Coal mining, once a major industry in Cessnock, is rapidly being phased out and replaced with tourism based on the famous Pokolbin vineyards found within a small radius of this Hunter Valley town. There are now over 100 wineries in the Pokolbin area, including some of the best known names in Australian wine. The majority offer tasting facilities and cellar door sales, and some of the larger enterprises provide additional facilities such as function rooms, restaurants, barbecue and picnic facilities.
South-west of Cessnock, the old world charm of Wollombi Village gives an insight into local history through several historic sandstone buildings. The Endeavour Museum now occupies the old Courthouse and this plus craft galleries and tearooms are generally open on weekends.