Exploring our very own Aussie backyard is seldom smoother, more effortless and enjoyable than when doing it on Maxxis tyres – which is why we set out to a different location each month with some ideas to help you get your next adventure rolling!
So, with the cooler weather now here — and hopefully a little less rain than we’ve seen in the past few months — for May’s road trip we’re heading to NSW’s iconic Hunter Valley for a few laid-back days of relaxation, fabulous food, toasty fireplaces, awesome scenery and (of course!) some wine-tasting … along with a whole lot more that this stunning destination has to offer.
About three and a half hours from Sydney on the M1 /Pacific Highway (244km or so) will get you from your front door right into the heart of Hunter Valley. Whether it’s just a weekend road trip or you turn it into a longer getaway – the Hunter is far enough to get you many miles away from the daily grind, while still being close enough to have you back home and ready for work and school without missing a beat!
Best Tyres for the ride
If your vehicle’s a 4×4 or SUV and you haven’t yet tried out the awesomely amazing RAZR AT811 All-Terrains, don’t miss this great opportunity to put them to the test over the Hunter’s multi terrains! Superb both on- and off-road (in wet and dry weather), they have just the right grip for every surface, offer excellent traction, puncture resistance and ride comfort – plus they’re feisty and up for some fun! Meantime, the Maxxis Victra Sport 5 (VS5) is a smart tyre choice for passenger cars, particularly if you’re wanting sporty good looks and exceptional performance combined with an ultra-quiet and comfortable ride.
When in the Hunter — what to do and where to go
Hunter Valley Gardens
Covering 14 hectares and comprising 10 beautifully landscaped and themed areas (including the Rose Garden, Indian Grotto, Oriental Garden, Chinese Garden, Sunken Garden, Lakes Walk and more), these impressive gardens are conveniently situated in Pokolbin to get your trip to the Hunter well on its way. It’s the perfect spot to take a peaceful walk, have a BBQ or picnic, or stop in at the village nearby for a Hunter produce-inspired meal and do a bit of shopping at one of the speciality stores. There is even a Ferris Wheel and other rides for the kids (or you!) if you’re wanting to take your adventure to the next level!
Wine and craft beer
Everyone knows that the Hunter is synonymous with magnificent wines, rolling vineyards, hospitable cellar doors, breweries and distilleries – however, with so much on offer, deciding exactly how and where to begin can be quite a challenge! In and around Pokolbin you’ll find well-known names such as Tyrrells, De Bortoli and McGuigan (just for starters) as well as Audrey Wilkinson, one of Australia’s oldest vineyards and in a spectacular setting!
Cheese and chocolate
When it comes to cheese to accompany that bottle of the Hunter’s best you’ve just selected from a cellar door, don’t go past the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop. Not only does it stock a wide variety of delicious local and imported artisan cheeses (and other tasty produce), but this shop is also home to the Hunter Valley Gelato Company – featuring colourful mountains of gelato and sorbet flavours to choose from. And, test-tasting artisan chocolate in the Hunter is also well worth putting on your map, with many yummy chocolate-delicious destinations such as Cocoa Nib and Hunter Valley Chocolate that can be visited at two locations.
Make your own pasta
Learning the skill of making pasta the traditional Italian way is all part of the experience at Our Italian Table on Nicita Estate. After your lesson you get the opportunity to sit down at a long lunch table and enjoy everything you’ve cooked up – so book in, cheers and enjoy!
Food and Wine Festival
While still on the topic of the Hunter’s magnificent local produce and wine, more great news is that the Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival is back on and running across the region this May and June — with wine and food paring, tastings, vineyard tours and other events all part of the mouth-watering mix! For more information, take a look at the full program and take your pick!
Hunter Valley Zoo
If you’re looking for an activity for the kids, the Hunter Valley Zoo in Nulkaba (near Cessnock) has you covered! A range of interesting and unusual Aussie (and other) animals including lemurs, meerkats and even a Binturong are on display, making for a special outing or up-close encounter.
Cycle the Hunter
Up for a bit of fresh air and exercise while seeing the magnificent Hunter scenery and sights on-the-go? There are a number of cycle trails and routes just waiting to be explored including a 10-km stretch along Hermitage Road that takes you past a number of cellar doors! If you haven’t got your own a bike (or it’s too much hassle to bring it with you), hiring one (including tandems and electric versions) is easily done.
Where to stay
As you’d expect in the Hunter Valley – there’s accommodation to suit every need, want and budget – whether it’s among the vines, a hotel in town or a family friendly farm-stay. For an extra-peaceful and tranquil cottage experience Woodlane Cottages offer the stunning backdrop of the Brokenback Mountain Ranges, while Grapevines Boutique Accommodation is not only in a beautiful setting but it’s also conveniently close to Hunter Valley Gardens and everything else that Pokolbin has to offer. You can check out some more great places to stay here.
Before you go
When it comes to a road trip, being spontaneous is often the most fun way to jump in your vehicle and go! That said, with this year’s Hunter autumn and winter calendars looking pretty exceptional, it’s advisable to plan (and book) a bit ahead. If you’re needing new tyres or are just keen to take a look at the Maxxis tyre range to see what they’re all about, check in with one of our friendly and professional Maxxis dealers situated countrywide – and of course, it goes without saying – remember to check those tyre pressures before you head off! …‘Til next month, Safe Travels and Happy Huntering!