Travelling With Your Four-Legged Friend
We have seen a huge increase in the number of pet friendly cellar-doors, venues and accommodation in the Hunter in recent years which is fantastic news for dog owners!
As a rule of thumb, to visit a pet friendly winery with your dog, your doggyy must be on-lead and well-socialised. Well-socialised means your pup is used to being around other people and other dogs (both large and small). This last point is important as many vineyards may have resident dogs (‘wine dogs’) who are larger in stature (eg Labrador, GS Pointer). There may also be other visitors with their dogs sitting nearby.
It is important for everyone’s enjoyment that your dog is comfortable in new situations, and you can help them to relax by bringing your own water bowl, a mat or blanket to sit on and even chew toys/treats. A bag of training treats on hand can be a good idea to distract a slightly anxious pooch! If you’re concerned about your dog barking at other dogs or people, call ahead and see if they can seat you away from others. This generally won’t be a problem, particularly on quieter days during the week.
Some other helpful tips:
Exercise & Walks
There are some vineyards that allow your dog to be off-lead which is great for the more active dogs (Hanging Tree Wines and Glandore Estate are our top picks, both open 7 days). Note good recall is a must! There is also a new off-leash dog enclosed dog park in Cessnock (Manning Park).
Bridges Hill Park in Cessnock, Poppet head Park in Kitchener and Chinamans Hollow in Aberdare have lovely long bike and walking pathways, modern kids playgrounds, ponds, bushland and picnic facilities. Hermitage Road bike and walk lane in Pokolbin has several kilometres of dedicated walking and cycling lanes weaving throughout the vineyards. Please note the Hunter Valley Gardens is NOT pet friendly.
Try MadPaws mobile app or website – there are loads of local experienced pet sitters in the area. The Critter Sitter (crittersitter.com.au) will come to your accommodation and mind your pet or Hunter Valley Pet Chaperone provides boarding as well as pet minding at events. Kip Hunter Valley also has fantastic boarding and day facilities and is a favourite with locals.
Our top tip regarding pet friendly accommodation is to ALWAYS check with your accommodation provider that your dog is allowed INSIDE and any other specific rules they may have. It’s a good idea to follow up a couple of weeks before check-in to ensure rules havent changed as this has been known to occur and can be very stressful if not communicated to guests prior to their stay. An easy way to find pet friendly accommodation is to call the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre (4993 6700 during business hours), apply the pet filter on Airbnb or VRBO (Stayz) or visit/call www.weekenda.com.au. We are also very happy to help with recommendations so feel free to get in touch whether or not you are touring with us.
Some of our fave vineyards that allow your pet INSIDE:
- Hungerford Hill, Pokolbin
- Oakvale Wines, Pokolbin
- Carillion Wines, Mount View
- Briar Ridge, Mount View (ask to join the Pooches Hall of fame!)
- Irongate, Pokolbin
- Stomp! Wines, Lovedale
- Black Creek Farm, Rothbury
- Harkham wines, Pokolbin
- Hanging Tree Wines, Pokolbin
- VAMP! By Lisa McGuigan, Pokolbin
- Wine House, Pokolbin
- Savannah Estate, Pokolbin
- Hunter Distillery, Newcastle Distillery & Small Mouth Vodka
Top Dining picks (all have substantial undercover dining unless noted)
- Amandas on the Edge (note narrow verandah may not be suitable in heavy rain)
- The Deck Café, Lovedale
- Enzos, Pokolbin (note table umbrellas may not be suitable in heavy rain)
- Brokenback Bar, Pokolbin
- Bistro Molines, Mount View
- Margan, Broke
- Four Pines at the Farm
- Ironbark Brewhouse
- Twine Restaurant
- Courtyard Eclectic