The best things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers
The Hunter Valley may be a world-famous wine region, but it is just as abundant in alcohol-free attractions. From scenic horse rides to gourmet cooking classes, there are plenty of indulgent things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers.
Want to forego the cellar doors? Whether you are looking for a thrilling adventure or pure relaxation, our guide shares the most exquisite Hunter Valley experiences to enjoy beyond the vineyards.
Keep reading to plan an amazing getaway that doesn’t involve a drop of wine. What’s more, we include luxurious local accommodation options for those planning to spend the night.
18 fun activities for non-drinkers in the Hunter Valley
1. Explore the hills on horseback
Horse riding offers a unique way to traverse the region’s picturesque countryside. With Hunter Valley Horses, you can take on scenic trails that extend over 300 acres of idyllic landscape.
Guided tours and lessons cater to all levels of experience, from regular riders to complete beginners. Just make sure to book ahead to ensure a spot on the saddle.
2. View the valley from above
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, brave a hot air balloon ride over the valley’s lush green landscape. With Balloon Aloft, you can glide through the sky at sunrise – a truly magical way to begin the day.
Plus, celebrate with a delicious breakfast buffet afterwards. While this meal is usually accompanied by champagne, it can be made alcohol-free upon request.
Remember to wrap up, as misty mornings can bring a slight chill!
3. Explore Hunter Valley Gardens
Hunter Valley Gardens span over eight kilometres of walking paths across 14 hectares of perfectly manicured grounds. Here, you’ll discover over 1 million plants, 600,000 shrubs and 6,000 trees – plus mystical cascades, art murals, and lifesize statues.
As well as the Storybook Garden, there are ten internationally themed gardens to wander through. Visit the Oriental Garden’s Japanese pagoda, the Indian Garden’s bronze elephant gates, or the Italian Grotto’s lemon, orange and olive trees. Wherever you stroll, Hunter Valley Gardens is a gorgeous place to connect with nature.
If you’re visiting during the festive season, don’t miss the family-friendly Christmas Lights Spectacular. This exciting event is full of amusement rides and other attractions that have nothing to do with vino!
4. Try your skills at Aqua Golf & Putt Putt
Feeling competitive? Play a game at Hunter Valley Aqua Golf & Putt Putt at the entrance to Hunter Valley Gardens.
The aim of aqua golf is to hit a golf ball into the net floating on the lake. Get it in and you could win all sorts of prizes, including restaurant vouchers and hot air balloon rides!
Afterwards, play a round on the 18-hole waterfront putt-putt course, which weaves its way along the Hunter Valley Gardens Village.
5. Satisfy your sweet tooth
Trade a glass of wine for a mug of hot cocoa – or a platter of your favourite chocolaty desserts. One of our favourite things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers is to feast on the region’s many sweet treats.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company to learn how they create all kinds of scrumptious snacks, from crunchy honeycomb bites to sugary jelly snakes – and taste your favourites along the way.
The quaint Cocoa Nib cafe is another must-visit for any chocoholic, with its artisan chocolates featuring rich flavours like Earl Grey and Yuzu. Alternatively, order a tasting plate at Sabor Dessert Bar to feast on five decadent chocolate desserts.
6. Book a cheese tasting
At Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, you can take part in tasty cheese tastings and workshops from just $15.50 per person. Pair preservative-free cheese made from fresh, local ingredients with over 50 different regional chutneys, oils and jams.
7. Get pampered in private
For ultimate relaxation, why not arrange a massage or facial treatment in the serene seclusion of your holiday rental?
If you are staying at The Vintage Holiday Houses, a talented therapist can come to you anytime between 9 am and 5 pm. Unwind without leaving your doorstep.
8. Find the perfect souvenir at Handmade in the Hunter Markets
Handmade in the Hunter Markets is one of our favourite things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers. Wander through over 50 stalls to discover an assortment of local artisanal goods ranging from toys and candles to ceramics and jewellery.
Held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday and Sunday of each month at Sorbel Wines in Pokolbin, this is the perfect place to purchase a special souvenir of your stay.
9. Visit art galleries and museums
Another one of the most interesting things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers is a trip to the region’s diverse art galleries and museums.
For instance, the Australian Army Infantry Museum in Singleton showcases a fascinating range of uniforms, equipment, weapons and other military memorabilia. Ideal for history buffs, this collection includes artefacts from Australia’s pre-federation state colonial armies through to modern-day diggers.
