Things To Do In The Hunter Valley: With Kids + Without
By Flick Frankish, mum of two (and another of the way) and owner of The Baby Vine, an online parenting community that has been created to provide quality, informative, inspirational content.
I just love weekend getaways as a family. There is nothing better than packing up the car and heading off on an adventure, enjoying a night or two away from home and some quality family time.
We do it all the time, generally alternating between Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley.
The Hunter Valley pulls us back each and every time, because there are so many great things to do with kids, and great places to stay as well. Here are a few of our favourites.
1100 Milbrodale Road Broke NSW 2330, Australia
Phone: 02 6579 1081
When it comes to looking for a fabulous place to stay, you honestly can’t go past this one. I am a little picky when it comes to travelling with kids – or just kids sleeping in general! We have never had the kids in our room, co sleeping or even in a cot next to us. From day 1, they went straight to their own cots in their own room, and holidays were no exception. Otherwise it just wasn’t a holiday. That’s one reason we love this place. You can book a little cottage with two rooms, so the kids are right across from you, but still separated by a door. Bliss!
But of course, the real drawcard comes from the alpacas and other animals at the farm. The owners supply you with a bucket of feed, and you can actually go into one of the paddocks and feed the alpacas there. There is also a pool, a playground, lots of bikes and ride on scooters you can use, and chickens to go check out. So much to do and see for little kids. We have stayed there a few times now and it’s always our go to place.
2090 Broke Road Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Phone: 02 4998 4000
This is probably the most popular of all Hunter Valley activities. It’s one place you can’t look past when it comes to your stay in the Hunter Valley. There is always something going on at the gardens, and we usually time our trips around these events.
There’s the Snow Time In The Garden where it is transformed into a winter festival complete with ice skating, fake snow, tobogganing and plenty more. The snow play zone and face painting were highlights for our three year old, while daddy definitely loved the tobogganing best!
The gardens also transform for the Mega Creatures, where you can walk through a display of giants! There are statues of dinosaurs and insects all throughout for you to discover, with plenty of fun activities too, including a giant slide, Ferris wheel and inflatable swing chair.
Saving best until last, you can’t go past the Christmas Lights Spectacular, which happen from early November until the end of January. As the sun goes down the lights go on and there is honestly so much to see and it really is just spectacular. There’s the Fairy Garden, Candyland, you can spot Santa’s sleigh, Storybook Garden and so much more. My kids are delighted by it year after year.
Of course, the Gardens are also worth a trip even when there is no particular event to see. It is set up for kids everyday, with different places to visit and explore. Plus, you get to avoid the big crowds doing it this way.
Hunter Valley Zoo, 138 Lomas Ln, Nulkaba NSW 2325
Phone: 02 4990 7714
I don’t know whether it is just me, but I LOVE the zoo, and always make time for a trip there no matter where we are. Only 5 minutes from Cessnock, you don’t have to go out of your way, and it makes a fun day out for the whole family. You can feed the animals and enjoy one of the daily shows that happen, with interactive walk through yards where you can touch reptiles, or watch the monkeys get fed. I just love how hands on the experience is. For young children this is the de rigeur on the Hunter Valley Things To Do list.
2320 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Phone: 02 4998 6999
Who doesn’t love chocolate? This is definitely an activity the whole family can enjoy and we always make time for it each time we visit. You can actually go in and see where all the goodies are made, and if you’re lucky you will even get a taste test. The last time we were there we got to watch honeycomb in the making. It was very impressive! But be warned, you will unlikely to walk out empty handed.
(02) 4993 3999
2144 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Of course, when it comes to Hunter Valley, it’s known for the wine, and having kids with you doesn’t mean you have to miss out. I find Tempus Two to be the most kid friendly wine tasting destination (with the Smelly Cheese Shop just next door). It has a huge grassed area out the front where the kids can literally run wild, while you enjoy a sip or two.
0431 337 367
917 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
This is one for the older kids, so we haven’t been exploring yet, but it is definitely on our to do list as the girls get older! You can choose from a number of different tours that suit your needs, and can even get a horse drawn carriage. It’s a great way to see some of the Hunter Valley region in the process.
202 Neath Road, Kearsley NSW 2325
Phone: 0455 999 096
If you have older kids then they will love a trip to Go Karts Go. They generally cater for kids aged 8 and over, however they do have double carts available so you can ride with the younger kids, going down to about 5 years (based on height). They have a brand new track ready for you go, with a mixture of long fast corners and slow corners to test out your skills. You pay per 15-minute session (but you can buy a group of them to stay longer), so you can have great fun racing each other around the track. Just remember, they aren’t bumper cars!
Putt Putt Golf
02 4998 4000
Broke Road Pokolbin, NSW 2320 Australia
Back to the gardens, but this time for a little putt putt – a favourite activity of mine! The aim of the game is literally to hit the ball into the lake in front of you. The goal is to get it onto one of the floating targets, and if you manage to do this, you win a prize! Plenty of fun for both kids and adults.
0434 722 808
5 Halls Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
If you are after a spot of shopping, then you can’t go past the Hunter Markets. All the products sold are grown, made and crafted by Hunter Valley artisans, and you will get the chance to actually speak to the person behind the creation. There are up to 50 stalls hosted at each market (on a rotational basis so you will never get bored) with a variety of art and crafts, candles, ceramics, food, home décor, jewellery, clothing, silk, soap and more. Head to their website to check out when the next one will be held.
So no more need to wonder what to do in the Hunter Valley when you go with the family.
There really is so much to do and see, and so far we go at least once a year to check it out.
Yes, we have even been kid free to enjoy a bit more of the wine side of things!