Find great tour deals for 2 – 40 guests!
With a winery on every corner (the Hunter Valley has almost 150 of them!) and close to 40 tour operators in the area, it can be hard to choose which one will give you a great hunter valley tour experience for your group. No matter what size your group is or whether you are dedicated “winos” (who live for the next bottle!) or a mixture of casual wine drinkers and craft beer fans with a few “wine curious” cats thrown in, almost all groups agree that the best wine tours include the following:
- A fun and friendly group atmosphere
- Professional service with a local guide who knows the Hunter and it’s treasures
- The ability to respond to your group’s needs where possible
- A comfortable ride with all the mod cons – phone charging, the ability to play your own music etc.
All the options can seem a little overwhelming but really you need to narrow it down to:
- Are you looking for a fun and social experience with other small groups/couples (where you can take advantage of a great tour price)?
- Or are you looking for a private tour that can be 100% customised with your times and venues of choice?
Once you have the answer to these questions it becomes much easier to know which type of tour operator you are looking for. This is why I’ve divided this guide up according to the above for both small, medium and large groups.
Full disclosure: Now if you’ve landed on our site and not realised that Tastes of the Hunter Wine Tours is a tour operator, then yes – we are! Lol!
So of course I’m a little biased as I believe we “tick the boxes” for great tours if you are a small group of 2 to 8 people looking to join a mixed groups tour or if you are looking for a private tour for 8 to 27 people.
But no single company can be all things to all people and I get asked quite a lot for recommendations for small private groups (6 or less people) or mega groups (28+ people that would require a coach) as these are 2 types of tours that we don’t operate.
The recommendations below are based on having met the owners of these companies and observed how they run their tours and whether their guests are happy on a regular basis. It’s quite rare to get a recommendation from an actual Hunter Valley local rather than a supposedly independent blog, written by someone who doesn’t live or operate in the Hunter and surprisingly when you hover over any of the links on the page, you find they all lead to Viator or GetYourGuide (in other words it is an article written by these companies to get you to book through these online travel agents and they take a commission from you).
So to support the locals and book local, let’s jump into the best tours that we recommend for various group sizes ….
Great Hunter Tours for small groups (2-8 people) who would like to join a mixed groups tour (not a private tour)
If this is you then we’d love you to check out our Group Wine and Beer Adventure Tour (run by Tastes of the Hunter Wine Tours). This tour includes a bit of everything and is a complete snapshot of the Hunter Valley, run in a friendly and social environment. We mostly get couples and small groups of ladies aged 22 to 35 on this tour however we have had groups celebrating 40th or 50th birthdays as well so it is open to all ages.
This tour is aimed at those who are wanting to celebrate a great day out in the Hunter in a fun and social atmosphere with like-minded groups who are “wine curious” but not wine connoisseurs. The cellar doors we visit have been picked due to their boutique nature, delicious and interesting wines that go beyond what you’ve already seen in a bottleshop and their friendly staff who are happy to throw in a little bit of wine education in a casual and relaxed environment.
You’ll visit a mixture of wine cellar doors for presentations where you can taste around 8 wines at each venue including sparkling wines, whites, reds, dessert wines and even unique creations that are specific to that particular vineyard. We mostly visit small to medium sized boutique cellars but occasionally we’ll visit a larger cellar (they tend to be a little more commercially minded).
To shake things up we also visit one of the brewhouses (either Matilda Bay Brewhouse or Ironbark Hill Brewhouse). Sometimes this doubles as our lunch venue (with some extra time for craft beer paddles) or if we visit Twine Restaurant or Harrigan’s Irish Pub or Potter’s Brewery for lunch we visit our brewhouse after lunch. This tour is aimed at being as affordable as possible so all of our lunch venues have the majority of meals available for $20-$25 each (lunch is at your own expense payable on the day direct to the venue or you can bring your own lunch if you wish).
We also visit the Hunter Distillery or Kiss of Fire Liqueurs to taste vodkas/schnapps/gin and unique butterscotch creations as well as the Smelly Cheese Shop and Pokolbin Chocolate Company shop.
Cost: $85pp for Hunter Valley pickup (Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury, Nulkaba, Cessnock, Bellbird, Broke, Singleton, Branxton, Elderslie, Dalwood or Maitland – these are just the most common suburbs so feel free to get in touch and confirm if we can pick you up if the suburb of your accommodation doesn’t appear here)
We often have last minute specials for this tour ($10 off per person or $5 off per person) so for affordable hunter valley wine tours within the last week of your tour date, check out our Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Adventure Tour page.
Why We Think It Is The Best for Small Groups:
- More than just wine – the Hunter Valley is known for a variety of craft beers and vodkas/liqueurs and this tour is perfect for mixed groups with all different tastes – there is something for everyone!
- Represents great value – this is a much cheaper option than a private tour and most groups make new “wine” friends for the day. It is particularly great value as this includes cellar door tasting fees for our official presentations – no nasty surprise bills at the end of each tasting!
