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  • Liane Morris

Unleash the Snow | It's Snow Time in the Garden!

Winter has come! And for families all across the Hunter, this means just one thing - Snow Time in the Garden! This year's event promises to be the biggest and best yet, with rides and entertainment galore over four weeks from 24 June until 23 July.


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. Every year since 2011 (excluding 2020), Hunter Valley Gardens has created the coolest family event, bringing the snow to our region and all the fun activities associated with this freezing, powdery delight.

The snowmaking machine will pump out finer, more realistic snow in greater amounts than ever before, with snow that's almost as good as the real thing – and heaps of it! This awesome annual event offers families a wonderful way to celebrate the frostiest season of all and enjoy amazing icy activities under sunny winter skies and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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 for all the family. Snow Time entry includes: Ice Skating, Ice Toboggan, Snow Play Zone and Snow Cave.


Pick up your skating session passes, grab your skates and get skating! Made with real ice, the ice skating rink is great fun. The extended Ice Rink with an allocated junior section gives skaters loads of room to glide around like a pro. With sessions lasting for 20 minutes and opening at 10am every day, the rink can hold more than 200 skaters at a time, but 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 to avoid disappointment. Skating aids (Bobby Seals) will be available for hire for $6 each and ONLY for children six years and under. An adult must accompany children under five on the ice.


Experience the super-fast Ice Toboggan – once won't be enough! Grab a tube and glide down the 45-metre ice slide; it's sure to get your adrenaline pumping. A firm family favourite, the Ice Toboggan is super-fast and crazy fun! You have been warned! Children under four must be accompanied by an adult.


Would you like to build a snowman or create a snow angel? The Snow Play Zone is great fun for the whole family – but don't forget your gloves! 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.


Don't miss the giant Snow Cave filled with animatronic Arctic animals such as polar bears and penguins. This magical winter wonderland will absolutely delight the little ones in your life.

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 a range of winter beverages and hearty winter food on sale to help keep you toasty and warm. As if that's not enough, the Hunter Valley Gardens' popular amusement rides will also be open and guaranteed to excite the kids – young and old. In addition to the all-time favourite Superslide (designed especially for thrill-seekers), other rides 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 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 for older kids. Please note: Children between 110cm-120cm must ride with an adult; 120 cm 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 budding photographers. Please note: this ride is for children only. Children below 105cm must ride with an adult (who must stand next to the child)


The newest ride at the Gardens, the twisty, twirly Teacups, will have the kids spinning around in giant colourful teacups and squealing with delight. Join the tea party! Please note: unsuitable for children younger than two years and under 95cm. Children between 95cm-120cm must ride with an adult; 120 cm and above may ride alone.


Grab one of our mats and enjoy the excitement of speeding down this thrilling slide. Standing 12 metres high and a massive 35 metres long, after one ride – you will want more!

Rides operate daily from 10am - 4:30pm and are $6 per ride, or you can purchase a bonus six-ticket pass for $30. Ride tickets can be purchased at the rides booth located in the event area. Height and age restrictions apply. Ticket sales close at 4pm.

All this energetic and icy fun will have everyone in the family craving yummy hot foods and drinks, and Hunter Valley Gardens does not disappoint. The Snow Time Food Marquees will be open, and several food stalls will provide a hearty range of delicious food and beverage options. 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, Eden Grounds, Taste of the Country, éléments bar & dining, The Garden Terrace Café or Gigi & Chix Bonbon. 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 Event Manager Kathryn Peters 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 $285 for a family of four. This enables families to visit year-round and enjoy all our major events, including the Christmas Lights Spectacular," said Kathryn.

"The Mega Creatures event last school holidays was a great success, and we expect 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. Hunter Valley Gardens Aqua Golf and Putt Putt is located just outside the Gardens as well as Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village 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 brings without the expense and travel time.

This School Holidays – when the kids complain 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 it might just be the start of a new family tradition like the Christmas Lights Spectacular is for so many Hunter families.

Event Dates: Saturday, 24 June until Sunday, 23 July

Ticket Information: Adult (16yrs +) $38 | Child (4 -15yrs) $28 Family Passes $94 (2A + 1C); $88 (1A + 2C) or $116 (2A + 2C) Extra Child $25.

Opening Hours: Gardens are open from 9am – 5pm. Snow Time activities run from 9:30am until 4:30pm daily.

Ride Costs: Tickets for individual rides are $6 each or 6 for $30. Ice skating, ice toboggan, snow cave and snow play zone are included in the Snow Time ticket price.

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.