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.
What are the different ways to reach Hunter Valley from Sydney?
There are several convenient options available for travellers looking to journey from Sydney to the picturesque Hunter Valley region. One popular method is by car, which offers the flexibility and freedom to explore the area at one’s own pace. The most direct route by road is via the M1 Pacific Motorway, which can be accessed from the Sydney central business district.
Travellers should take the Cessnock exit and follow the signs to the Hunter Valley vineyards. This route typically takes approximately two hours, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour by coach, where knowledgeable guides offer insights into the history and attractions of the region, allowing you to sit back, relax, and take in the scenery.
If you prefer public transport, trains provide a viable and cost-effective option. Travellers can embark on a comfortable journey aboard a train from Sydney’s Central Station to Singleton, Maitland, or Morisset, which are located in the vicinity of the Hunter Valley. From these stations, it is advisable to arrange a taxi or shuttle bus transfer to the desired location within the wine region. The train journey typically takes between two and three hours, depending on the destination and service selected.
Lastly, for a truly unique and memorable experience, travellers may consider a scenic helicopter or seaplane flight from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. These exhilarating aerial adventures not only offer a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscapes but also provide a swift and direct mode of transportation, with flights generally taking less than an hour.
While this option may come with a higher price tag, it is an unparalleled experience that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.
In summary, reaching the Hunter Valley from Sydney can be achieved through various modes of transportation, including self-driving, coach tours, trains, or a scenic flight. Each option presents its own set of advantages and appeals to different preferences, allowing travellers to choose the method that best suits their needs and desires.
Things to consider while selecting the perfect activity to do with kids in Hunter Valley
When planning an excursion to the Hunter Valley with children, it is crucial to consider various factors that will contribute to a successful and enjoyable experience for the entire family. Firstly, the age of the children involved is an essential aspect to bear in mind, as the suitability of certain activities may depend on the developmental stage and capabilities of the child.
Selecting age-appropriate activities will ensure that children remain engaged and derive maximum enjoyment from the experience. This may involve choosing a gentle bushwalk with interpretive signs for younger kids, or opting for a more adventurous high ropes course for older, thrill-seeking children.
Secondly, the interests and preferences of the children should be taken into account when selecting an activity. By tailoring the choice of attractions to cater to their hobbies and passions, parents can foster an environment that nurtures their child’s natural curiosity and excitement.
For instance, if a child demonstrates a keen interest in wildlife, a visit to the Hunter Valley Zoo or a guided nature walk may be a fitting choice, whereas a child with a penchant for arts and crafts might appreciate a visit to a pottery studio or a creative workshop.
The duration and pace of the chosen activity is another important aspect to consider, as this can have a significant impact on the overall enjoyment of the experience. This may involve planning shorter, more varied activities for younger children, or allowing for regular breaks and rest periods throughout the day.
In addition, it is advisable to consider any safety concerns or restrictions that may be associated with a particular activity. This may involve assessing the risks and taking necessary precautions, such as providing appropriate safety equipment, supervising children closely, or seeking out trained professionals to guide the activity.
Lastly, practical considerations such as cost, accessibility, and the availability of facilities should also factor into the decision-making process. By selecting activities that cater to the family’s budget, location, and logistical needs, parents can help to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience for all.
In summary, selecting the perfect activity for children in the Hunter Valley requires careful consideration of factors such as age, interests, duration, safety, and practicality.
By taking these elements into account, you can create memorable experiences that engage and delight your children, fostering a love for exploration and discovery in the beautiful Hunter Valley region.
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!
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