Located on the banks of the Hunter River, Singleton is a historic city with 200 years of European history and easy access to the famous Hunter Valley wineries.
The county’s countryside is all about rolling vineyard-covered hills with rugged peaks in the background.
Almost half of Singleton is made up of national parks, so there’s no shortage of adventure for those who want it.
Alternatively, you can cycle from cellar door to cellar door, pairing award-winning wines with delicacies from this fertile part of the country.
The town of Singleton has a lot to love, not least the 19th-century buildings lining George Street and the well-appointed parks that dot the townscape.
1. Hunter Valley Wine Region
Singleton is close to the geographic centre of one of Australia’s largest and most acclaimed wine regions.
If we were to list the dozens of estates and cellars in the counties around Pokolbin, we’d be here all day (some big hits are Audrey Wilkinson, Peterson House, Tulloch Wines and Pepper Tree Wines). But there are some things you need to know.
The scenery surrounded by the Brokeback Mountains is like being in a paradise.
The alluvial plains are mixed with sandy soils, perfect for crisp whites like Semillon, while the red duplex soils on the slopes are perfect for full-bodied reds like Shiraz and Merlot.
From Singleton, you can craft a tasting itinerary that combines well-known brands with boutique operations, enriching world-class paddock-to-plate cuisine.
You can also make your own way through the safe “Around Hermitage Wine and Food Trail”, a dedicated food and wine bike trail northwest of Pokolbin with breathtaking views of the Brokenback Mountains.
2. Australian Army Infantry Museum (AAIM)
Not far south of Singleton, you’ll find Lone Pine Barracks, an active Australian Army base.
In addition to the Special Forces Training Centre, it is also home to the Australian Army Infantry School, making it an appropriate venue for a museum about this regiment.
AAIM is the custodian of the Legion’s history, documenting every overseas deployment from Sudan in 1885 to Afghanistan in the 21st century.
This timeline is shown on the lower floors, while the mezzanine has a fascinating collection of small arms detailing their evolution and their impact on field procedures, tactics and technology.
3. Singleton Heritage Walk
With many 19th century buildings, lovely gardens and modern monuments, Singleton is a town worth exploring on foot.
The good news is that this can be done easily with the Singleton Heritage Walk, a map that can be downloaded to a smartphone.
Many of the 37 stops are on the main thoroughfare, George Street, such as the magnificent Ewebank (1884), the Royal Hotel (1859), the Percy Hotel (1892), the Mechanics Institute (1866) and the palatial former Post Office (1878).
4. Single Sundial
To commemorate Australia’s bicentenary in 1988, Singleton erected one of the largest sundials in the world.
The monument, which sits on the edge of what is now Rose Point Park, was largely funded by local industry, including the Leamington Coal Mine.
It is the gateway to riverside recreation, also developed for the bicentennial, and symbolizes the transition between old and new in one of the oldest ways of keeping time.
A single-ton sundial weighs about 30 tons, and its needle (the part that casts the shadow) points toward the south celestial pole, parallel to the Earth’s axis of rotation.
Next to the sundial is a sign that you may need to make corrections to determine AEST.
5. Town Head Park
South East of the CBD, around the Singleton Visitor Information and Corporate Centre, is a lovely green space where you can stop and get directions.
As we compile this list in 2020, Townhead Park is being upgraded, equipping it with the latest children’s playgrounds, drinking fountains, picnic tables, bike racks, electric grills and shelters.
On the second Sunday of every month, you can visit the Valley Market, located in the park, to trade local fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products, specialty foods and handicrafts.
6. Singleton Visitor Information Centre
With an extensive distillery directory around Singleton, and a few days of endless inspiration, amenities like this become essential.
The staff at the centre are experts on all things Singleton and can help you fine-tune your itinerary to make the most of this corner of the Hunter Valley.
At Townhead Park, it’s a quiet place to get off and take a break when you’re in town.
The center also has a café, free Wi-Fi and a gift shop selling local delicacies and one-off handmade items.
7. Lake St. Clair
When it comes to water activities, the obvious destination is Lake St. Clair, a huge and scenic reservoir in the rolling foothills of Mount Royal.
You can get there in less than half an hour from Singleton and may be surprised by the sheer size of the lake, which is less than half the capacity of Sydney Harbour.
Come summer, Lake St. Clair is a magnet for boating, and it’s no surprise given the dramatic surrounding landscape.
People come to jet or wakeboard to sail or glide along the water.
