Last Visited December 2013
Most people travelling to the Hunter Valley are most likely going to visit wineries and to enjoy the gourmet treats the Hunter has to offer. We found another reason to go, The Hunter Valley Garden’s Christmas Light Spectacular. While we were there we did manage to sample some other Hunter delights. An easy drive from Sydney it is definitely worth the trip.
A million lights adorn Australia’s largest display gardens by night and definitely put us in the holiday spirit. We found the gardens fully accessible and the evening well organized with everyone moving in one direction on the paths. There were lots of older people being pushed in wheelchairs and no one seemed to be finding it an effort.
The gates open at 6.30pm and this appeared popular for families either buying their dinner at the gardens or those who had brought a picnic. Those in the know about parking also arrived early! We arrived just before 6pm and had missed out on the disabled parking spaces but didn’t park too far away.
Santa greeted guests as they arrived and a kids group entertained with Christmas carols and interactive dancing with the kids in the audience. This kept the younger kids busy and was a welcome distraction from the hour wait until the lights began.
At 7.30pm the lights began and the crowd (on the Saturday night we visited they expected 5000 or more guests) started a procession throughout the gardens. It was orderly, people were in great spirits and considerate of our son in the wheelchair. It was just fantastic and the enthusiasm from the adults was just as great as it was from the kids. My husband and our kids didn’t know what to expect which meant it was a surprise and far more impressive because of their lack of expectations. I’d love to rave about them more but it’s best you see them for yourself one year.
Stand alone disabled toilet facilities are located to the left as you come through the entrance and there is another large stand alone facility in the Storybook Garden.
The Gardens accept the Companion Card.
Check the garden’s website for more information
Arrive early for parking.
Consider a combination ticket which allows entry during the day and then again in the evening. The gardens by day are beautiful and you can truly enjoy them without the crowds. The evening is really about the lights not the garden.
The three weeks leading up to Christmas and Saturday nights are apparently the busiest. If you don’t like crowds visit after Christmas or on a week night.
THE HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS (BY DAY)