The Hunter Valley region extends from approximately 120 km to 310 km north of Sydney. More than half of the population live in the coastal cities of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. The Hunter Region contains the Hunter River and its tributaries with highland areas to the north and south. The Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast, and is most commonly known for its wineries and coal industry. The Upper Hunter area around Scone is one of the largest horse breeding areas in the world.
The Hunter Region is one of Australia's most famous wine-growing regions, known for both its red and white wine varieties. The most important economic activity in the valley is coal mining. The Hunter Valley is a major tourist destination in New South Wales and is the 6th most visited place in Australia attracting more than 2.5 million people annually. There are regular events held in the Hunter for visitors, including the Hunter Valley Steam Trains running the first three Sundays of each month and regular scenic cruises on the Hunter River and Lake Macquarie.