Dog-Friendly Hunter Valley, NSW: Visiting with a Dog

Just over two hours drive from Sydney, it’s quick and easy to head to the Hunter Valley in NSW, whether just for the day or for a weekend. But don’t think that your dog needs to miss out on the fun. Here’s lots of tips on everything from dog-friendly wineries to dog-friendly accommodation, so that everyone can enjoy a getaway to the Hunter Valley. 

Dog-Friendly Hunter Valley

Dog-Friendly Wineries in the Hunter Valley

Many of the cellar doors dotted around the Hunter Valley welcome your dog to join you, whether for indoor or just outdoor wine tasting depending on the venue. 

Hunter Valley with Dog
Plenty of wineries in the Hunter Valley welcome dogs

During our most recent visit to the Hunter Valley with our dog, we visited Briar Ridge Vineyard in the Mount View area, which claims to be the most dog-friendly winery in the Hunter! At this cellar doors, dogs are allowed both inside and outside on the large verandah, the perfect spot to enjoy a tasting in the afternoon sunshine.

Briar Ridge Vineyard
Outside the Briar Ridge Vineyard cellar door

Open daily, when making a booking, indicate that you’ll be bringing along a dog, and add a dog treat platter to your booking – your dog will be very appreciative! They also have access to the pooch hydration station. I also recommend adding on a cheese platter, which are large enough for four to share (or two to feast on).

Briar Ridge Vineyard Dog Treat Platter
Treat your dog to a dog treat platter
Briar Ridge Vineyard Pooch Hydration Station
And the cute Pooch Hydration Station

We’ve also previously enjoyed wine tasting at Tintilla Estate with our dog. With their cellar door reminiscent of a Tuscan villa, right down to the beautiful sunshine during our visit, the north-facing outdoor tables are a beautiful option on cool yet sunny days. There’s also a semi-enclosed space where dogs are welcome when the weather isn’t so cooperative.

Tintilla Estate with Dog
Schnitzel was welcomed at Tintilla Estate
Tintilla Estate Cellar Door
Wine tasting in the sunshine at Tintilla Estate

It’s a must to book a tasting at Tintilla, especially on weekends. I highly recommend choosing a VIP wine tasting that also includes a selection of their olive products and local cheeses. Have a sweet tooth? They also now have a Wine and Chocolate Pairing!

Tintilla Estate Wine Tasting
Enjoying our VIP wine tasting at Tintilla Estate

Another popular winery amongst discerning pooches is Pepper Tree Wines in Pokolbin. With a dog-friendly cellar door open seven days a week, bookings are essential, with multiple wine tasting experiences able to be booked. Dogs are allowed inside the cellar door, plus might meet the resident dogs.

Pepper Tree Wines
Pepper Tree Wines is also dog-friendly

Some of the other pet-friendly wineries in Pokolbin include Hanging Tree Wines (with visiting dogs welcome to play with their wine dogs, Vodka, Muscat and Bundy) and Hungerford Hill Wines (dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area, double check about inside the cellar door).

When visiting cellar doors in the Hunter, make sure you book ahead, especially on the busy weekends, or at least call ahead to check. Most wineries also charge a tasting fee, typically around $10 per person. 

Dog-Friendly Winery Tours in the Hunter Valley

There are many advantages to taking a winery tour with your dog, from having someone else provide the transport for the day, to not needing to double check the rules for dogs at each winery. Luckily then there are a couple of dog-friendly wine tour options in the Hunter Valley.

Grape to Glass specialises in private boutique wine tours, with dogs warmly welcomed by tour guide Vanessa on Signature Tours. On the tour you’ll visit the truly pet-friendly locations in the Hunter Valley. Dog seat belt restraints, bowls, leads and handmade treats are provided, along with opportunities for walks during the day.

Alternatively, contact Vino Paw Tours. Their all-inclusive pet-friendly packages for the Hunter Valley include two nights accommodation at Vacy Hunter Valley Lodge, a three-course dinner and of course a dog-friendly wine tour. The mini-van is fitted with dog seat belt restraints and you’ll only visit wineries that allow pets everywhere that you’re permitted.

Another recent option is Ozi Dogs. Book a dog-friendly wine tasting tour in their mini-bus or six-seater van, with both group and private couple tours available. You’ll visit three wineries, a distillery and enjoy cheese, chocolate and olive oil tastings.

Dog-Friendly Parks in the Hunter Valley

If your dog is in need of some off-leash romping, there’s two off-leash dog exercise areas in the nearby town of Cessnock. Manning Park is a large space east of Allandale Road, while Hall Park is a smaller space accessible from the end of Chidgey Street and Stephen Street. 

Manning Park Cessnock
Manning Park is a large expanse of grass
Hall Park Cessnock
The smaller Hall Park, note the sign strangely says on-leash

Curiously, when I visited in 2020, both of the parks have signs stating that dogs are only allowed on leash. At Manning Park, there’s an additional sign at the end of the Blackwood Avenue that states the entire area is off-leash. Here’s the relevant council website that states both are off leash. There are also plans for a new off-leash area at Bridges Hill in Cessnock.  

