Snow Time in the Garden!
Winter has come! And for families all across the Hunter, this means just one thing - it’s Snow Time in the Garden.
Every year since 2011 (excluding 2020), Hunter Valley Gardens has created the coolest family event, bringing the snow to our region and the fun activities associated with this freezing, powdery delight. There’s no need to travel all the way to the NSW snowfields when Snow Time in the Garden is available on our doorstep, and nothing could be more beautiful than playing in the snow on one of our Wintery sunny days with the children in your life.
Due to COVID restrictions, from 1 July Hunter Valley Gardens will be open from 9am to 5pm. Last entry at 3:30pm. Snow Time activities will be operating from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The amusement rides will be operating from 10am to 4pm. Last ride at 3:45pm.
This year’s event is all the more exciting because the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Hitting right smack in the middle of prime planning time, COVID directly impacted the event, with all the preparation work coming to a grinding halt. Even when the lockdown was over, Government restrictions around crowd numbers meant that the event was no longer viable, and six months of planning went to waste. If the 2020 event had not been cancelled, this year would have marked the 10th anniversary of Snow Time at the Garden. This milestone will now be celebrated next year instead.
Another reason to be excited about this year’s event is the brand-new snowmaking machine that has just been erected, ready to pump out finer, more realistic snow in greater amounts than ever before. In the past, the snow was made by shaving ice for the Snow Play Zone, but now the snow will be as good as the real thing, and there’ll be heaps of it.
The event runs from Saturday 19 June until Sunday 18 July and is a wonderful way to use your Dine and Discover vouchers which are valid until 31st July 2021. They can’t be redeemed for online purchases – only tickets purchased at the Garden entry gates on the day of use. Discover vouchers can also be used to purchase ride tokens or unlimited wristbands. You can also use your Dine vouchers at the Garden Terrace but not at the food marquees.
Hunter Valley Gardens will be transformed into a magical ice adventure playground full of fun and frosty adventures for children of all ages. A perfect destination to celebrate Christmas in July with a snowy theme and frosty fun for all the family. Snow Time entry includes:
The famous Ice-Skating Rink has been extended this year so that skaters have lots of room to glide like a professional, with sessions lasting for 20 minutes and opening at 10am every day. The rink can hold more than 200 skaters at a time. Skating sessions can only be reserved on the day at the ticket booth outside the Ice-Skating marquee. If you don’t want to miss out, get there early and book in – get your skates on! Skating aids (Bobby Seals) will be available for hire for $5 each and ONLY for children six years and under. An adult must accompany children under five on the ice.
A firm family favourite, the Ice Toboggan is super-fast, crazy fun and 45 metres long. Grab a tube and speed down the slide to get your adrenaline pumping. It’s guaranteed that one trip down the slide will not be enough! Children under four must be accompanied by an adult.
SNOW PLAY ZONE
Perfect for everyone in the family, this specially designed space has been created to provide a realistic snow experience that is ideal for people who have never seen snow before. Build a snowman, make a snow angel, or just play in the snow for some icy fun.
Don’t miss the giant Snow Cave filled with animatronic Arctic animals such as polar bears and penguins. The little ones in your life will be absolutely delighted by this magical Winter wonderland. It’s recommended to wear weatherproof/waterproof clothing, including gloves, jackets, pants and shoes, especially for smaller children who will be sitting in the Snow Play Zone. It’s advisable to bring along an extra set of clothing and a towel.
In addition to Snow Time activities, there will be roaming entertainment, and the Hunter Valley Gardens popular amusement rides will also be open and guaranteed to excite the kids – young and old. These include:
This beautiful 25 metre Ferris Wheel provides spectacular views of the surrounding Gardens, wineries, mountains and countryside, something the whole family can enjoy on a sunny Winter’s day. Children below 120cm must ride with an adult.
The speedy Swing Chair will spin you around 11 metres off the ground. Feel the wind in your hair and revel in the carnival atmosphere. The Swing Chair will get your heart racing and is a favourite with the older kids. Please note: Children between 110cm–120cm must ride with an adult; 120cm and above may ride alone.
This beautiful traditional Venetian Carousel was built in Italy to the design of the Hunter Valley Gardens staff. It’s a firm family favourite harking back to a bygone era and the perfect backdrop for photographs to create memories with. Please note: this ride is for children only. Children below 105cm must ride with an adult (adult must stand next to the child).
The newest ride at the Gardens, the twisty, twirly Tea Cup, will have the kids spinning around in giant colourful tea cups and squealing with delight. Join the tea party! Please note: not suitable for children younger than two years and under 95cm. Children between 95cm-120cm must ride with an adult; 120cm and above may ride alone.
Heights are checked at each individual ride, and access will be approved by the operator. Individual ride tokens are available for $6 each, or all-day wristbands can be purchased for $20 in the event area at the Gardens.
All of this energetic and icy fun will have everyone in the family craving yummy hot foods, and drinks and Hunter Valley Gardens does not disappoint in this regard. The Garden Terrace Café will be open, as well as several food stalls providing a hearty range of delicious food and beverage options to choose from. Tasty treats such as loaded fries, hotdogs, sausage rolls, pies, toasties, wood fire pizza, stuffed spuds, Greek food, Mexican food, desserts and doughnuts are all on offer or visit one of the well-established dining establishments in the nearby village such as the Cellar Restaurant, Oscars, Taste of the Country, éléments bar & dining or Gigi & Chix Bonbon. If pub fare is more your style, pop on over to Harrigans Bistro. Same day re-entry to Snow Time is allowed, so keep your tickets to show on re-entry.
Hunter Valley Gardens Event Manager Charise Foulstone is expecting unprecedented numbers this year.
“A lot of families return to this event every year. One of our most popular options is the annual family passes that are available for $259 for a family of four. This enables families to visit year-round and enjoy all our major events, including the Christmas Lights Spectacular,” said Charise.
“The Mega Creatures event that we’ve just finished enjoyed record numbers, so we’re expecting Snow Time to be bigger than ever this year.”
In addition to Snow Time, amusement rides and delicious food options, there are also 14 hectares of gardens with ten individually themed gardens to explore as well as bespoke shops offering everything from collectables, jewellery, glassware, clothing, deli and gourmet foods to crystals and Christmas decorations. There really is something for every member of the family or group. It’s a fun day out with all the benefits and enjoyable moments that a trip to the snowfields would bring without the expense and travel time. The next time the kids are complaining they’re bored, take them to Snow Time in the Garden – it’s a fun-filled frosty adventure they won’t be able to resist and could just be the start of a new family tradition just like the Christmas Lights Spectacular is for so many Hunter families.
Event Dates: Saturday 19th June – Sunday 18th July 2021
Ticket Information: Adult (16yrs +) – $34, Child (4–15yrs) – $25, Family Passes from $85 (2 adults + 1 child)
Opening Hours: Garden entry open from 9am–5pm. Snow Time activities run from 9:30am–6pm.
Ride Costs: Tokens for individual rides are $6 each, unlimited ride* wristbands are $20 per person. Ice skating, ice toboggan, snow cave and snow play zone are included in the Snow Time ticket price.
Getting There: By Road: An easy 2-hour drive North of Sydney via the M1, turning off at the Cessnock/Vineyards Exit, following the signs through to Cessnock and then on to Pokolbin. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Newcastle.
By Air: Newcastle Airport is a 50-minute drive from the Gardens.
Adverse Weather: Snow Time is an outdoor activity and is subject to changing weather conditions. Hunter Valley Gardens will make every attempt to ensure the activities can remain open, which means the activities will continue in the case of rain and will only be cancelled if the weather conditions are considered dangerous by event management.