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Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

If you’re visiting the Hunter Valley over December and January, you simply must see the gorgeous Christmas Lights Spectacular at the Hunter Valley Gardens.

What started as a small display of lights in Australia’s largest display garden six years ago has turned into the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and most breathtaking display of over 2 million lights.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

The show is designed with families in mind, with roaming entertainment, a Christmas Lights Fun Zone with inflatables, jumping castles, an arcade alley and 35 metre long Super Slide, Santa’s Workshop (open until New Year’s Eve) and nightly performances by children’s musical group Little Scallywagz.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

This year’s light displays feature world landmarks, a 6 metre giant present tree, north pole and nativity scenes, Cinderella’s castle, the Mad Hatter’s Tea party, an under water scene, with the absolute faves for us being Candy Land and the Fairy Garden.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

Observant visitors will notice a few new additions in the gardens – animatronic dinosaurs who are on display to tell people about the new Mega Creatures display coming to the Hunter Valley Gardens from Jan 2 – so if you visit in Jan, you’ll get both displays at the same time.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

Tips for visiting the Christmas Lights Spectacular

  • Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the queue.
  • Arrive when the gardens open at 6:30pm. This will give you plenty of time to walk around the gardens while it’s still light enough to see the actual garden, get some food, and play in the fun zone until it gets dark enough for the lights to truly shine.
  • Keep a close eye on kids in the fun zone. We had no problems but there can be lots of big kids on the inflatables at the same time as the little ones.
  • Enjoy the roving entertainment! Our daughter loved this the most, especially the hula hoop lawn in front of the waterfall section.
  • Walk around the gardens for a second time when it’s dark. The lights are completely the focus when it’s dark and are really spectacular!

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular
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Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

More information

Christmas Lights Fun Zone
Open from 6:30pm – 10:00pm, $7.50 per person
Slide is for children over 120cm tall.

Food & Beverage Area
Open from 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Food includes woodfired pizza, pasta, German kitchen, snack foods, churros, coffee.

Roaming Entertainment
From 6:30pm – 9.30pm

Little Scallywagz Show
7:30pm & 8:30pm

The Christmas Lights Spectacular is on display 4th November – 26th January 2017
Cost: Family Pass (2 adults + 1 child) – Night Only
$72.00, Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children) – Night Only
$92.00

Gates open 6.30pm – 10.00pm
General Gardens open 9am – 4pm during the Christmas Lights Spectacular

Hunter Valley Gardens
Address: 2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin

Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens

Where to stay
We highly enjoyed staying the night at the nearby Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens. The hotel is a very short 7-minute walk from Hunter Valley Gardens. The large, bright and clean rooms feature satellite TV, Wi-Fi (paid), minibars, fridges, tea and coffeemaking facilities and balconies. The pool in the centre of the resort was extremely popular with families.

Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens
Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens
2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
mercurehuntervalley.com.au
Get Directions

We were given complimentary tickets to see the light show at the Hunter Valley Gardens. We loved the display and all opinions are my own. We also received a media rate, which is a slightly reduced rate, when staying at the Mercure Resort. I was under no obligation to write about either the light display or hotel. 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Hotel Review: Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

For a relaxing weekend away in the Hunter Valley, you really can’t go past the Sebel Kirkton Park. I recently stayed at the hotel during a girls’ weekend away and could not have been happier with our stay.

The Sebel Kirkton Park is set on 28 hectares of gardens, right in the centre of Pokolbin. It’s only 8km from the Hunter Valley Gardens, to give you some perspective.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

The rooms at the Sebel Kirkton Park are spread around a central courtyard, each with a balcony overlooking either the beautifully manicured courtyard or the spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. My book club ladies and I enjoyed drinking coffee together in the morning, sitting on the balcony and admiring the gorgeous outlook.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

Guests are free to roam the extensive land the hotel is set on – including a few gorgeous little gardens like this sculpture one I discovered. If you stroll the grounds during sunset or sunrise you might find some native animals out for the evening – kangaroos are very common in this area.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

The Sebel Kirkton Park rooms all include the basic facilities you would need such as TVs, desks, minibars, tea and coffeemaking facilities, and sofabeds. Upgraded rooms add antique furniture or private terraces with garden views.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

We had a complimentary bottle of wine and local chocolates waiting for us in our rooms – I absolutely love small touches like this. It’s the tiny details that make a difference.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

We made excellent use of the stunning pool and spa – we had it all to ourselves as we visited in the early evening and enjoyed a few glasses of local wine while relaxing in the tub.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

Parking on the property is free. There is an on-site restaurant that serves Australian cuisine with seasonal menus, a casual bar and an al fresco cafe with casual food. If breakfast is not included in your room package, the full hot buffet is $30, continental buffet is $20 and tea and toast is $10.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

Other amenities: a Jacuzzi, an exercise room, a lit outdoor tennis court and a basketball court.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley via christineknight.me

We highly enjoyed our stay at the beautiful Sebel Kirkton Park.

The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley
336 Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
(02) 4998 7680
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Peppers Convent High Tea, Hunter Valley: The Perfect Girls’ Weekend Away

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

The Hunter Valley is known for its decadent food experience and sumptuous wines – but perhaps not as renowned for its delicate high teas. It was a surprise to me to learn about the delightful high tea offered by the Peppers Convent in Pokolbin.