Manning Park Leash Free Area Sign
The off-leash signage at Manning Park

Dog-Friendly Walks in the Hunter Valley

A popular spot for locals to head for a walk with their dogs (although dogs need to be kept on a leash) is Kitchener Dam, about 5km south of Cessnock. The adjacent park is home to a large Poppet Head, an interesting remain from the mine that was once on the site. There’s a pleasant 1.2km walking trail around the dam, home to ducks and swans, plus another longer trail through the nearby bushland.  

Kitchener Dam Poppet Head
Kitchener Poppet Head, part of the region’s mining history
Kitchener Dam Walk
Walking around Kitchener Dam

Note that the Hunter Valley Gardens has a strict no pets policy, so if you’d like to visit the gardens, organise a pet sitter for your dog.

Dog-Friendly Cafes in the Hunter Valley

Many of the restaurants and cafes scattered throughout the Hunter Valley have outdoor dining areas where you dog is welcome to join you. It’s best to plan ahead, with bookings often recommended on weekends and only limited options open during the week. 

One of the most popular dog-friendly spots is The Deck Cafe Lovedale. The cafe is open daily for breakfast and lunch, with a tapas-style menu at lunchtime. At times the tapas menu has also been offered on selected evenings.

Not surprisingly the restaurant is located on a deck overlooking a dam. A list of rules for dogs is displayed at the entry – dogs should be kept on a leash and skip sitting on chairs or laps.

The Deck Lovedale
Dogs are welcome at The Deck Cafe Lovedale
The Deck Lovedale Dog Rules
Just make sure you follow the rules, and your dog may receive a treat

Another great spot to stop by is the Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe and Deli. Dine in at the cafe in the outdoor dining area or picnic tables opposite, with water bowls also provided and a stick library. Or pick up some supplies for your own picnic. Among their huge range of products they stock dog treats including doggy donuts and pupcakes.

Lovedale Smokehouse Dog Library
The dog stick library at Lovedale Smokehouse

If you’d prefer to have a picnic with some of your freshly bought local produce, many cellar doors have plenty of space for a picnic after you enjoy a wine tasting. Alternatively, head to the Pokolbin Rest Area, situated on a hillside south of the Hunter Valley Gardens, with multiple sheltered picnic tables and vistas over the vineyards to the Brokenback Range.  

Pokolbin Rest Area
One of the picnic tables at Pokolbin Rest Area

More dog-friendly cafes and restaurants include Two Fat Blokes Kitchen, Restaurant Botanica, Amanda’s on the Edge, and Fawk Foods Kitchen and Bakery (also the spot to head for freshly baked sourdough). Even the French fine dining Bistro Molines permits dogs in their courtyard. 

Dog-Friendly Pubs & Breweries in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is also home to a number of breweries. One of my favourite spots is the Ironbark Hill Brewhouse, with its spacious outdoor seating area, where dogs are allowed. Order a tasting paddle, or make a booking for lunch. Note that it’s only open during the day.

Ironbark Hill Brewhouse
Outdoor tables at the Ironbark Hill Brewhouse, perfect for lunch or a tasting paddle

For an dog-friendly pub that is open in the evening, check out Brokenback Bar at Estate Tuscany (where you can also stay with your dog, see below). There are designated pet-friendly tables in the outdoor area.

This casual dining venue is open from 12pm until late, from Wednesday to Friday. Check out the regular dinner specials, plus their wide variety of alcoholic beverages.

Note that Harrigan’s Pub doesn’t permit dogs, according to the recent reports below.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in the Hunter Valley

There’s plenty of pet-friendly accommodation options in the Hunter Valley, whether you’re after a cottage for your family, or a luxury hotel room. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

Hunter Valley Pet-Friendly Hotels

One of the most popular pet-friendly hotels in the Hunter Valley is Estate Tuscany. Four rooms have been designated as pet-friendly, with a $30 fee per night applying. There’s extensive grounds for your dog to explore on a lead, plus a designated pet-friendly table outside their onsite restaurant. They also offer a pet sitting service, in case you want to enjoy a fine dining experience elsewhere.  

Alternatively, enquire at Voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley. The hotel has a number of pet-friendly rooms (available by booking directly), complete with private courtyards. Note that dogs are restricted to a maximum weight of 15kg, plus there is a pet fee of $100, with pups pampered in return with their own bed, bowl and home-made treats.

Voco Kirkton Park Exterior
The entrance to the pet-friendly voco Kirkton Park © voco Kirkton Park

Your dog is welcome to join you at Epoch Bar Pizzeria, as well as all courtyards, balconies and on picnics around the grounds. I’ve stayed at the property multiple times back when it was a Sebel hotel, and loved the expansive gardens and grounds, perfect for walks with your pup.  

