A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Get your groove on in the snow and indulge your sweet tooth
The school holidays will be upon us again in no time and if you want to get out of the city and feel the fresh country air as well as enjoying some fun activities with the kids then the Hunter Valley Gardens will give you just that.
A leisurely two hour drive from Sydney and you'll feel a world away from the big smoke at Pokolbin in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine region. There are two great events on at the magnificent Gardens on Broke Road - Snow Time and the Chocolate Festival.
Snow Time is on from 28 June - 13 July and you can chill out and enjoy ice skating on a real rink as well as a 25 metre ice toboggan. Play in the man-made snow, enjoy fun games for the whole family, Husky dog races, and see an ice sculptor carve and create something spectacular on the weekends. This is a day and night event and a full program will be available closer to the date on the gardens website.
I haven't been to Snow Time before but it sounds great. I have been to the Chocolate Festival a few years back and can ensure you will have a delicious time sampling hand-made delights which can be purchased as well as enjoying cooking demonstrations (when I was there Fast Ed from Better Home and Gardens was keeping the crowd enthralled), food stalls, activities, competitions and entertainment. I also learnt about the humble coffee bean through an information session. This celebration of chocolate is on 5-6 July in the midst of Snow Time.
The dessert competition sees some spectacular entries
What a better way to spend winter than with chocolate and snow? And if the above is not enough, there's also the 10 magnificent feature gardens to explore on the 60 acre site. Themed gardens include the Storybook Gardens, full of your favourite childhood characters, the Indian Mosaic Garden, Chinese Moongate Garden, and the Italian Grotto. Relax by the lake, see the topiary Brokeback Brumbies, fountains and numerous statues.
Peering through a hole in the hedge into the Chinese Moongate Garden
There is something for everyone here at the Hunter Valley Gardens and Pokolbin. Maybe extend your stay to a few days and take in some of the wineries, art and craft galleries, gourmet food, including cheeses and gelato, and explore this beautiful region. There's also the Hunter Valley Village next to the Gardens with the little British Lolly shop, a candle shop and winemaker shop, to name a few. Weekends see entertainment at the rotunda and Harrigan's Irish pub down the road.
At the old Golden Grape Estate before it changed hands