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The Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Light Spectacular is a must-see event at least once in your life.  We have visited several times and I can’t think of anything nicer to do in the lead up to Christmas.  We used to drive around looking for houses with light displays and always enjoyed it but this takes looking at light displays to a whole other level.  Here is the blog post I wrote on our return from our last visit to the gardens.


Like many families we find this time of year frantic with all the kid’s activities winding up, lots of extra school concerts and functions.

Last year we ditched all the commitments of the busiest time of the year and headed up to the Hunter Valley for a night to embrace the Christmas spirit.  I had read for years about the Hunter Valley Garden’s Light Spectacular.   They promised over a million lights.  I had high expectations, which is always dangerous, but my expectations were exceeded.  We had the most wonderful evening.  It was balmy and there was plenty of Christmas spirit in the air.  The children’s faces illuminated nearly as brightly as the lights as they turned each corner and were dazzled by yet another display, brighter and prettier than the last.

Wheelchair access around Hunter Valley Gardens Light Spectacular is excellent.

We couldn’t wait to return this year.  Reading online I saw that there were new displays and 1.5 million lights. Spending time enjoying the lead up to Christmas seemed a good reason to once again leave the commitments behind.

Cinderella is one of our favourite displays at Hunter Valley Gardens Light Spectacular.

The lights were truly spectacular and the new displays were some of our favourites. Cinderella, her castle and horse and carriage was AJ’s favourite display.  BJ loves all things Santa and made sure he tracked down the man himself for a photo. 6000 people had visited the previous night and they were expecting even larger crowds for Saturday night.  The whole evening was so well organised and people were in such a good mood that the crowd was not a problem.

Cinderella display at Hunter Valley Gardens Light Spectacular.

We arrived at opening time and the queue stretched out for quite a way.  I definitely recommend pre-purchasing your tickets.  This is a little risky because in bad weather (ie thunderstorms) they do have to cancel the evening due to safety concerns but the pre-purchased ticket line was considerably shorter.

The gates open at 6.30pm and on entry you can buy food to enjoy while watching the pre-light entertainment.  This year the Little Scallywagz were keeping the younger kids bopping.

The barricades came down at 7.30pm and we were at the front of the queue wanting to do one lap while it was still light so we could see the actual gardens.  The rose garden is one of my favourite areas and the roses are absolutely bursting with life.  The air in that area is heavy with their fragrance.

BJ with Santa at the Hunter Valley Gardens Light Spectacular.

The first lap we did of the gardens was easy to negotiate with the main crowd waiting until it was dark.

Once dark the lights absolutely dazzled us.  It is hard to know where to look when walking along the paths because both sides were festooned in colour.   The crowd was large and slow going by the second lap but we weren’t wanting to race through so happily slowed our pace to match that of the crowd.  The lights are really something you want to savour.

Loved this train at The Hunter Valley Gardens Light Spectacular.

I could rave on and on but it is really something you best experience yourself.

BJ can never get enough visits to Santa.

Accessibility is good throughout the gardens with ramps, accessible rest rooms and good paths.


If you simply can’t take the time to see the lights before Christmas you don’t have to miss out.  The Hunter Valley Gardens Lights Spectacular continues through the school holidays until 26 January with the exception of Christmas Day when it is closed.

Check their website for further details.

We stayed in an accessible cabin at Cottages on Mount View. You can read all about our stay here.

Keep an eye on Hunter Valley Gardens Facebook Page if you are planning a visit.  This is where updates are posted regarding weather conditions that may affect the evening.

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