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

Peppers Convent is a gorgeous Victorian-style manor house surrounded by vineyards. Devonshire Tea and High Tea are served Wednesday to Sunday:

Traditional High Tea: $42 per person
London High Tea: $56 per person (includes a glass of Peacock Hill Sparkling)
Paris High Tea: $64 per person (includes a glass of Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve)

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

I enjoyed the high tea with my book club. I’m not sure if a book was discussed, but the delicious food and wine certainly was. I really enjoyed that this tea offered a good variety of sandwiches and the “sweets” weren’t overly sweet. The price was also very reasonable.

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me
Tea Sandwiches
Cucumber and Watercress
Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Salmon Roe
Curried Egg Salad and Spinach

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me
(As sole vegetarian I was also given an extra plate of vegan sandwiches at no extra charge.)

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me
Sweets
Petite Meringue
Chocolate Mousse
Coconut Sago and Macerated Fresh Berries
Almond Cake

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me
Scones
Lemonade Scone
Lightly Sweetened and Clotted Cream
House Made Jam

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

The ambiance at Peppers invokes the feeling of a bygone time filled with elegance and luxury. There is no need to rush, to eat quickly, to attend to other matters. There is just the beautiful light pouring through glass windowpanes, a stroll through the manicured gardens and a delightful afternoon filled with cake and conversation.

High tea at Peppers was the perfect girls’ outing. It’s a fantastic stand-alone activity, or you could do what we did, and have a weekend away with the high tea as the kick off point. After our delicious high tea we visited a few wineries, our tummies fortified with delicious cake and sandwiches. Me with a few of my book club gal pals below:

Peppers Convent Hunter Valley High Tea via christineknight.me

Peppers Convent
88 Halls Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Get Directions
Credit Card details are required to secure a booking. Cancellations within 24 hours of the reservation or in the event of a no-show, a $20 per person fee will apply.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Happy Birthday To Me! A kid-free weekend in the Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co This year, there was only one thing I wanted for my birthday – a break. Mum and Dad very kindly agreed to watch Cheese for the weekend so Alec and I could have a few nights to relax. Our first kid-free weekend in three years!

Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co

We drove up to the Hunter Valley for the getaway. I booked us a room at the Spicers Vineyard Estate – a beautiful little retreat in Pokolbin. Our room was large, with a fireplace and spa. Our package included two breakfasts and a dinner in their restaurant, Botanica, and complimentary minibar.

Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co

The property is set in 25 acres of vineyard and bush, and we took a leisurely stroll around the boundary each evening at dusk. Which, by the way, is the perfect time to see the wild kangaroo families as they come out.

Hunter Valley Pokolbin Chocolate Company via akissgoodnight.co

During our stay in the Hunter we dropped by the Pokolbin Chocolate And Jam Company, the Smelly Cheese Shop, two of the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company locations and two wineries: Tempus Two and Audrey Wilkinson.

Audrey Wilkinson Winery Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co

I adore moscato, and chose these wineries based on their production of the sweet wine of my choice. The Audrey Wilkinson cellar door is a bit off the main track, but worth the extra drive. St up high on a hill, the view out over the wine country is spectacular.

Hunter Valley Muse Restaurant via akissgoodnight.co
Muse Restaurant

Since we were child-free, we indulged in a LOT of food, including two dinners out: Muse Restaurant on my birthday, and Restaurant Botanica the following night. Muse was the perfect restaurant for a fancy, special night out. It was like a fine dining establishment in the city. Delicious creative dishes (I had a kale risotto with winter vegetables), with a friendly, relaxed vibe.

Restaurant Botanica was more relaxed, and perfect for a Sunday night dinner. The food was simpler and perfectly prepared. After the previous day of rich, complicated food, the elegant and slightly more traditional fare at Botanica was exactly what our stomaches craved. Dessert was donuts and cinnamon ice cream. Absolutely a treat.

hunter-valley-15

The last mention on our food extravaganza is Sabor In The Hunter, a dessert bar that popped up while we were away. For lunch (!) one day, Alec and I indulged in the Medley Tasting Plate, which included Opera slice, Mini Lemon Curd meringue in a sweet pastry, Strawberry mousse & mixed berry compote topped with Strawberry, Mini Gianduja layers and a caramelised nut triangle tart. Indulgence complete.

Sabor In The Hunter via akissgoodnight.co

The really great thing about the weekend was being able to spend time with Alec and just take a breath. We talked more than we’ve talked in years, and had energy to focus on each other for the first time in what felt like forever.

Spicers Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co
In-room breakfast at Spicers

The three days/two nights was the longest I’ve spent away from Cheese so far. We called in regularly and spoke with her and my mum – she was absolutely happy and chirpy the whole time, running my parents off their feet while charming them simultaneously. When we arrived back home I felt like I had more energy to spend on her than I usually would, the break away really refreshing me.

So it was pretty much a perfect birthday.

Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Muse Restaurant via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Spicers Retreats via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley via akissgoodnight.co Hunter Valley Birthday via akissgoodnight.co

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.