The largest town in Australia’s oldest wine region, Cessnock is the perfect place to explore acclaimed wineries and countryside. Begin your adventure with a Hunter Valley wine tour or take a scenic drive and discover great family attractions, such as Hunter Valley Zoo and Werakata National Park.
Vineyard tours & dining
There are many fun wine tours, from shuttle services to personal chauffeurs, as well as local self-guided maps from the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre. Begin with a visit to Briar Ridge Vineyard for a diverse blend of boutique wines and Hunter classics, or sample Hunter Beer Co’s delicious craft beer at Potters Hotel Brewery Resort.
At the acclaimed Bistro Molines, just outside of town, you’ll experience an exceptional fine dining experience. For a delicious country pub, drop into the award-winning 221 Restaurant & Bar in the 1922-built Royal Oak Hotel. The 1904 Peden’s Hotel and the historic Abermain Hotel also offer delicious local fare.
At the Hunter Valley Zoo, hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies and get up close to koalas, big cats and meerkats. Bring the family for a picnic and enjoy one of the daily shows. Only a 15 minute drive from town, the Hunter Valley Gardens is an enchanting landscape the family can explore.
Architectural gems in Cessnock include a timber-sawn home, circa 1885, that now houses the Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre. Check out the lively events calendar for wonderful shows at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.
In Yengo National Park you will see Aboriginal engravings at one of Australia’s finest Aboriginal cultural sites. There are also picnic spots in nearby Werakata National Park. From Astills picnic area a mountain bike track winds through spotted gums.
Getting there & where to stay
Perfect for a midweek or weekend escape, getting to the heart of Australia’s oldest wine region in Cessnock is easy. Only two hours’ drive north of Sydney and 50 minutes west of Newcastle Airport, trains also depart from Sydney for Singleton, via Newcastle.
Places to stay suit various budgets, from a heritage guesthouse and lovingly restored federation cottages. You’ll find a number of classic country pubs with accommodation including Peden’s Hotel and the Abermain Hotel in nearby Abermain.
Fly into Newcastle Airport
The Hunter Valley is within easy reach of Newcastle Airport. Choose from a range of transport services on arrival, including car rentals, limousines and shuttle buses as well as group and private transfers. Public transport options are available from the airport to Australia’s oldest wine region.
Newcastle Airport offers direct flights to and from eight destinations throughout southeastern Australia. Jetstar flies to Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast; Virgin Australia flies to Melbourne; QantasLink flies to Brisbane; and Regional Express flies to Sydney. Link Airways operates direct flights between Canberra and Newcastle six days a week. FlyPelican flies to Ballina/Byron, Canberra, Dubbo and Taree. Virgin Australia also operates seasonal direct flights to Auckland, New Zealand, between November and February.