On the Pacific Highway about 23km north of Newcastle, Raymond Terrace sits at the junction of the Hunter and Williams rivers.
In the mid-1800s this was a bustling and prosperous wool-shipping centre and many fine old buildings from those days remain. The 1838 court house is still being used, and the homestead of pioneer James King, built in 1830, is certainly worth a look, along with the sandstone Church of England rectory, built in the same year.
Raymond Terrace also claims a wine first through Scottish settler and founder member of the Hunter River Vineyard Association James King who is reputed to have produced Australia’s first exported wine at his property, Irrawang.
It is certainly true that the Hunter River Association succeeded in persuading British importers of colonial wine that New South Wales winemakers were at least the equal of their South African counterparts.
Raymond Terrace bills itself as ‘The Gateway to the Hunter Valley’ - that land of vineyards, wineries and horse studs - and the beautiful, aquatic playground of Port Stephens is just a short drive to the east.