Scenic Drives in the Upper Hunter
A scenic drive is the perfect way to experience the wonders of the beautiful Upper Hunter. You can do a loop and visit picturesque country towns or split the beautiful region into a couple of drives, branching off to enjoy cellar doors, vineyard restaurants, heritage walks, fun festivals and spectacular wilderness.
A good place to begin a self-drive itinerary is Muswellbrook, on the banks of the Hunter River. Stretch your legs on the Muswellbrook Heritage Walk and visit the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, home to the Max Watters Collection of influential Australian artworks. Enjoy premium cheeses with lunch at the famous Hunter Belle Cheese.
North of Muswellbrook is Aberdeen, which celebrates its Scottish heritage with the annual Aberdeen Highland Games. Two lovely drives from Aberdeen are northeast to shimmering Lake Glenbawn – a popular spot for fishing, boating and camping – and north to Scone, the horse capital of Australia.
North of Scone, on the way to Murrurundi at the foothills of the Liverpool Range, is a naturally burning coal seam at Burning Mountain Nature Reserve and Towarri National Park’s Washpools waterhole. Murrurundi hosts the annual King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival.
For cellar doors, enjoy a pretty drive southwest to Denman, via olive oil producer Pukara Estate. Around Denman are Two Rivers Wines, Small Forest and Hollydene Estate Wines, where you can enjoy lunch at the Vines Restaurant. West is James Estate Wines in Baerami, near Sandy Hollow. Take a gorgeous drive on the Golden Highway to Merriwa, where you can branch off and enjoy the Lees Pinch lookout.
Time your scenic road trip with one of the exciting festivals held in this beautiful region:
- King of the Ranges Stockman's in February
- Scone Horse Festival in May
- Upper Hunter Wine and Food Affair in May
- Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces in June
- Aberdeen Highland Games in July
- Scone Literary Festival in November
Only three hours’ drive north of Sydney, getting to the Upper Hunter is easy. Catch a train to Muswellbrook and rent a car, or fly into Newcastle Airport for the 90min drive. You can also explore this region on a trip along The Golden Highway, an adventurous route stretching from Singleton to Dubbo.
You’ll find plenty of places to stay in the Upper Hunter, from vineyard cottages to tranquil retreats and luxury resorts. Check out the events calendar for festivals, markets and events, and plan ahead for a memorable getaway.