Top 13 NON-WINE Things To Do in the Hunter Valley

Welcome to the Hunter Valley, a region renowned for its world-class wineries and vineyards. But what if we told you there’s so much more to this picturesque paradise than just wine? There are so many things to do in the Hunter Valley, not all of them need to link back to wine and alcohol!

In this article, we’re taking you off the beaten path and into the heart of the Hunter Valley’s diverse offerings. We’re talking about electric bike adventures, pasta cooking classes, cheese making experiences, and even a smash room for those who need a bit of stress relief.

Ever dreamt of floating above the vineyards in a hot air balloon, or indulging in a rejuvenating wellness retreat? How about a mobile massage right in the comfort of your holiday home, or exploring the historic charm of Morpeth Village? We’ve got all these and more lined up for you.

From thrilling helicopter rides to peaceful bushwalks, from exploring Aboriginal art caves to a visit to the infamous Maitland Jail, we’re about to show you a side of the Hunter Valley you never knew existed.

So buckle up dear reader, and get ready to discover the top 10 non-wine things to do in the Hunter Valley. Let’s dive in!

Electric Bikes

Image from Grapemobile

Exploring the Hunter Valley on an electric bike is a unique and exhilarating experience that offers a multitude of benefits. Not only does it provide an eco-friendly way to traverse the stunning landscapes, but it also allows you to discover the region at your own pace. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, the ease of an electric bike means everyone can enjoy the ride. Feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face as you pedal through vineyards, rolling hills, and hidden gems off the beaten track. The Hunter Valley is more than just vineyards; it’s a world of natural beauty waiting to be explored. So why not add a dash of adventure to your trip? See the Hunter Valley from a new perspective and reap the benefits of an electric bike ride.

Try these bike rental companies:

Hunter Valley Bike Hire

Sutton’s Estate Electric Bike Hire


Cooking Classes

Unleash your inner chef in the heart of the Hunter Valley! Embark on a culinary adventure with hands-on cooking classes that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned home cook, you’ll be guided by experienced chefs who’ll share their secrets and techniques. From mastering the art of pasta making to perfecting a gourmet three-course meal, the possibilities are endless.

But it’s not just about cooking; it’s about the thrill of creating a meal from scratch, understanding the ingredients, and sharing your culinary masterpiece. It’s a fun, engaging, and delicious way to spend a day in the Hunter Valley. So, add a dash of excitement to your visit with a cooking class. It’s an experience that will not only tantalize your taste buds but also leave you with unforgettable memories and impressive new skills.

Check out these Hunter Valley cooking classes

Cooking Classes with Chef Matt Dillow (Gartelmann Wines)

In-Accommodation Cooking Classes at Panorama House

Cooking School at Estate Tuscany

Our Italian Table (Nicita Estate)

Cheese Making Class

Image from Hunter Valley Cheese Co

Imagine the satisfaction of crafting your own cheese, from the first stir of the curd to the final aging process. In the Hunter Valley, you can turn this dream into reality! Participate in a hands-on cheesemaking class that will take you on a journey through the fascinating world of cheese.

Guided by passionate cheesemakers, you’ll learn the art and science behind this age-old craft. You’ll discover the secrets of transforming milk into a variety of delicious cheeses, from creamy camembert to tangy cheddar. But the experience doesn’t end there. You’ll also learn about pairing your homemade cheese with local wines, taking your culinary skills to the next level.

A cheesemaking class in the Hunter Valley is more than just a learning experience; it’s a celebration of artisanal food, local produce, and the joy of creating something truly delicious with your own hands. It’s a must-do for any food lover visiting the region. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating world of cheesemaking.

Check out this cheese making class

Hunter Valley Cheese Factory Workshops

Get your cheese fix at these places!

The Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop

Binnorie Dairy

Hunter Valley Smash Room

Image from Hunter Valley Smash Room

Are you ready for an adrenaline-pumping, stress-busting experience like no other? Welcome to the Hunter Valley Smash Room at Sutton Estate! This unique attraction offers a cathartic release unlike any wine tasting or gourmet dining experience in the region.

Imagine stepping into a safe, controlled environment where you’re encouraged to let loose and smash things to your heart’s content. From old electronics to glass bottles, the Smash Room provides an array of smashable items for you to vent your frustrations on. It’s a liberating, exhilarating experience that’s as therapeutic as it is fun.

But the Smash Room isn’t just about destruction. It’s about transforming negative energy into positive experiences. It’s about the thrill of letting go, the satisfaction of hearing the crash, and the laughter that follows. And when you’re done, you’ll walk out feeling lighter, happier, and ready to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Hunter Valley with a renewed sense of peace.