If you’re staying with a larger group, consider Spicers Guesthouse or Spicers Vineyards Estate. At Spicers Guesthouse the delightful four-bedroom Cottage contained in the five-star resort is pet-friendly, while at Spicers Vineyards Estate stay in the four-bedroom Vineyards House with a full kitchen, its own private pool and fireplace.

Spicers Vineyards Estate Vineyards House
The pet-friendly Vineyards House © Spicers Retreats

At both properties, only dogs up to 25kgs are permitted, and they must be kept off the furniture. Book a Pooch Package to stay in the Cottage, with a plush dog bed and dog bowls provided. Enquire directly with Spicers Vineyards Estate about pet-friendly stays.

Spicers Guest House with Dog
Stay with your dog at Spicers Guesthouse © Spicers Retreats
The courtyard at the Table Guesthouse
The courtyard at the Table Guesthouse © Table Guesthouse

For a more intimate stay, check out The Table Guesthouse in Greta. With just three deluxe queen rooms, each with their own ensuite, this charming guesthouse welcomes well-behaved dogs under 10kg, with a treat on arrival and resident puppy, Harvey the Jack Russell, to meet.

Every morning, a three-course breakfast is served, included with the nightly tariff. There’s also the option to add on dinner or a day tour. Alternatively, contact the host Jo to enquire about dog sitting.

Hunter Valley Pet-Friendly Cottages

Two of the best pet-friendly cottages in the Hunter Valley are Misty Glen Cottage and Wirral Grange. Misty Glen is a 3-bedroom self-contained cottage, with the rate varying depending on the number of guests staying. Dogs are allowed inside the cottage, as well as in the large enclosed yard. Your can also take your pooch for an on-lead walk through the vineyard, or for a swim in the dam. A dog bed, toys, bowls and dog tags are included. 

The cottage at Wirral Grange Vineyard in Lovedale is also three-bedrooms, sleeping up to seven, and comes with breakfast supplies from their own farm. Well-behaved, immunised dogs are welcome to join you, with no charge as long as they have their own bedding.

There’s a fenced backyard where they can be safely left if you head out without them, plus onsite dams where they can enjoy a swim. (A shared saltwater swimming pool for humans is available during the summer.)  

Hunter Valley Vineyard
Gorgeous scenery in the Hunter Valley

If you’re planning a Hunter trip with a large group of family or friends, check out Vinden Estate Homestead. The winner of the “Best Accommodation – Hunter Valley” award from Gourmet Traveller magazine in 2020, this six-bedroom property is set in parkland grounds and is dog-friendly.

Inside are two open fireplaces, while outside is a swimming pool and BBQ. Make sure you request in advance for pets to stay, plus note that the property isn’t fenced and the adjacent winery also has dogs.

Hunter Valley Pet-Friendly Caravan Parks

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly caravan park, both the Wine Country Tourist Park and Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley are pet-friendly.

We stayed at the Wine Country Tourist Park, a small family-run park that’s close to the vineyards, where small pets are allowed at the manager’s discretion.

Wine Country Tourist Park
Small pets are allowed at Wine Country Tourist Park

Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley has both pet-friendly sites and cabins available, with no mention of black-out dates. Generally only one pet is permitted per booking, unless you receive prior approval. If staying in a cabin, bring your pet’s bedding, otherwise an additional $200 cleaning fee applies. Confirm which cabins are pet-friendly before booking.

Head Next To

About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

Inspired? Pin this to your Pinterest board!

Dog-friendly Hunter Valley pin

7 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Hunter Valley, NSW: Visiting with a Dog”

  1. Hi there, thank you for your recommendations they are certainly helpful. I’m just trying to think of activities at night that is also pet friendly. Any suggestions? We are staying in great but we don’t mind travelling. Thanks

    • There’s not many activities on offer in the evening in the Hunter Valley. I believe Harrigan’s Pub is open late, but I haven’t checked if it has a dog-friendly area. Alternatively, it’s a good time to sit back and relax at your accommodation, enjoying some of your purchases from during the day.

  2. Thank you for including Misty Glen Cottage in your blog. We genuinely pet friendly as is our cellar door. We are open weekends and during the week by appointment.
    I noticed one of your followers asked about evening activities with dogs. As long as you are prepared to be outside then you should be able to take your dog to pet friendly restaurants. Otherwise there are pet sitting agents around locally such as Critter Sitter. Hope to see you soon!

  3. Harrigans pub is not dog friendly 🙁

    We are staying at Tuscay Wine Estate which is dog friendly and they have a restaurant and bar on their property that is dog friendly 🙂
    Looking forward to visit all these places you listed again 🙂

    • Great to hear that you’re staying at Tuscany Wine Estate! And yes, it’s a pity that Harrigans doesn’t allow dogs.

    • We went there last night with our 2 fur babies (2 small dogs ) I called ahead and they said yes to dogs just sit outside . The outside included the area with heaters and plastic cafe curtains down.
      Very warm.


Leave a Comment