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  • Liane Morris

Snow Time in the Garden Winter Wonderland Arrives in Wine Country!


hvg snowtime

Did you know there is guaranteed snow in the Hunter Valley every year, no matter how warm the weather?

 

The Hunter Valley Gardens' coolest annual event - Snow Time in the Garden, returns this June and July with a whole month of wintery fun, including ice skating, ice tobogganing and a huge snow play zone from 29 June to 28 July.


One of the Hunter Valley Garden’s signature events, Snow Time, has been running since 2011, and for many families, it has become an annual tradition. Taking your young ones on their first experience of snow to the ski fields of New South Wales has become impossibly expensive. Add to this the increasing cost of living crisis and families everywhere are looking for affordable alternatives. At Hunter Valley Gardens, the wintry magic of ice activities, the delight of man-made snow and the family fun for young and old is right here; whether you’re a local or visiting the wine region, it’s a winter event not to be missed.


The Hunter Valley Gardens snowmaking machines are among the best available and will be pumping out fine, realistic snow in huge amounts – you won’t be able to tell the difference! Set within the 14 hectares of stunning gardens and with all the amenities the gardens are so well known for. It’s a day out for every age and all the family.


Hunter Valley Gardens will transform 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, Snow Time entry includes Ice Skating, Ice Toboggan, Snow Play Zone and a Snow Cave.


Pick up your free skating session passes and take a spin on the Snow Time Ice Skating Rink. There’s also a Junior Ice Rink, which is a dedicated junior section that provides the smallest members of the family with a safe environment in which to enjoy their first taste of the ice. Skaters aged six and over have their own section with lots of room to glide around. Made with real ice, the rink can hold more than 200 skaters at a time and opens at 10am each day. To avoid disappointment, book your skating session (which lasts for 20 minutes) early at the Ice-Skating Ticket Booth. Bookings can only be made on the day at the ticket booth. Bobby Seals (skating aids) are also available for hire for children six years and under. An adult must accompany all children under the age of five years on the ice.


Perhaps the super-fast and crazy fun Giant Ice Toboggan is more your style. Grab a tube and glide down the 45-metre ice slide; it’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping, but be warned – once won’t be enough! This is a firm family favourite that will have everyone gasping with excitement and laughter all at once. Children under four must be accompanied by an adult.

snowtime

The Mega Snow Play Zone is filled with freshly pumped snow every day to ensure you get the most authentic snow experience possible. Build a snowman (or snow person!), create a snow angel, and maybe throw a sneaky snowball – just don’t forget your gloves or your fingers may get a little chilly. Perfect memory-making moments for all the family. This year, there’s a special Chill Zone in the Igloo Marquee where everyone can enjoy a range of very cool winter-themed craft activities, ideal for kids who love to get creative.


It's recommended that visitors wear weatherproof and waterproof clothing, including gloves, jackets, pants, and shoes, especially for smaller children who will be sitting in the Snow Play Zone. It's also advisable to bring along an extra set of clothing and a towel.


To increase the enjoyment of your day in the snow, there’s a range of roaming entertainment on offer, including The Pretty Amazing Jono on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June, Sunday 7 July, Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 July, and Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 July.

Little Scallywagz will be roaming on Saturday 6 July, Monday 15 July to Wednesday 17 July, Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July and Bravissimo from Monday 8 July to Wednesday 10 July. All roaming entertainment takes place between 10am and 1pm. Little Scallywagz is also running a special craft daily workshop from Saturday 6 July, to Sunday 21 July, from 10am to 2pm.


As if this incredible amount of fun is not enough, the popular Hunter Valley Gardens amusement rides will also be open. It’s difficult to choose between the traditional Venetian Carousel or the 25m Ferris wheel with spectacular views across the gardens. Thrill seekers will enjoy the super speedy Swing Chair, the fast-paced Superslide and even the twisty Teacups. The ride ticket pricing is $6 per ticket, or grab a bonus pack of 6 for $30 – chances are you’ll need it.


Once you’ve worked up your appetite in this wintry wonderland, there’s plenty of hearty winter food and beverages available to keep you warm and toasty. A variety of food vendors ensure there’s something for every taste and include loaded fries, burgers, and kids meals – cheeseburgers, nuggets and chips, fish and chips, ice creams, woodfire pizza, Greek

souvlaki plates, meat skewers, nachos, burrito bowls, chicken wings, pluto pups, crepes, gelato, hot cinnamon doughnuts, churros, fairy floss, slushies, loaded spuds, nourish bowls, grab & go salads, sausage sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, hot dogs, corn on the cob, dumplings, ham and cheese croissants, waffle on a stick with ice cream, assorted soft drinks, juice and water and a coffee van with assorted pastries.

kids on slide

There’s always the option to visit one of the well-established dining establishments in the nearby village, such as Ronnie's Pokolbin, Taste of the Country, éléments or The Garden Terrace Café. If pub fare is more your style, pop over to Harrigan's Bistro. Same-day re-entry to Snow Time is allowed, so keep your tickets to show on re-entry. Hunter Valley Gardens is approximately two hours from Sydney and less than an hour from Newcastle, so even though the Hunter Valley is an

easy day trip, there are also plenty of accommodation options available if you want to extend your stay to fully appreciate everything that the Hunter Valley Gardens and the surrounding wine region has to offer. There are special Snow Time packages with the Mercure Hunter Valley Gardens and Harrigan’s Hunter Valley, both within walking distance of the Snow Time fun.


The Mercure package includes one night's accommodation in a Studio Room, breakfast, family entry tickets (two adults and two children) into Hunter Valley Gardens Snow Time at the Garden, and six ride tickets per person. It costs $369 per room per night midweek or $469 per room per night on Friday or Saturday. Pricing is for two adults and two children.


Harrigan’s accommodation packages include one-night accommodation at Harrigan’s Hunter Valley, breakfast, family entry tickets (two adults & one child) into Hunter Valley Gardens Snow Time at the Garden, six ride tokens per person and costs $309 per room per The Mercure package includes one night's accommodation in a Studio Room, breakfast, family entry tickets (two adults and two children) into Hunter Valley Gardens Snow Time at the Garden, and six ride tickets per person. It costs $369 per room per night midweek or $469 per room per night on Friday or Saturday. Pricing is for two adults and two children.

bubbles

Harrigan’s accommodation packages include one-night accommodation at Harrigan’s Hunter Valley, breakfast, family entry

tickets (two adults & one child) into Hunter Valley Gardens Snow Time at the Garden, six ride tokens per person and costs $309 per room per night midweek and $409 per room per night Friday or Saturday for two adults and one child. There is a two-night minimum stay for Saturdays, and the offer is only available on Snow Time dates. Charges for children over 12 years are an extra $20, and for additional children aged three to 12, $60 per person or for additional children over 12, $80 per person.


Snow Time activities operate between 9.30am and 4.30pm, and the last entry is at 3pm. Rides operate from 10am to 4:30pm, and the last ride is at 4:15pm.

kids playing in fake snow

In addition to Snow Time, don’t forget there are also 14 hectares of gardens with ten individually themed gardens to explore, and adjacent to the Gardens is Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village full of 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.

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