- All the organisation is taken care of – there is no need to read through lots of suggestions, then run them by your group and make multiple decisions (a tricky thing with a group!)
- Minor customisations are possible – at Tastes of the Hunter Wine Tours we like to go above and beyond to help our guests so if you are travelling from Sydney and need a slightly later pickup time we can often drop the rest of the group at their first venue then come get you to join the tour or if you’d like an alternate lunch venue or need special meals (eg. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, diary free, coeliac) it is often possible to accommodate you if you let us know in advance of your tour date.
- TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Quality Tourism Accreditation Program recognised
Hunter Valley Wine Tours for private groups (8-27 people):
Want a bus reserved for your group and no other passengers? Want the freedom to choose your start/finish time and all of the venues included in your itinerary? Want a tour that focuses on cellar doors? Or brewhouses? Or a mixture (like what we suggest here)?
Then our private wine tours of the Hunter are the best tour option for you.
We have 13 seat, 20 seat, 24 seat or 27 seat buses available for private tours all with air-conditioning and a sound system so you can plug in a phone or iPod and listen to your own playlist of awesome hits (picked by you!).
If you have 11-13 people for a 13 seat bus, 15+ people for a 20 seat bus, 22-24 people for a 24 seat bus or 23-27 people for a 27 seat bus, these tours are super excellent value. We charge the one private charter price based on the bus size (we don’t charge these per person) so getting all your gal pals (perfect for hens parties – check out our guide here), mates and their partners together for a Hunter Valley adventure to remember is a fantastic way to keep costs down as the more people who have, it essentially becomes cheaper per person.
All private groups are different so we include our custom tour design service with each private tour at no extra cost. I’ll personally guide you through all the amazing choices for an awesome day in the Hunter, design your itinerary and book it in with all of the venues and come back to you with the final itinerary for approval. This saves you so much time – you don’t have to make phone calls, cancel one booking as it doesn’t fit with something else, etc.
I’ve designed literally thousands of Hunter Valley itineraries so whether you are a hen’s party, birthday tour (18th, 21st, 30th, 30 something, 40th, 40 something, 50th, don’t care to share your age? Lol!), corporate tour/Christmas party we have you covered. I know what tends to work best for various types of groups and I have the local area knowledge (and can keep up with all the changes as venues tend to adjust their policies and prices every 3-6 months in the Hunter!) to put together an awesome Hunter Valley experience that ticks all the boxes for a memorable day for your group.
Great Tours of the Hunter Valley for small groups (2-7 people) who want a private tour
We are a tour bus company (medium sized bus specialists) so we don’t cater for “micro groups” of less than 7 passengers who would like a private tour (our Group Wine and Beer Adventure Tour is the best option for groups of this size if you are happy to join a tour with other small groups and have a pre-organised itinerary). Our minimum bus size is a 13 seater so a super small group would feel a little silly in a large bus all by themselves (think conversation killer!). I have people ask me all the time for recommendations so check out the following if you would like a private tour for a group of 2-7 guests….
Wine Country Limousines
Fancy a tour in a limousine? Joe and Chris from Wine Country Limousines are relaxed and friendly as well as highly professional. They have operated in the Hunter Valley since 2001 so they know the area and it’s people and stories like the backs of their hands! Whether you’re after a wine tour or a transfer, you’ll get there in style with them! You can even enjoy a “stay and tour” package staying at Bimbadeen Mountain Retreat if you wish for a complete package.
Hunter Private Tours
If a luxury SUV is more your style then Graham and Denise from Hunter Private Tours have you covered. These are suitable for 2-4 people and their local knowledge will help you put together a tour in advance or you can make it up on the day as most Hunter Valley cellar doors can do a “walk in” casual style wine presentation for such a small group. They only confirm one vehicle, per booking per day so even if there is just the 2 of you, one of their vehicles is reserved exclusively just for you. Perfect for an intimate tour for couples (or maybe even a proposal?)
King’s Hire Car
If you’d like a personal chauffeur that knows the Hunter and Newcastle well and can provide you with “white glove” personal service in a stylish black sedan then give Steven from King’s Hire Car a call. This service is perfect for VIPs or couples who simply want the VIP experience.
Hunter Valley Charters for extra large groups (28+ people)
If your group needs a coach for a large family event or a wedding then the following companies can get you there if you have 30 – 40+ people.
Rover are the Hunter Valley’s local bus company for regular passenger services (what we think of as public route buses) however they also provide large group transport for weddings and concerts. They are a “no frills” bus service with economical prices.
Cowan’s Bus Service
If you have a large group or you’d like to visit the Hunter Valley from further afield (think Muswellbrook/Scone/Singleton) then the friendly team at Cowans from Sandy Hollow can help you out with coaches for weddings, concerts and event transfers. They are a family run operation and have a friendly and professional team who won’t let you down so it’s well worth giving them a call.