The largest town in Australia’s oldest wine region, Cessnock is perfect for exploring the Hunter Valley’s acclaimed wineries and cellar doors. Plenty of wine tours begin in Cessnock, and you’ll be thrilled with the fun family attractions, including the Hunter Valley Zoo and Werakata National Park.

Only two hours’ drive from Sydney and an hour from Newcastle, Cessnock is surrounded by verdant countryside and splendid wilderness. Places to stay suit various budgets, from a heritage guesthouse and lovingly restored federation cottages to heritage pubs, a holiday park and a backpacker hostel.

 Cessnock School of Arts on Main Street in the Hunter region of NSW

You’ll find a delicious selection of restaurants, including the award-winning 221 Restaurant & Bar in the 1922-built Royal Oak Hotel. Other classic country pubs with restaurants and accommodation include the 1904-built Peden’s Hotel and the Abermain Hotel, built in 1905 in nearby Abermain.

Check out the lively events calendar for a marvellous program of drama, comedy, ballet and concerts at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre. The 466-seat theatre hosts international and interstate touring companies. Why not combine a midweek or weekend break with a show and a wine tour?

Dance performance at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre

For art lovers, the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery hosts touring exhibitions and shows throughout the year and displays works by the region’s artists. The gallery program is 12 exhibitions annually, with a focus on the visual arts. After admiring the artwork, visit the gallery shop and browse enticing gifts.

Architectural gems in Cessnock include a timber-sawn home, circa 1885, that now houses the Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre. The centre is open on Friday and Saturday and you can buy locally handmade arts and craft. You can also bring a hamper and enjoy a picnic in the gardens.

Boy with kangaroos at the Hunter Valley Zoo in Cessnock

Another picnic spot is under the gum trees at Astills picnic area, in Werakata National Park. The charming location is only 10 minutes’ drive from Cessnock. Bring your mountain bikes as the 8km Deadmans mountain bike loop starts here. The easy trail winds through ironbark and spotted gums.

At Hunter Valley Zoo, hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies and get up close to koalas. There are exotic animals, from big cats to meerkats, Malayan tapir berani and South American capybara. Near the zoo is the Potters Hotel Brewery Resort, where you can savour Hunter Beer Co’s craft brews.

Newcastle Airport

Fly into Newcastle Airport

Newcastle Airport is only 25km from the city centre. Choose from a range of transport services on arrival, including car rental, limousine and door-to-door shuttle buses. Public buses operate from the airport to the city, Stockton Ferry Wharf, Nelson Bay, Greenhills and Raymond Terrace. There are also public transport options to the Hunter Valley. Please check the timetable.

Newcastle Airport offers direct flights to and from east coast cities and Adelaide.

Jetstar flies direct to and from Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane. QantasLink operates direct flights to and from Brisbane. Virgin Australia flies direct to and from Brisbane and Melbourne.  FlyPelican operates direct flights to and from Adelaide, Dubbo, Mudgee, Ballina-Byron Bay, Canberra and Sydney. Regional Express also flies to and from Sydney.


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  1. Starkers

    Tuesday 21 May 2019 to Sunday 02 June 2019 , Cessnock

    An upcoming exhibition of artworks featuring nudes will appeal to the inquisitive nature and promises to deliver delight to patrons of the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery. Starkers is a group show including the work of local Hunter Valley…

    21 May - 02 Jun
  2. Leaving Jackson

    Friday 24 May 2019 , Cessnock

    From the famous Walk The Line and Folsom Prison Blues to the iconic Ring of Fire, for more than 40 years Johnny Cash and June Carter enthralled audiences around the world with their songs of life, love and heartache. A love story played…

    24 May
  3. The Butcherbird Tour

    Thursday 30 May 2019 , Cessnock

    John Williamson is without question, an Australian icon. His voice and sound are as recognizable and important to Australia as the Southern Cross is to the flag. He’s performed at some of Australia’s most historic and nation stopping…

    30 May