdrop for picnics, BBQ and Vineyard tours.

History of the Hunter Valley

The spirit of Baime is depicted on a cave

Hunter Valley Aboriginal History

The Wonnarua were the original inhabitants of the Coquun, now known as the Hunter Valley and occupied the upper Hunter over 30,000 years until displaced europeans in the late 19th Century, when a Wonnarua tracker led the first settlers from Sydney.

Wonnarua dreamtime describes the Hunter Valley being created by the great spirit, Baime (Byamee). Before Baime there was nothing, everything was sleeping. Baime awoke and created everything, the mountains, plains, rivers and every living thing.

The spirit of Baime is depicted on a cave overlooking the Valley at Milbrodale. Baime has his arms stretched open protecting the Valley.

Baime also created Kawal (Ka-wal), to watch over the Wonnarua people. The spirit of Kawal is embodied in the wedge tailed eagle, found throughout the Hunter Valley.

When the Wonnarua see the wedge tailed eagle, they know Kawal is looking over them, protecting them.

More info about the go to the Wonnarua website. 

Sunset over a Paso Robles, California vineyard with branches hanging.

Vineyard and Winemaking History of the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley has been a wine producing region since the earliest years of its settlement. Early pioneers were George Wyndham, William Kelman and James King. By 1823 some 20 acres of vineyards had already been planted. By 1832 it was apparent the the vine could thrive.

At first the quantities of wine produced and the vine acreages were negligible, and even by 1850, these had not made the dramatic increases that were to occur in the second half of the century. But, during these years the pioneer wine growers , in the main large landholders with a few acres of vines , were laying the foundations for the future .

By 1930 the Pokolbin area had built a reputation for quality wine production. A number of qualified winemakers enhanced the Hunter Valley's reputation in Sydney and Melbourne. The great families of the Hunter Valley, of which some have been in the area for six generations, also made significant contributions to what the area is today.

In the 1960's the market changed. Fine, dry table wines were gaining in popularity and the wine industry could once again flourish and a proliferation of boutique wineries ensued, which is what still characterises the Hunter Valley today.

Today the Hunter Valley produces a wine that competes on the international market, and continues to be one of Australia's well-known and respected wine regions, which, has produced award winning wines. There are over 150 wineries in the Valley.

Timeline at a Glance

 

  • 1797 British Lieutenant John Shortland names the Hunter River
  • 1820 John Howe discovered the first overland route to the Hunter
  • 1825 The first major grape vine planting in the Hunter Valley
    • James Busby, widely considered the father of Australian wine, purchased vineyard land between the settlements of Branxton and Singleton and named it Kirkton after his Scottish birthplace near Edinburgh.
  • 1832 Viability of the hunter as a wine growing regions is confirmed, as it becomes apparent the vine can thrive.
  • 1855 Hunter Valley wins its first international award
  • 1860  First Coal Mine opens in Singleton (RIXS CREEK)
  • 1929–30  Devastating hail storms caused many growers to abandon their vineyards.
  • 1955 Hunter Valley floods
    • The Hunter Valley Floods (also known as the Maitland Flood) of February 1955 was a major flood on the Hunter River. A total of 25 lives were claimed during a week of flooding that washed away 58 homes and damaged 103 beyond repair. In Maitland alone, 2180 homes were invaded by water.
  • 1960 Hunter Valley Semillon -
    • Leo Buring began marketing the first commercially successful Hunter Valley Semillon under the label "Rhine Gold"
  • 1963-1972 The Hunter Valley Marijuana infestation
    • The presence of Cannabis sativa, first reported in 1963 when it was found in the Hunter River Valley. Infestations, ranging from isolated plants to dense populations (covering as much as 8 hectares) were scattered over about 3,000 hectares extending for 64 kilometres along the floodplain of the Hunter River.
  • 1971, Australian Chardonnay craze
    • Murray Tyrrell released Australia's first commercial bottling of Chardonnay which signalled the beginning of the Australian Chardonnay craze
  • 1989 Newcastle Earthquake
    • The shock measured 5.6, kills 13 people, reported injuries 160. The damage bill A$4 billion. The effects were felt over an area of around 200,000 square kilometres