Half Day Tours
When websites advertise “prices starting from” they are often quoting a half day price. Half day tours are usually 3 – 3.5 hours in length whereas a full day tour usually lasts around 8 hours (it may be closer to 9 hours depending on the travel time from your accommodation). A typical half day tour in the Hunter visits 3 cellar doors with a quick visit to the cheese and chocolate shops and costs around $60 – $65pp AUD on a Saturday (the most popular day in the Hunter).
While this might seem like a great low price Hunter Valley wine tour at first, there is always the question of value versus price. As tour operators have many of the same expenses to run a half day tour as they do to run a full day tour, the half day tour price is around ¾ of a full day tour price.
You can get up to 8 hours of Hunter Valley tour fun when you opt for a full day tour ($75 – $85pp AUD depending on whether cellar door tasting fees are included or at your own expense in addition to the tour price).
Some tour companies offer half day tours in 2 sessions (a morning and an afternoon session) however this makes for a rushed tour (they have to fit the next or the previous session in so there isn’t time for the usual tour “atmosphere magic” and photos).
It’s such a shame to jam in a quick look at a few cellar doors for almost the same price as a full day tour so unless your reasons are time based (you need to attend a wedding or some other activity in the valley), I wouldn’t recommend choosing a half day tour simply for economic reasons.
Pro Tip: Watch out for hidden tasting fees! Some tour operators advertise a great looking price however the fine print explains that you’ll need to pay tasting fees at the cellar door if you don’t purchase. This can be awkward as cellar doors won’t bill $5pp to each individual on the tour via Eftpos (it would take too long and the transaction fees are not feasible for frequent small amounts). There is nothing worse than having to “pass around the hat” after each cellar door and collect fees or rely on people you don’t know paying their share on a mixed groups tour!
Hint: Look for tours that include cellar door tasting fees in the price (our Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Adventure Tour is a good example). This way there are no awkward moments and you don’t have to rely on others in your tour group (that you may not know) to pay their fair share. Many cellars will discount their bottle price by $5 if you make a purchase so you are still getting your $5pp tasting fee (pre-paid in the tour price) returned to you and your tasting for “free”!