So, if you’re looking for an offbeat, unforgettable activity in the Hunter Valley, the Smash Room at Sutton Estate is a must-visit. Get ready to smash your stress away and have a smashing good time!

Book your Hunter Valley Smash Room Experience Here

Hot Air Ballooning

Image from Hunter Valley Ballooning

Close your eyes and imagine greeting the dawn from high above the vineyards, as you gently ascend into the sky in a hot air balloon. The Hunter Valley, with its rolling hills, lush vineyards, and stunning vistas, offers one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Australia, and there’s no better way to appreciate its beauty than from the serene vantage point of a hot air balloon.

As the sun peeks over the horizon, bathing the valley in a soft, golden light, you’ll find yourself immersed in a tranquil silence, broken only by the occasional roar of the balloon’s burners. From this unique perspective, you can truly appreciate the vast expanse of vineyards, the meandering river, and the picturesque homesteads dotting the landscape.

Hot air ballooning is more than just a thrilling ride; it’s a chance to experience the Hunter Valley in a way few people do. It’s about the anticipation as the balloon inflates, the exhilaration as you lift off, the awe as you take in the panoramic views, and the sense of accomplishment when you finally touch down.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in the Hunter Valley, consider a hot air balloon ride. It’s a bucket-list experience that promises stunning views, thrilling heights, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Book your ballooning experience below!

Balloon Aloft

Hunter Valley Ballooning

Beyond Ballooning

The Hunter Valley Gardens

Image from Hunter Valley Gardens

Step into a living canvas at the Hunter Valley Gardens, where nature’s artistry unfolds in a vibrant spectacle of colour, scent, and texture. Spanning over 60 acres, this horticultural wonderland is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil retreat.

The gardens are a mosaic of ten individually themed areas, each showcasing a unique aspect of flora. From the cascading waterfall in the Sunken Garden to the fragrant allure of over 8,000 roses in the Rose Garden, every turn reveals a new visual delight. The Oriental Garden offers a serene setting with its traditional pagoda and koi pond, while the Border Garden bursts with a riot of colourful blooms.

But the experience goes beyond the visual. The gardens invite you to immerse yourself in nature, to listen to the symphony of birdsong, to breathe in the fragrant air, and to feel the crunch of gravel underfoot. The Storybook Garden, with its charming depiction of beloved nursery rhymes, is a hit with the young and the young at heart.

So, when planning your Hunter Valley itinerary, reserve a day for the Hunter Valley Gardens. It’s more than a garden; it’s an immersive experience that engages all your senses and leaves you with a renewed sense of wonder for nature’s beauty.

Check out everything the Hunter Valley Gardens has to offer here

Hunter Valley Day Spa’s and Wellness

Image from Elysia Retreat

Escape the everyday and step into a world of tranquillity and rejuvenation in the heart of the Hunter Valley. The region’s day spas offer a sanctuary where you can unwind, recharge, and indulge in a range of treatments designed to nourish both body and soul.

Imagine starting your day with a gentle yoga session, followed by a rejuvenating facial using locally sourced, organic products. Then, surrender to the skilled hands of a massage therapist as they work to release tension and restore balance with a deep tissue or aromatherapy massage.

For those seeking a truly immersive wellness experience, consider a full-day package. These often include a combination of treatments, access to spa facilities like saunas and steam rooms, and even a gourmet lunch. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself or a loved one to a day of absolute relaxation.

Whether you’re a seasoned spa-goer or trying it for the first time, a day at a Hunter Valley spa is a must-do experience. It’s the perfect complement to the region’s wine and culinary offerings, and a wonderful way to round off your Hunter Valley escape. So, go ahead and add a touch of spa luxury to your itinerary. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Book your spa treatments below

Elysia Retreat

In-Accommodation Massages and Wellness

Image from Heavenly Hunter

There’s no need to leave the comfort of your accommodation when you can have the luxury of a professional massage come to you. Booking a mobile massage in the Hunter Valley is the ultimate convenience, allowing you to fully relax without the hassle of travel.

Imagine, after a day of exploring the vineyards, you return to your accommodation and step into a world of tranquillity as a professional therapist sets up a spa-like environment right in your living room. With a range of treatments available, from deep tissue to Swedish massage, you can tailor the experience to your needs.

Whether you’re looking to soothe sore muscles, relieve stress, or simply indulge in some well-deserved pampering, a mobile massage offers a unique and convenient way to unwind. It’s the perfect way to add a touch of luxury to your Hunter Valley stay, making your getaway even more memorable.

Book your in-accommodation massage below!

