As the leaves of the vineyards take on their spectacular hues of autumn, the Hunter Valley region is embracing the wonder of a magical season ahead. It’s the opportunity to indulge in fine fare, a cozy weekend away or celebrate Easter with family and friends in a magical destination that takes on an entity all of its own as the season truly turns.

With so much to explore and discover, here are some of the highlights of autumn 2017 in the Hunter Valley.

All things rail

The Hunter Valley has a rich agricultural and mining heritage that has included a long association with rail transport. This will be explored in all its steam-spouting glory when the region hosts Steamfest on April 8 and 9.

The annual event attracts tens of thousands of people each year. A highlight of the weekend will be steam train trips, vintage machinery displays and demonstrations, live music, a vintage car display, market stalls, food stalls, kid’s activities and much more.

This year, two steam locomotives and two diesel engines will be available for journeys across the region including trips to Port Waratah, Branxton, Paterson, Mount Thorley and more. The event will also feature a Tiger Moth airplane going head to head against two trains.

Billed as Australia’s premier festival of steam, Steamfest has been running since 1986 and is held at Maitland Railway Station.

Wine and dine

A host of fabulous festivals take centre stage throughout autumn, all with a focus on the winemaking pedigree of the hunter region.

On April 23, Cessnock will be the location of a uniquely traditional celebration of all things wine and food, with the annual Cessnock Stomp Festival.

An event for the whole family, it will include a feast of beautiful food and wine from the Hunter Region, an eclectic range of arts and crafts markets, a Mad Hatter’s High Tea party and more.

The centrepiece of the event will be a grape storming ceremony in the main street of Cessnock as participants celebrate this age-old tradition.

Meanwhile Singleton is in the spotlight from April 29 to May 14 with its annual Singleton Festival. Featuring two weeks of food, wine, entertainment and activities, it’s set to be a program packed full of activities.

A stellar selection of some of Australia’s best loved bands will take to the stage on April 29 as Hope Estate proudly hosts The Grape Escape. Incorporating food, wine and fabulous entertainment, this year’s line-up includes the Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Ratcat, Steve Kilbey of The Church, GANGgajang, The Allniters, and The Kids.

Easter adventure

Easter is set to be celebrated in festive style as the Hunter Valley Gardens hosts its annual Easter Long Weekend. The event boasts a fantastic program of activities, entertainment and prizes, including a Giant Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday and Sunday. Other activities include gingerbread workshops, hatching chicks and more.

For the kids

It’s not just the big kids set to enjoy all the fun of the Hunter this autumn, with a host of activities planned to keep the children entertained and enthralled throughout the school holidays.

From April 8-25, the Hunter Valley Gardens host the Warriors of Peace Training Academy featuring the antics of Kung Fu Panda. With three shows daily, the event is an energetic show designed to let children’s imaginations run wild, and they will also have the opportunity to meet the ever-exuberant Po.

The excitement shifts from Pandas to Teddy Bears as Hunter Valley Horseriding lays on a Teddy Bear’s Picnic from March 27 to April 16. With games, prizes, pony rides, farm animals, Trevor the Tractor hay rides, a jumping castle and Easter Egg Hunt, the event is the opportunity to bring your teddy bear and enjoy a fun, family day out.

Meanwhile the endless delight of CS Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland will be explored at Crowne Plaza Conference and Events Centre on April 13 and 18 when the Mad Hatter, Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts host their first ever tea party. With finger licking delights, face painting, and live entertainment, the event is the opportunity for children to dress as their favourite Alice in Wonderland character and immerse themselves in this magical world.

The Longhouse

Situated in its own private vineyard, the Longhouse provides the perfect boutique accommodation to complete your Hunter getaway.

Boasting three two-bedroom units that comfortably accommodate guests in refined Australian style, this architectural masterpiece is clad in timbers from a 130-year-old wool shed, and is designed by architecture students from across Australia.

You can learn more about our spectacular property or make your booking here.