Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 4
THE Hunter: Our Backyard is unashamed
of its raison d'etre -- extolling the virtues
of our backyard, the wonderful Hunter
Valley of NSW.
The subtitle of the magazine says it all - we
look in these pages at the Hunter's advantages
and natural wonders, and there are plenty of
As the foreword says, even the Prime Minister,
Julia Gillard, loves the Hunter, ''offering a
lifestyle that is second to none, with diverse
landscapes ranging from the majestic Wollemi
National Park to magnificent beaches and
coastal lakes''. It's a sentiment surely echoed by
the people who call the Hunter home.
The advantages of living in the valley are too
numerous to fully list, but many are touched
on here: housing, shopping, nature, heritage,
education, community . . . the list is long, as the
valley's attributes are almost endless.
The bald facts are that the Hunter is a river
valley sitting on the east coast of Australia
about 120 km north of Sydney. It contains 11
local government areas -- Newcastle, Maitland,
Cessnock, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie,
Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper
Hunter, Great Lakes and Gloucester -- covers
35,382 sq km, around half the size of Tasmania,
and is home to about 650,000 people.
Those statistics don't even touch on the
wonder that is the Hunter.
There are surf beaches that are the envy
of the world, wilderness areas and wetlands
of international significance, wondrous sand
dunes, magnificent lakes, bays and rivers,
dolphins and whales, power stations that light
the nation's homes, and coal mines that make
the port of Newcastle the greatest coal exporter
in the world and contribute to its $13.05 billion
in imports and exports.
The Hunter's equine industry is second only
to Kentucky in the world with $2.5 billion in
bloodstock, while the vineyards draw more
than 2.5 million visitors a year and generate an
estimated $700 million in the regional economy.
There's an abundance of nature matched
by modern facilities, top-class dining,
entertainment and shopping.
It is a great place to live or visit - let's face it,
more than seven million visitors in 2010 can't be
be wrong. Yep, that's seven million - 5.2 million
domestic day trippers, 134,800 international
overnight visitors and two million domestic
overnight visitors -- and that's not even taking
in Great Lakes and Port Stephens, which
Tourism NSW does not include in the Hunter.
This magazine attempts to paint a picture
of each of the valley's local government
areas via stories, top 10s of advantages, fact
boxes, experiences to be enjoyed, points of
interest, wonders of nature and, perhaps most
importantly, views through the eyes of people
born in the valley or who have chosen it as
their home, for the people of the valley are
Most -- if not all -- of the people quoted here
are of international renown. If ever a growing
child needed reassurance of what can be
achieved from the Hunter, these icons of talent
Some of the valley's attractions double dip,
appearing in more than one region as they are
shared by neighbours, such as wilderness areas
or off-shore islands, but they are all part of the
whole that is the Hunter.
Hopefully, at the end of the day and the
completion of these pages, The Hunter: Our
Backyard will reinforce to all the wonders of the
valley, and perhaps inform a little more about
the remarkable place we all call home.
of the Hunter
The localities listed in each local government area are from
the NSW Division of Local Government, Department of
Premier and Cabinet. Localities marked with a * cross over
two areas. Housing prices are from Australian Property
Monitors for the 12 months to March. Unless otherwise
stated, population figures and many other statistics are
from the most recent Census. Information also came
from officers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service,
NSW Office of Water, NSW State Fisheries, Industry and
Investment NSW, NSW Maritime, Hunter Valley Research
Foundation and the 11 councils of the region, their tourism
officers and websites.
Chris Watson, Jane Parsons
Neale Bidner, Moira Kemmis,
Christine Bonser, Lauren Devine,
Ian Bell, Michael Maher, Russell Geggie.
and this magazine looks at some of the reasons why.
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