Cessnock is a city in the Hunter Region of NSW, 52km by road, west of Newcastle. It is the administrative centre of the Cessnock City Council and regarded as the gateway and service centre to the Hunter Valley vineyards.
The decline of mining and eventual closure of the South Maitland Railway has been paralleled by growth in the wine industry and better access to other employment centres. The Hunter Valley is Australia's oldest wine region and one of the most famous, with about 1800 hectares under vine. Cessnock has begun to develop other tourist ventures beyond the wine industry such as championship golf courses, hot air ballooning, sky-diving, and guest house accommodation.
The Cessnock exit of the Sydney-Newcastle freeway at Freemans Waterhole provides one of the main road connections from Sydney to Cessnock via "The Gap", a pass through the Wattagan mountain range north of Mt Heaton.
General access by air is via Newcastle Airport at Williamtown, 53km away, and includes direct services from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. There are bus services to Maitland, Newcastle and Sydney as well as local school bus services.
Cessnock’s schools include Cessnock High School, Mount View High School, St Phillip's Christian College, Cessnock Public School, Nulkaba Public School, Cessnock East Public School, Cessnock West Public School, Kearsley Public School and St Patrick's Primary.
The city has many sporting facilities and competes in several regional competitions, particularly the Newcastle-based leagues of various sports.