Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport is the main gateway to Australia and the easiest way of geting to the Hunter Valley. You can get to the Hunter direct via buses, shuttles and taxis, or go into Sydney and take the train. The nicest way up, however, is to drive.
There are a couple of options for drivers to get to the Hunter Valley. The most direct route goes via the M2 and M1 motorways, with those coming from the airport driving through Sydney city centre and under the harbour tunnel, or avoiding the city by travelling via the western suburbs. This route is around 160kms and takes about two hours, 30 minutes to Cessnock.
The alternative is to divert onto Peats Ridge Road from the M1 and take in Tourist Route T33. It goes through mountain scenery and also arrives into Cessnock, taking roughly 30 minutes longer. It pays to have a car when visiting the Hunter Valley. While the main towns have public transport, there are dozens of wineries and scenic areas to explore.
By public transport, you can take a shuttle from the airport to Central Station in Sydney, with services running direct from here to Maitland, the main transit point of the Hunter Valley. Connecting buses run from here to the other towns and villages of the winery region. Greyhound buses run to Maitland, though not to Cessnock or Pokolbin.
Alternatively, tours run from Sydney to the Hunter Valley from both the city centre and from Kingsford Smith Airport. These are typically labelled as ‘vineyard tours’ and are run by various outfits, such as Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism. While they save hassle and take you to various wineries, you are somewhat at the mercy of the tour group.
Another option for getting to the Hunter Valley is to fly. There are direct flights into Cessnock from Sydney, with Cessnock Airport located near to Cessnock town, Pokolbin and Lovedale. Alternatively, fly to Newcastle, the nearest main town to Hunter, and bus it or rent a car from there.
Distances to the Hunter Valley
Sydney to the Hunter Valley
245 Km – Distance from Sydney to Hunter Valley.
2 hours 43 minutes – Travel Time from Sydney NSW to Hunter Valley.
Parramatta to the Hunter Valley
213 Km – Distance from Parramatta to Hunter Valley.
2 hours 52 minutes – Travel Time from Parramatta to Hunter Valley.
Penrith to the Hunter Valley
279 Km – Distance from Penrith to Hunter Valley.
2 hours 58 minutes – Travel Time from Penrith to Hunter Valley.
Port Stephens to the Hunter Valley
161 Km – Distance from Port Stephens to Hunter Valley.
1 hour 51 minutes – Travel Time from Port Stephens to Hunter Valley.
* The above is approximate. Road Conditions, Traffic, etc. affect travel times.