• Michelle Meehan

Celebrating EASTER in the Hunter


Easter is almost upon us again, and with the celebration falling in the middle of the school holidays this year it’s a great time for getting out and exploring all the region has to offer. There will be plenty to do across Hunter Valley Wine Country throughout the Easter long weekend, with some egg-cellent activities for the kids and a few tasty treats for mums and dads as well.

April is a beautiful time of year to visit the Hunter Valley Gardens, with clear sunny weather anticipated and an array of entertainment on offer for the whole family to enjoy.

Visitors can join in the fun of the region’s largest Easter egg hunt on April 20 and 21, with an extra prize of an annual family pass to the Gardens for whoever finds the precious Golden Egg.

Kids should also be on the lookout for the Easter Bunny who will be hopping by for a special visit, while the Easter Bonnet parade and delicious gingerbread workshop are sure to keep the fun going all weekend.

A few more unusual eggs will also be on show at the Gardens this Easter thanks to the Mega Creatures display, which is running throughout the school holiday period. Spot a Stegosaurus, tiptoe past the Triceratops and try not to tremble at the sight of the giant T-Rex, or check out the new additions to this popular prehistoric event including dinosaur skeletons, archaeological fossil digs and the fabulous Dino Mights stage show.

If that’s not enough thrills and excitement for one visit, why not take a ride on the Gardens’ amazing Venetian carousel, 25m Ferris wheel, super speedy swing chair or giant slide, or bounce off that chocolate-induced sugar rush in the kids’ inflatable zones.

If you’re looking to add a few more eggs to your basket before you leave Hunter Valley Gardens, make sure you stop by Shop 5 in the village and check out the gourmet delights on offer at the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company.

The destination of choice for those looking to indulge in something truly special, the artisan chocolate makers have been lovingly crafting their wares since 1999 using only the highest quality Belgian or Swiss couverture chocolate, together with Australian dried fruits and nuts, and distilled pure fruit oil infusions.

There’s something to cater to every taste bud, with dark, milk and white buttons and blocks a staple of the range. Easter is undoubtedly their busiest time of year, and during this period Hunter Valley Chocolate Company branches out to include a few sensational seasonal lines including the ever popular freckled eggs, and a more novel product, which uses a real rainbow-dyed eggshell that kids can peel off to discover a delicious praline nougat underneath.

Hunter Valley Chocolate Company’s amazing array of handcrafted products are available seven days a week online as well as in-store at their “Twenty-3-Twenty” Chocolate & Fudge Factory on Broke Road and their retail outlets at Hunter Valley Gardens and Peterson’s House.

Parents keen to pick up a treat for themselves that isn’t chocolate related should check out The Garden Cellars, with an Easter Long Weekend sale not to be missed. There will be tastings available and wine dozens on offer from $144, including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Merlot and more, while stocks last.

Once you’ve had your fill of the fun at the Gardens, don’t forget to stop by Kevin Sobels Wines just down the road and check out the handcrafted treasures on offer at the Handmade in the Hunter Markets. To celebrate Easter the markets will run all weekend, from 9am-3pm on Saturday and 9am-2pm on Easter Sunday.

Organiser Karen Rowe promises plenty of zany Easter fun, with bunny ears galore, a sprinkling of chocolate and “whatever else we can dream up to make your visit to the market a festive time”.

Alongside the Easter craziness will be a market full of passionate stallholders who love to chat about what they do and show you their work. Some stalls will also be running hands-on craft classes so you can make something to take home (fees applicable).

If you feel like something a bit more substantial than a chocolate egg or two, why not grab a bite to eat at one of the region’s fine dining restaurants or gourmet cafés.

Blaxland Inn will offer two or three-course menus for lunch and dinner for all reservations throughout the Easter weekend, with a complimentary bread to start followed by your selection of entrée and main or even one of our delicious house-made desserts. A kid’s menu is also available for children aged 12 and under. For those staying locally, Blaxland Inn also offers a courtesy vehicle suitable for up to 11 guests, which is available for pick up and drop off within the local area during their dinner service.

Easter is traditionally a time for seafood, with Restaurant Cuvee at Peterson House the perfect place to tempt the tastebuds. Choose from old school prawn cocktail, parmesan popcorn oysters with barbecue mayonnaise, tom yum squid on a snow pea salad, and pan seared scallops on a cauliflower puree and crispy prosciutto, matched with a glass of 2012 Sparkling Semillon. The specials are available until sold out so don’t delay in making a reservation.

For something a little more casual, why not pack a picnic (and your child’s favourite plush toy) and head out to Hunter Valley Horse Riding and Adventures for their third annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Being held at the spectacular Lovedale property on Saturday, April 20, the day will kick off at 10am with an amazing display of trick riding. Tony’s magic show at 11am will be sure to amaze, while an Easter egg hunt, face painting, jumping castle and games will keep the kids entertained, with pony rides also available all day (entry fees apply).

Heading Image: by Chris Elfes

Second Image: Easter for adults at Peterson House

Third Image: Hunter Valley Horse Riding's Teddy Bear Picnic

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