Rather marvel at artistic creations? Head to the wonderful Winmark Art Gallery in Pokolbin. A considered curation of sculptures, paintings, and photographs by Australian artists, this is a must-see for any art enthusiast.
10. Race the region’s longest go-kart hire track
Go-karting is a great way to experience an alcohol-free adrenaline rush. At Go Karts Go, you can hire a single or double cart for as long as you like in 15-minute sessions.
Here, you can race along an 850m track – the longest four-stroke go-kart hire track in the Hunter Valley! Drive fast to the finish line, swerving around corners and accelerating on long stretches to beat the competition.
11. Reconnect with nature
Hike the most breathtaking walking trails in New South Wales at Barrington Tops National Park. Home to over 278 bird species and 50 different types of mammals, this protected habitat is a beautiful filigree of rivers, swamps, and forests.
Explore it all on a variety of tracks ranging from easy to challenging. And when you’re ready to take a break, enjoy a picnic by Barrington Tops Falls.
12. Feast away at a foodie festival
The Hunter Valley holds a variety of concerts and festivals amid the vines every year. And all can be enjoyed without a glass in hand.
In particular, Hope Estate boasts Australia’s largest outdoor amphitheatre, where both international and local acts take the stage.
You can also attend exciting events for non-drinkers at other local venues, such as the Lovedale Long Lunch at Saltire Estate.
13. Master a new recipe in a local cooking class
Whether you want to brush up on different cuisines, refine your culinary skills or just whip up a delicious meal with local ingredients, a cooking class is the perfect activity – no alcoholic beverages needed.
Create your own sweet treats in a candy making lesson, learn how to put together the perfect pizza, or up your BBQ game with a slow smoking masterclass. All of these experiences and more are available throughout the Hunter Valley.
14. Meet the animals at Hunter Valley Zoo
Hunter Valley Zoo is a fun day out for non-drinkers of all ages.
The expansive grounds house both local and exotic wildlife, such as koalas, dingoes, monkeys and lions, to name a few. Take part in their feeding, attend daily shows, and introduce your little ones to new animals they’ve never seen before!
The zoo also has complimentary barbeque facilities and sheltered seating areas for a pleasant picnic, come rain or shine.
Please note that you will need to pay an entrance fee. Tickets are available online and on-site.
15. Pick blueberries at Misty Valley Blueberries
Visiting in the summer? Misty Valley Blueberries is a beloved blueberry farm with an acre of bushes that turn completely blue in December. When this transformation is underway, guests are welcome to fill up their own buckets with the ripe berries.
That said, there are no set dates for this opportunity and the harvesting season can be quite long, so we recommend checking Misty Valley Blueberries’ Facebook page for availability.
16. Take a scenic helicopter ride
Hop aboard a helicopter and soar over the Hunter Valley. During an incredible 10-minute flight, you’ll be able to marvel at the region’s patchwork of rolling hills, verdant vineyards, and meandering rivers like never before.
Sure to get your blood pumping, this adventure is hands down one of the most thrilling things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers!
17. Tuck into a delicious meal at NINETEEN
Relax back and recount your day at the best new restaurant in the Hunter Valley. Nestled in the centre of Pokolbin, NINETEEN offers laid back dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Choose from an array of fresh dishes, expertly prepared with the finest seasonal ingredients.
With no reservations needed, simply walk in when you’re ready to dine. However, bookings are advised for larger social groups. In the meantime, check out NINETEEN’s mouth-watering menu.
Need another restaurant recommendation? Get more inspiration for where to eat in the Hunter Valley.
18. Play a round of golf at The Vintage Resort
Tee up at The Vintage’s award-winning Greg Norman-designed golf course in the heart of the Hunter Valley. Testing and inspiring every shot, it ranks 46th in Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses.
Make the most of your day with a professional golf lesson that overlooks charming vineyards. You will also find an on-site store where you can buy premium golf equipment, clothing, footwear, and accessories.
Open seven days a week, The Vintage Resort golf course caters to golfers of every level and hosts professional golf games on Saturdays and Sundays.
Book unique accommodation in the Hunter Valley
From relaxing massages and gourmet extravaganzas to bucket-list experiences and outdoor adventures, there are myriad things to do in the Hunter Valley for non-drinkers.
Set amidst Pokolbin’s peaceful countryside, The Vintage Holiday Houses invites you to an exclusive collection of privately-owned holiday homes. No matter the occasion or number of guests, we have the perfect stay for your next getaway.
With each rental providing luxurious amenities and a wealth of wonderful activities just a stone’s throw away, this is the ideal destination for wine aficionados and abstainers alike.