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Level up for your Christmas lights viewing
So your kids love Christmas lights, you'd like to take them somewhere a bit more special to see them light up with wonder and excitement at all the pretty lights, but you're a bit over jostling the Sydney crowds to go up and down the most popular Christmas lights streets, which while fun, often leaves you a bit underwhelmed?
If you're willing to spend a bit more time and money to do something Christmas lights-related that will blow their socks off, look no further than the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular.
Opening times? On from now until 26 January 2016 at the Hunter Valley Gardens at 2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin, it has some lovely fairytale themed Christmas lights that your kids will delight in, in a beautiful landscaped garden setting. The gardens are closed on Christmas Day.
Photo courtesy of the Hunter Valley Gardens Facebook page
Santa is available for photos between 6.30pm and 10pm up until 24 December for an additional cost (photos by Jarrod and Carrie Photography). Or if he's between photos, children are also able to just sit on his knee to tell them their Christmas wishes.
There is also a jumping castle between 7.30pm and 10.00pm. As this event is outdoor, please note that on nights when the weather is too wet, the Christmas Lights Spectacular will be closed, so it's always a good idea to check the Hunter Valley Gardens Facebook page before going if the weather looks dodgy to make sure you don't get disappointed on arrival.
Reindeer display, photo courtesy of the Hunter Valley Gardens Facebook page
Gates open from 6.30pm, when food stalls and entertainment begin, with the lights display going from 7.30pm - 10.30pm. No picnics are allowed in the gardens, however food stalls will sell a range of items including ice-cream, beer and wine, fairy floss, pasta, pizza and German sausages in a roll.
Entertainment includes roving street performers and Christmas carollers, as well as the Little Scallywagz children's music group.
Prices? Family of 2 adults and 2 children is $85. Family of 2 adults and 1 child is $65. Extra children are $20 each.
Children 3 and under are free.
Note that these prices are only for entry to see the Christmas Lights Spectacular at night. Combined ticket entry to visit the garden during the day (between 9am - 4pm) as well as the Christmas Lights Spectacular are also available, adults $48, children $32.
Print-your-own tickets are available from their website which will enable you to enter through your own pre-paid entry lane, but you can also purchase tickets on the day from the Hunter Valley Gardens entry.
More information is available from their website. This also includes some suggestions for places you can stay overnight, which if you're travelling from Sydney, you'll probably want to do.
If you really want to make it a night to remember, come on New Year's Eve, when the event will finish with fireworks at 9pm.