Blindingly dazzling is the best way to describe the more than 2 million lights of the Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens. This light and music extravaganza is truly stunning and is a surefire way to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit.
This year features a different layout and an earlier opening time for the displays. The Gardens open at 6:30pm with immediate access to the Christmas displays.
One of the guides at the Garden suggested that we walk through the Christmas lights area twice, once when it opens and then again when it’s dark. This was great advice as it was a completely different experience viewing the lights in twilight as opposed to after dark. ( The route is arranged so that everyone travels in the same direction which helps to alleviate crowds travelling different directions).
In the middle of the route is the Food and Fun Zone area. The Fun Zone ($7.50 per person) features unlimited play on inflatables, jumping castles, obstacle course and and the 35 metre super slide (for kids over 120cm tall).
There’s food stalls selling snacks and drinks as well as photos with Santa available for purchase in Santa’s Cave. To entertain kids, the Little Scallywagz featuring the characters J-J and Cha-Cha put on an entertaining show at 7:30pm and 8:30pm daily.
The light displays showcases many different themes including the Nativity scene, Australian animals, Candyland and Fairy Garden and lots of Christmas trees.
Each year, Christmas Lights Spectacular adds more displays. New exhibits this year include Christmas Around The World with iconic landmarks lisuch as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Harbour, Coliseum and the Statue of Liberty.
There’s also Santa’s Worskshop which includes figures of Santa, Mrs Claus, the elves and reindeer.
While all of the displays were amazing, there are a few which are our family favourites.
The first is the 12 Days of Christmas music and light display in the Border Garden . Spend some time here watching the images light up while singing along with everyone else to this much loved Christmas carol.
Another is Cinderella’s Castle which will be a favourite for anyone who loves this beautiful princess.
The Mega Trees are awesome with synchronised lights and sounds. The dance music just makes you move.
I’m always a big fan of the Sunken Garden with its Sydney Skyline and waterfall. This popular attraction changes colours to a backdrop of a range of Christmas music. It’s worth spending a bit of time here to enjoy the changing lights and music.
I could have easily spend more time enjoying the lights but with a tired child, it was time to go. However, the big smile on her face as we leave means that a visit to the Christmas Lights Spectacular will continue to be an annual Christmas tradition for our family.
Here are my tips for a great visit.
- If you can visit on a day other than Friday or Saturday, do so. The crowds are larger on the weekends with lots of people traveling from Sydney, the Central Coast and elsewhere to view the lights.
- Check the HVG Facebook page before you set out to Hunter Valley Gardens to avoid disappointment. If there is adverse weather, the Christmas Lights Spectacular will be cancelled.
- The ticket line is separated into Prepaid Tickets and Regular Ticket Line paying with Cash/EFTPOS. Prepare for a wait on busy nights.
- Bring mozzie spray in case the mosquitoes are biting.
- Bring the pram or stroller if you’re not sure that your young child will be able to walk for the whole time. The Christmas Light Spectacular covers a large area – 20 acres in fact. Comfortable shoes are a must for everyone.
- Bring another layer of clothing as it can get a bit cool at night.
- Take your time and enjoy all of the lights. It’s a wonderful event that the whole family will enjoy.
- Use your Entertainment Book coupon for 2 for 1 entry to the Christmas Lights Spectacular.
- Prepare for possible traffic snarls when you leave the Gardens. One year, we waited for 15 minutes as a queue of coaches picking up passengers were blocking the exit. Be patient and the volunteers will advise you how to get out.
The Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens at Pokolbin runs until 26 January 2017 except Christmas Day. Gates open at 6:30pm with the light and sounds displays kicking off at 7:30p.m until 10pm. Adults $28, Children $23. Children 3 & under free. Family passes available as well. Family (2A+2C) $92.
Disclaimer: The Mummy Project received free entry for review purposes. All opinions are my own.