So we all love the Christmas right? Especially the image of Christmas with it's white snow, ice skating and presents! Well Christmas for us Aussies usually means a 33+ degree days, lots of sun screen and sand men/castles at the beach haha.
Personally, I LOVE Christmas. It’s my favourite time of the year and I want to experience a ’white christmas’ at least once in my lifetime. So when I found out about the Hunter Valley Gardens’ Snow Time in the Garden event, I knew we were going to be heading on a little road trip.
Hunter Valley has always been one of my favourite road trip destinations for all the wine tasting and yummy cheese we find there! But this was actually our first road trip as a family of five travelling anywhere for more than an hour in the car. Hunter Valley is only 2.5 hours away for us, what could go wrong right?
Well, we were suppose to leave the house by 8am to get there before 10.30am. We were out the door at 8.30 - OK not bad, only 30 minutes late. We hurried into the car and were on the way when about 10 minutes into driving Andy and I smelt something funky and gave each other the look. The smell wen’t away quite quickly so we actually thought Mabel just farted, so we “she’ll be right” brushed it off since she also kept sleeping peacefully.
Driving, driving, we decided to make a pit stop at the first rest area on the highway for a toilet break. Andy’s like “OK, let’s change Mabel’s diaper since it’s about time anyway” and whaddaya know? Mabel has sh*t her nappies and it’s squished out into her clothes; YEP ”she’ll be right” ended up being a rookie mistake. So total #parentfail -1, Andy & Jenny - 0 to start the trip haha. Luckily our little monkey was dressed up like an eskimo and only 2 of the 3,429 layers she was wearing were soiled; although, removing them without getting the sh*t on Mabel’s face was probably at the same difficulty level of a brain surgery.
Right, so she’s now clean and back to sleep and the rest of the trip was actually pretty good! The two older girls were great the whole car ride; watching some DVDs, singing & playing guessing games with us and Maddi asking “Where are we going?” only about a thousand times or so. We arrived at 11.30, so only an hour later than originally planned.
We got there and the girls were just so excited. Once you enter the Garden you need to walk a little bit before you actually get to the actual Snow Time setup. It's quite easy to know when you've arrived though; as soon as you get there you see a massive ferris wheel! We decided to check out the rest of the attractions and save the ferris wheel for later.
First up was face painting and like usual, there was a queue. But the place was well catered with seats lined up to the painter (brownie points!!) so the wait actually went by pretty quickly. Maddi wanted a rainbow and typical Mikayla picked something non-girly like Spiderman.
The face painting table was actually in between the merry-go-round & infants (under 6 year olds) jumping castle area. So while Andy was in line queuing up for the face painting, I figured I could take the girls on the merry-go-round. I was wearing Mabel in a carrier so took Maddi & Mikayla one at a time while the other one sulked in face painting line with Andy.
Yummm, it was now time for some lunch. There was a wide variety of food stalls and choices to pick from although some food huts only accepted cash, so make sure you remember bring some! But if you end up forgetting, never fear; there's an ATM right next to the toilet facility. Again the lunch area was very well thought out with plenty of table and chairs available, but with their beautiful lush grass on display; I'd recommend bringing a rug to have your own little picnic setting!
Next play event was the snow time! They had these two giant pits filled with snow (Sandpits? Nope, snowpits!), buckets, shovels and snowman eyes/noses everywhere! Seriously I think I enjoyed this area more than the kids hahaha! It was so fun that I'm now sold and plan on taking them there every year. We can't wait to take the girls to the actual snows (Thredbo/Perisher) but they're still too young; so now we don't feel bad and say "I wish I took them to the snows" anymore!
So a bit of a not-so-pro-tip:
Please come prepared and dress yourself and your kids in actual snow/wet clothes. I admit I didn’t and dressed them up all pretty thinking about all the pretty photos to be taken. Somehow completely forgot the that the whole damn concept of the event was “snow” haha! #parentfail -2, Andy & Jenny - 0
Next up were the taboggans (Andy’s highlight of the day)! If your kids are old enough (I'd say 5 and up) they can go down the ice slide on their own little taboggan or you can take them with you on the larger one. So you actually have to slide down backwards and while I wish I could say I wanted to join in on the fun, I was actually too chicken and was all too happy to let Andy take the girls down this one.
Did you happen to see my Instagram story by any chance? Yep that’s right, what would a snow event be without an ice skating rink?! So a few things to mention about the ice skating to help you plan in advance:
You need to book your free session by collecting admission tickets at the front stall
The seals are available for hire for $5 per session
Sessions are every half hour BUT the seals are only avaialble on some sessions
You can’t leave the festival without going on the Ferris wheel and seeing everything from up above! We easily fit, as a family of 5, in the carriage and I imagine up to 4 adults will also fit quite comfortably. It was the first time we could experience something like this as a family, so to me; this was a very special moment.
If your kids (or you!) aren’t too tired by this point then I’d definitely recommend a walk through the Storybook Garden or some time to explore the rest of the beautiful Hunter Valley Garden.
So 4pm came around and it was about time to head home. The girls passed out in the car faster than Andy eats Kirspy Kreme donuts and then we got to enjoy the very very long drive home...
Snow Time in the Garden just started this weekend on the 30th June and it goes on for 3 weeks over the NSW school holidays! Visit https://www.huntervalleygardens.com.au/event/snow-time-garden/ for more details and ticket pricing!