Sparkling Christmas trees galore, rides galore and activities galore, the kids are going to love the Sydney Santa Spectacular at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. There's plenty to wear them out in this wonderland that I was lucky enough to be invited to.
As you enter, the carnival rides and sideshow games are upon you. There's something for all ages with the classic chair ride that swings you high in the air, the sea circus with three levels of special effects and animatronics, train and plane rides for the littlies, dodgem cars to bump into, bouncy castles, slides and Australia's only double decker carousel.
With one area flowing into another, you'll next be upon the food stalls where you can choose from a range of hot food in Santa's Kitchen, try Bratwurst and other wurst at the German food stall or corn at the Corn Shack. For sweet delights, there's pancakes, donuts, and a cotton candy stall that sells delicious thick shakes with lollies on top and fairy floss wrapped around ice cream. For those adults that want something stronger than a shake, the Fig Tree Deck bar serves a variety of alcohol.
Two indoor pavillions provide further entertainment and activities. My favourite, Santa's Winter Wonderland in the Exhibition Hall, is a magical North Pole experience where you take an enchanted forest walk with snow falling at certain points. Twinkling lights abound as do lighted trees, Santas, reindeer, snowmen and elves in fantastic displays and villages, penguins and polar bears, gingerbread people, soldiers and drummer boys, a makeshift castle with thrones, and some fascinating Marionette Theatre windows with an Australiana theme. It is all simply amazing and that's just the walk.
At the back of the hall is Australia's largest mobile ice skating rink and a fun toboggan snow slide. An entertainment stage can be found nearby and the real deal Santa is ready and available for family photos with print packages starting from $35. Down the other end is an area for sitting with a couple of food outlets and some inflatables.
In the other pavillion, the J.R. Fleming Stand, you'll find a few more rides and activities. There's cookie decorating in the Gingerbread Village and craft in the Little Elves Workhop. The Children's Hospital Charity Christmas tree stands tall here as well with presents welcome.
A variety of themed characters are roaming around, including elves and snowman, happy to have a photo taken and don't forget to enter the competition at the Classic Escapes stall to win a family trip to Disneyland that includes a 2 day pass along with return flights from Sydney to LA and 5 nights' accommodation.
Tickets for this extravaganza can be booked online. A 3hr session is $41 per person, including parking and all rides. Children under 2 years are free. If not venturing by car, the train to Rosehill station is perfect because as you exit you only walk a few steps and you're at the entry gates. Buses also stop nearby or perhaps catch a ride with Santa and his reindeer.
What I love about this event is the huge amount of things to see and do and it's all close together. You're not walking long distances to get from one area to another and that's a good thing in the heat.