Pokolbin is a small city of in the Lower Hunter Valley Wine Region&mdasha mostly agricultural area. (The city is in fact part of another city, Cessnock, which is seven miles to the southeast.) Wine accounts for much of its tourism and Pokolbin MICE venues. Its unique environment makes it home to several rare birds and is the reason for its designation as an Important Bird Area.
In the city of Port Stephens, close to Newcastle and 40 miles east of Pokolbin, is Newcastle Airport (NTL), from which four domestic airlines provide service to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, and Sydney. Approximately 40 miles northwest of Newcastle (and thus the Pacific Ocean) and 100 miles northwest of Sydney, Pokolbin sits on the Pacific Motorway.
Pokolbin MICE venues begin with the facilities at the Cypress Lakes Resort, which has a convention centre for up to 500 persons, The Cypress Centre for 200, an events centre for 620, the Lagoon Pool Marquee for 300, 200 guest rooms, and an 18-hole championship golf course with clubhouse.
Other hotels able to host groups include the 319-room Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, which has seven meeting rooms, including a ballroom for up to 560 persons; the 100-room Chateau Elan Hunter Valley, which has a celebrated spa, 20 secluded spa villas, and four very nice function areas, the largest able to host 330 persons; the 72-room Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens, which has a conference center for up to 200 persons; the 71-room Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley, which has five event spaces, the largest able to cater to 300 persons; and, closer to Cessnock, the 68-room Potters Hunter Valley Hotel, Brewery & Resort, which has the area's only microbrewery and function space for 150 persons.
Unique MICE venues in Pokolbin and in the beautiful wine country hereabouts include the wineries and vineyards of Brokenwood, which is adjacent to the Cypress Lakes Resort and has several event spaces, including the Graveyard Room (tastier than it sounds) for up to 100 persons; Hungerford Hill, which has a tasting room and the Muse Restaurant, among other spaces; Bimbadgen, which has spectacular grounds, the Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant, a Cafe, an amphitheatre and tasting room, and guest rooms; and Pepper Tree, which has a tasting room. For a non-winery choice, there is the architecturally interesting Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, which has a 466-seat theatre, outdoor space, three meeting rooms, and a lobby for rental.
All that excellent wine means there is excellent food to accompany it. Choose between Robert's Circa 1876, which has modern, seasonal fare and a memorable setting; nearby Cellar Restaurant, which has space for private events of up to 120 persons; The Verandah Restaurant, which is in the gorgeous Calais Vineyard & Winery; Mojo's on Wilderness, which is in Lovedale and has a private room for 40 persons, as well as a lawn that can be set up for banquets, and Bistro Molines, which is an exceptionally pretty restaurant with outdoor seating and award-winning chefs.