Experiences

7 things to keep you cool in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is a beautiful destination to visit (and to live for you locals) but when it’s hot up here, you need some weather appropriate plans! Check out our 7 ideas to keep you cool on a hot day.

Hit The Pool

Let’s start with the obvious. If it’s hot, find a pool to keep you cool.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Pool
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Pool

If it’s a 35 plus degree day in the valley hopefully you are staying somewhere with a pool such as Château Élan, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley or the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens.

But if you haven’t got a pool at your accommodation then you can hit up the local public facilities. There are a few public outdoor pools close to Pokolbin.

Cessnock Public Pool is the closest, a convenient 11mins out of central Pokolbin. It is an older, basic facility but it has cold, cold water - and that’s what you’re after right? Aside from the 50m pool with ramp access, there is also a toddler pool with some older style water play features and a smaller baby pool - both with shaded areas.

But if you have a little more time to spare, the Maitland Aquatics Centre (aka Maitland Pool and Water Park) is worth the drive. Approximately 35mins from central Pokolbin, it has more modern and larger facilities including an indoor pool option and a mini water park feature for the kids. The water park is usually open on weekends and school holidays.

Kids Water Play Zone, Maitland Pool
Kids Water Play Zone, Maitland Pool

Remember on a hot day facilities might be in demand so contact the pool to ensure you’re across the latest COVID restrictions such as pool hours, kiosk availability, capacity limitations, swim session timings and availability of other special facilities.

Do some shopping

If you have visited Maitland for a swim then you’re not far from the air conditioning at Stockland Green Hills. The locals are all across this one but if you’re from out of town, you’ll be pleased to know this shopping centre recently went under significant renovations and extensions and is now home to over 200 shops, eateries and services. And did I mention it has aircon?!

Stockland Green Hills
Stockland Green Hills

There are also some shopping options closer to Pokolbin such as the Shopping Village at Hunter Valley Gardens. This one is host to individual shops and although you will have to brave the heat walking in between them, you can seek refuge in the stores which are, for the most part, air conditioned. Stores include homewares, clothing, speciality alcohol and even Alpaca wares from a local Hunter Valley based farming business.

Chill out in a Day Spa

What better reason to kick back and chill out than when it’s hot outside.

Majority of the day spas in the Hunter Valley are climate controlled to ensure a comfortable visit all year round - and that includes in the middle of a stinking hot Australian summer.

Check out some of our favs such as Elysia Wellness Retreat Day Spa, Ubika Spa at Crowne Plaza and The Spa at Château Élan - which you can access the hot and (more importantly) cold mineral Jacuzzis as part of your treatment.

The Spa at Chateau Elan, Pokolbin
The Spa at Chateau Elan, Pokolbin

Get Yourself An Icy Treat

What better way to cool down on a hot day in the Hunter Valley than with a delicious ice cream or gelato.

For a Hunter Valley inspired icy treat, head over to Pokolbin Brothers Wines in Palmers Lane, Pokolbin and get yourself a tasty takeaway wine slushie. For $5 each you can currently choose between beer, white or red wine flavours. Best to call ahead and make sure that summer perfect treat is ready to go!

If a gelato is your choice for the day, you can head to the Hunter Valley Gelato Company in the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop in Roche Estate, Pokolbin, the Hunter Valley Chocolate Shop Showroom, or pick up a “Streets” at the local convenience store.

If you are a milkshake kind of person than jump in the car and drive 12 mins (from central Pokolbin) over to Burger Fiend, Cessnock. These guys have a pretty good range of shakes including some more boutique flavours such as salted caramel, Nutella, milo or peanut butter.

Indoor Wine Tasting

Although we love the outdoors of the Hunter Valley, when it’s a stifling hot day, the indoors is where it is at.

Many of the cellar doors do have indoor options (with air conditioning) including Brokenwood Wines, Audrey Wilkinson, Usher Tinkler Wines, Glandore Estate, 1813 (Broke, NSW) and Talits Estate (Broke, NSW).

Glandore Estate Wines
Glandore Estate Wines

Hit the Bar

Sitting in a cool bar with friends (or the family) sipping on a cold wine, beer or cocktail is definitely a great way to escape the heat. Many of the local options have limited indoor seating due to COVID restrictions so best to check in with the venue and book where possible.

Harrigans Hunter Valley
Harrigans Hunter Valley

Harrigans Hunter Valley has recently undergone a refurbishment. It has an air conditioned indoor bar, gaming and dining areas. Capacity limits apply for the general bar area - and it’s first come first served. You can however book in for a meal if you want to ensure you secure a seat.

The Mighty Hunter is another good option which has just had a refurbishment. Have a cold one in the airconditioned bar or make a booking with Foghorn Brewery located on site for a beer tasting and tour of a working brewery.

Or head over to Matilda Bay Brewhouse. They accept bookings and have a smallish indoor bar section with mostly high table seating. We definitely suggest sampling a paddle of beers whilst you are there.

Settle in for a Long Lunch

It’s pretty easy to excuse yourself for being indoors for hours on a hot day when it’s to enjoy a long lunch in the comfort of air conditioning.

There are endless options for lunching in the Hunter Valley, especially on weekends, including Amanda’s on The Edge, the recently renovated Esca Bimbadgen, EXP., Muse, Baume, Margan Restaurant (Broke, NSW) and The Mill Restaurant.

Amanda's on The Edge
Amanda's on The Edge

So check the weather forecast and book ahead where needed, to make sure you have your cool options lined up for that hot day in the Hunter Valley.