Hunter ValleyThe birthplace of Australian wine, the Hunter Valley is the country's most famous wine region. After an easy two-hour drive from Sydney you’re in a patchwork of award-winning restaurants and vineyards steeped in historical significance. Pioneering 19th-century viticulturists, who defied the odds in a humid and warm climate, are the stuff of legend. Stay at Spicers Vineyards Estate, an elegant 12-suite hotel amid the vines and get up early for a hot-air balloon across the Hunter Valley before embarking on wine tasting, which can be done on your own, with a tour, or even on horseback. A year-round destination, this spot really goes into overdrive during the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival in May and June each year, when the best of the best put on a show.