The southern gateway to the Hunter Valley, Cessnock is a charming country town on the former pastoral lands of the Cessnock Estate. Today it boasts a vibrant arts scene and gourmet restaurants, together with charming historic architecture.
Things to do in Cessnock
Enjoy a scenic drive through the rolling vineyards and cellar doors of the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine-growing region. Sample iconic Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons and pair it with local produce while soaking up the breathtaking views from one of the boutique wineries.
The Cessnock Regional Art Gallery showcases the work of local artists and craftspeople and hosts a range of national touring exhibitions. Also of note is the Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre, set within a late-19th-century timber-sawn home that still retains many of its original piers.
Ever wanted to hand-feed kangaroos? Head to the Hunter Valley Zoo where you can pat cuddly koalas and get up close to wallabies. There are walk-through yards where visitors can interact with marmosets and meerkats, as well as daily shows and educational keeper talks that highlight their capuchins, tapirs and lions.
Take a short drive south from Cessnock to Werakata National Park, renowned for its mountain biking trails and birdwatching. Enjoy lunch beneath the shady gums at Astills picnic area, then head off through rare Hunter Valley bushland along the Deadmans mountain bike loop.
Getting around Cessnock
Cessnock is just under one hour’s drive from Newcastle Airport where there are flights connections across Australia. Public buses are the main means of getting around Cessnock, while having your own vehicle or joining a tour is best for visiting the Hunter Valley.