Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 37
headquarters only a half hour or so by road from
Joining the wine and tourism industry,
light and secondary industry have also been
a feature of Cessnock's recent development.
The production of aluminium, the processing
of explosive equipment and mining support
services provide significant sources of
employment. The Hydro smelter at Kurri
generates about 15 per cent of Australia's
output, the majority exported around the world.
Other industries include beef and poultry, a $15
million contributor to the Cessnock economy. A
large number of manufacturing, engineering and
mining support businesses are located in the
Kurri Kurri/Weston industrial area.
Across the city there are two hospitals,
community health services, a range of childcare
options and aged care, as well as numerous
other community support services. There's
60 km of cycleways, two libraries and 19
A look at the sports stars this area has
produced across a number of disciplines shows
it is a remarkable sporting city. Kurri Kurri is
believed to have produced more rugby league
internationals than any other town in Australia
while at the more lightweight end of the scale
jockey Robert Thompson broke the record for the
most winners ever ridden in Australia when he
steered Promised to victory at Port Macquarie
in July, 2008, breaking the mark set by the
late Jack Thompson of 3322 winners. The city's
towns and villages provide high-quality sporting
facilities including 23 sports fields, three public
swimming pools, two indoor sports centres, 28
cricket wickets and more practice nets, almost
40 council-provided tennis courts, 28 netball
courts, a regional hockey facility, a BMX track
and three skatebord parks.
9. TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
The vineyards of Pokolbin, Mount View
and Allandale, with rich volcanic soils and
entrepreneurial vignerons, are the focus of
a thriving tourism industry. The Hunter is
NSW's most popular tourist destination outside
Sydney and the vineyards are the single most
important attraction in the Hunter. About two
million visitors are attracted to the vineyards
each year, generating about $220 million for
the local economy. The vineyards employ about
4700 people with a further 2100 flow-on jobs.
As well as vineyards and wineries, wine-related
tourism has brought fine restaurants, high-class
accommodation, motels, cabins, guest houses,
golf courses, galleries, skydiving, vineyard flights
in everything from balloons, helicopters, vintage
planes and jet fighters, and created opportunities
for attractions such as the historic Marthaville
Arts and Crafts Centre, Wollombi village, Hunter
Valley Zoo, the Richmond Main Mining Museum
and the Richmond Vale Railway.
Good food and wine go together like, well . . .
good food and wine. The area has more highly
rated restaurants than anywhere else in the
Hunter. Despite last month's shock closure
of Rock Restaurant at Pokolbin, which had
two hats in the 2011 Sydney Morning Herald
Good Food Guide, Muse at Pokolbin and Bistro
Molines at Mount View both have a hat each.
In the 2010 Restaurant and Caterers NSW
Regional Awards Muse was named restaurant
of the year and contemporary Australian
restaurant (formal), while Nine, at Tower Lodge,
was named best new restaurant and Amanda's
on the Edge was best restaurant in a winery.
The three restaurants won the same sections at
the Hunter Restaurant and Caterers Awards,
while Chez Pok (now Restaurant Sanctuary),
won for best restaurant in a hotel/motel/resort,
Il Cacciatore for best Italian restaurant and
Hunter Valley Gardens for function centre
catering. In the Sydney Morning Herald
Good Pub Food Guide, Pokolbin's Irish pub,
Harrigan's, scored a three-schooner rating.
inflate at Hunter
Ridge for an early
Q: What do you think is special about
A: "I have been coming to Cessnock for
over 40 years and I have lovely memories
of exploring the vineyards and the many
attractions in wine country and seeing
where the Australian wine industry started.
When people want to escape to the historic
Wollombi Valley they also drive through
Cessnock along a branch of the convict-built Great North Road. I really
can't forget the history, wine and beautiful scenery wherever I go around
Cessnock and Wollombi."
-- Film director Phillip Noyce who, with brothers Peter and Michael, own
Noyce Brothers Wines at Wollombi. Noyce has directed TV shows such as
The Dismissal and Cowra Breakout, Australian films Newsfront, Dead Calm
and Rabbit-Proof Fence and major Hollywood films such as Patriot Games,
Clear and Present Danger, The Bone Collector, The Quiet American and the
Angelina Jolie thriller Salt.
THE LAST WORD ...
Nature rules over much of the Cessnock City countryside with
native animals galore and almost a quarter of the land locked up in
national parks, including Yengo, Werakata and the Watagans.
Visitors can picnic, enjoy a bushwalk or tour by car through the
Watagans with its moss-covered rocks, rainforests and magnificent
red cedars. There's Illawarra flames trees on the way to Gap Creek
Falls, spectacular views of rainforest gullies from lookouts such as
Monkey Face and picnics at Boarding House Dam. There's Aboriginal
engravings, art sites and shelters, log shutes and old saw mill sites,
and the park holds the headwaters of Congewai, Quorrobolong, Gap
and Dora creeks.
Werakata National Park was only declared in 1999 and has a
history of Aboriginal occupation and more recent forestry work, and
still has one of a few remaining forestry huts. It contains a number
of threatened plant and animal species and the Kurri Sand Swamp
Woodland, and one of the best ways of viewing it is by bicycle.
Yengo National Park, with its steep gorges and rocky ridges,
stretches over 70 km from Wisemans Ferry to the Hunter and is rich
in Aboriginal heritage, especially around Mount Yengo.
The old Great North Road, an example of early 19th century convict
road building, follows the south-east boundary of the park.
BOX OFFICE 4990 7134
online bookings www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au
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