Heavenly Hunter

The Historic Morpeth Village 

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Steeped in history and charm, Morpeth is a delightful riverside village just a short 30-minute drive from the heart of the Hunter Valley. Once a bustling port, this quaint town is now a vibrant hub of unique boutiques, chic cafes, and historic landmarks. Take a leisurely stroll down Swan Street, where honey-coloured stone buildings house an array of charming shops. Don’t miss the historic Arnott Bakehouse, where the tradition of baking sourdough bread continues today. Explore the Heritage Walk, showcasing 25 places of interest, or simply relax in the picturesque Morpeth Common and Wildfowl Reserve. A day trip to Morpeth offers a delightful detour from the vineyards, adding a touch of history and culture to your Hunter Valley escape.

Check out more about Morpeth Village here

Helicopter Rides

Image from Hunter Valley Helicopters

Elevate your Hunter Valley experience to new heights with a thrilling helicopter ride. Soar above the picturesque vineyards, rolling hills, and lush landscapes that make this region so enchanting. From the comfort of your helicopter seat, you’ll gain a unique perspective of the Hunter Valley’s vast beauty, making for unforgettable memories and stunning photo opportunities. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a dose of adventure, a helicopter ride is a spectacular way to appreciate the Hunter Valley’s breathtaking scenery. It’s an experience that truly encapsulates the magic of this renowned wine region.

Book your scenic helicopter ride below

Hunter Valley Helicopters

Aero Logistics Helicopters

The Historic Maitland Gaol

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Steeped in history and brimming with tales of the past, Maitland Gaol is a captivating destination that’s just a 30-minute drive from the heart of the Hunter Valley. Once a maximum-security prison with a history spanning over 150 years, this heritage-listed site now serves as a premier tourist attraction, offering a genuine glimpse into the life of one of the state’s most prominent prisons.

From the oldest building, A Wing, which housed the first 40 prisoners in 1848, to the newest, 5 Wing, built in 1993, each structure within the gaol’s walls has a unique story to tell. Explore the women’s wing, C Wing, built in 1894, or the large B Wing, constructed in 1861. You can even visit the chapel, a two-storey building completed in 1868 that served as both a place of worship and education for the prisoners.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique day trip, Maitland Gaol offers an intriguing look into the past that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. So why not take a break from the vineyards and embark on a journey through time at this historic site? It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Learn more about Maitland Gaol here

Hunter Valley Lookouts and Bushwalks

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The Hunter Valley isn’t just about wine and fine dining – it’s also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With a variety of bushwalks and lookouts, it offers ample opportunities to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty. The Werakata National Park, with its well-marked trails, is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike. For a more relaxed experience, the Hunter Valley Gardens offer a multitude of picturesque walking paths.

If you’re up for a bit of a climb, the Mount View Lookout is a must-visit. The panoramic views of the vineyards, rolling hills, and distant mountains are truly breathtaking. Similarly, the Bimbadeen Lookout offers stunning vistas that are worth the trek. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to explore the Hunter Valley from a whole new perspective.

Learn more below

Check out more on Hunter Valley Walking Tracks here

Mount View Pokolbin Lookout

Great Walks Upper Hunter Country

Aboriginal Art Caves 

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Discover the rich indigenous heritage of the Hunter Valley with a visit to the region’s Aboriginal art caves. The Baiame Cave near Bulga and the Finchley Cultural Walk in Yengo National Park are two significant sites that showcase ancient rock art and engravings. These sites offer a unique glimpse into the culture and history of the area’s original inhabitants, adding a deeper dimension to your Hunter Valley adventure. Just a short drive from the main Hunter Valley region, these art caves are a must-visit for those seeking a unique cultural experience beyond the usual wine and food trails.

Discover more on the art caves below!

Baiame Cave, Bulga & The Finchley cultural walk – rock engravings

Aboriginal Rock Art Sites Hunter Valley

As you can see, the Hunter Valley is so much more than just a wine lover’s paradise. It’s a region brimming with diverse experiences, from the thrill of electric bike rides and hot air balloon flights to the tranquility of spa retreats and serene bushwalks. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in a cooking or cheesemaking class, explore historic villages, and even step back in time with a visit to ancient Aboriginal art caves.

So why not take a break from the vineyards and discover a different side of the Hunter Valley? With so many unique attractions and activities to explore, there’s never been a better time to plan your next escape. And when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay, Weekenda has you covered. With a diverse range of properties to suit every taste and budget, we’re here to make your Hunter Valley getaway as memorable as possible.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Hunter Valley adventure today and book your accommodation with Weekenda. We can’t wait to welcome you!

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