You can also catch an abundance of golden, silver and bass in the lake.
If you want to spend a few days, the lakeshore has 12 powered campgrounds and nearly 40 acres of camping space.
8. Barrington National Park
Mount Royal National Park forms a stunning backdrop to Lake St Clair, connected to the World Heritage-listed Mount Barrington.
This belongs to the Gondwana Rainforest in Australia’s Unesco region, allowing you to see very little of the Earth long before humans lived.
You can venture into this lush, mossy world on a variety of walking trails that take you to waterfalls, waterfalls, swimming holes and scenic lookouts, and through precious rainforests that have existed for hundreds of millions of years.
For a shorter day walk, you can hike the Gloucester Tops track, which includes three longer trails in just 8 kilometers, leading you through rainforest and snow gum woodland to lookouts and beautiful grids Lost Falls.
Not far west of Millbrowdale, there is a rugged cliff of Hawkesbury Sandstone, looking northeast at Singleton’s overhang.
On the back wall of this open cave, with stunning views of the Hunter Valley, is a pigment art depiction of the god Bhai.
In the dreams of several Aboriginal groups in New South Wales, the mysterious figure is the creator god.
Such images are considered to be extremely rare, and the White Ame has huge white eyes and long arms outstretched, encircling the land of the Wanarua people.
10. Rose Point Park
A place to relax or be active in Singleton is this dog-friendly green space on the south bank of the Hunter River.
Take a few minutes of quiet on the River Walk Track, where the city’s Netball Association, Cricket Nets and AFL clubs are based on the grass.
There’s room for everyone, especially for smaller family members, as the park’s fully fenced playground has just been rebuilt.
It is a fully functional facility with state-of-the-art equipment and challenges designed to be fun for children with or without disabilities.
Bring food for a picnic or barbecue and it’s easy to fly over half a day.
11. Singleton Historical Society and Museum
If you’re in town on a weekend or Tuesday, it’s well worth checking out the Historical Society’s museum.
It couldn’t have been a better location, in the old council chambers, dating back to 1874, in beautiful Birdkin Park.
Originally intended as a prison, this beautiful building has been used by the historical society since the 1960s and holds a wealth of interesting artifacts.
There’s Singleton’s first ambulance, a variety of vintage furniture, farm implements and kitchen utensils, and a convict bell embedded in a tree trunk.
12. Veracata National Park
A little further, this protected natural space is located just east of the Polkobin Vineyards, protecting the rare kurri sand swamp woodlands and the Hunter Lowland red gum forest.
Veracata National Park’s plant diversity is astounding, with 400 recorded plant species, many of which are endangered.
Spring is an unforgettable time for a walk, and the park is full of wildflowers, from a variety of ground orchids to red mountain devils and purple happy wanderers.
If you have a crate full of Hunter Valley treats, you can indulge in al fresco treats at the Astills picnic area.
13. Heston Lookout
Also known as Apex Lookout, this impressive vantage point is 60 metres above the Hunt River in the suburb of Gowrie.
The park, now equipped with benches, play areas and picnic areas, was once farmland bequeathed by a PA Heuston with the express purpose of turning it into a scenic spot.
The views are lovely, along the meandering course of the Hunt River heading west towards the mining landscape of Warkworth and the peaks of Wallamy National Park behind.
14. Chapu Bangkok Horse Riding
Worth a visit is this riding centre and stables based on the sprawling cattle farm.
When we say vast, we mean more than 6,500 acres of peaks and valleys that have belonged to six generations of the Chapman family, or more than 180 years.
You can get there along the picturesque Putty Road from Singleton, and you can take part in experiences ranging from one hour rides to two days of hiking and even three days of cattle herding.
Chapu Bangkok’s horses are in good physical and mental condition, as are hundreds of cattle, and the land is littered with wildlife such as kangaroos.
Younger children who are not used to horses can also ride with an experienced trainer.
You may not have imagined yourself freefalling in excess of 220 km/h in a picturesque country town like Singleton, but for those brave enough, this exhilarating activity is possible of.
Skydive Hunter Valley is a center just 5 minutes from the center of Singleton, specializing in tandem jumps that require very little training.
You will be placed in the hands of an experienced skydiver and carefully guided through each skydiving stage.
Securely attached to your instructor via a harness, you’ll feel the speed of a free fall from heights of up to 15,000 feet, and then, once the canopy is open, you can admire the idyllic Hunter Valley and its rolling vineyards covered hills.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Singleton, Australia
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