This is as close to an African safari experience - bar the game drives - that any of us in Australia are likely to get anytime soon.
It's easy to overlook the Hunter's impressive credentials - not only is it Australia's oldest wine region, it also has the most cellar doors (more than 150).
Newcastle is a small city making a big impact.
The Hunter Valley and venues like the 12-room Spicers Vineyards Estate, is receiving renewed consideration from once-sceptical city-slickers.
Shrinking travel options inspire Anthony Dennis to revisit the impressive wine region right on his doorstep.
Forged by steel and sweat, Newcastle has risen once more to become one of Australia's coolest coastal cities.
Australia's oldest wine-growing region flies under the radar, but it's proximity to Sydney and elegant eateries make it well-worth a visit.