A Family-Friendly Guide to the Hunter Valley
Fine wine, romantic restaurants, beautiful scenery and... your kids. How to navigate a weekend in the Hunter Valley with children.
Fine wine, romantic restaurants, beautiful hikes, boutique resorts and... your kids. We know what you're thinking; 'one of these things is not like the others!'' but, believe it or not, the Hunter Valley is actually the perfect spot for your next family holiday. Our family-friendly guide to the Hunter Valley will talk you through the perfect itinerary for a weekend in the Hunter with kids.
From kid-friendly resorts and zoos, to fairytale gardens and the cellar doors offering children's tasting flights, we promise you that by the end of your trip you'll have enjoyed a heathy helping of country hospitality and a perhaps unhealthy amount of wine (parents only!).
Here's all the family-friendly activities that will make your next family trip to the Hunter Valley the best ever.
Family-friendly Guide to the Hunter Valley: Things To Do
(Image Credit: @troymuse, @4_macs_makin_trax and Tulloch Wine)
Your first step to having a weekend getaway with your kids should be to make sure you have access to a little bit of wine. Obviously it's no secret that wine is the main event in the Hunter Valley but for children there are few things as boring as just watching their parents enjoy some vino, however, some vineyards have done everything they can to make cellar doors entertaining to the littlest guests.
Calais Estate offers crafts and outdoor activities for little one's as well as gourmet picnic packs so you can eat among the vines. Margan Winery & Restaurant offers complimentary lawn games and activities in the courtyard as well as kid-friendly food offerings. Misty Glen Wines has a dedicated kids zone with balls, Play-Doh, crayons and two very kid-friendly dogs named Semillon and Chambourcin. Perhaps our favourite kid-friendly cellar doors would have to be from Tulloch Wines who offer a junior tasting experience with five snacks and non-alchoholic drink pairings as well as colouring books, giant Jenga, lawn games and board games.
Considered a must-do Hunter Valley activity, this picturesque activity is fun for the whole family. Get competitive playing aqua golf, hitting floating golf balls into a beautiful lake. If your ball lands in the target net, you'll win a prize! Their 18-hole mini golf course winds through the landscaped grounds of the beautiful Hunter Valley Garden Village. At just $20 for a family of four, this is the perfect kid-friendly activity in the Hunter Valley.
2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin
Giddy up because Hunter Valley Horses offers both trail rides through the Hunter Valley bushland or whimsy-fuelled horse-drawn carriage wine tours. Vineyard and bush trail rides are suitable for kids aged 10 and over (and it's the perfect way to convince your kids to join you for a vineyard tour). The horse-drawn carriage tour are suitable for families and will bring a touch of fairytale charm to your family holiday. If you're little ones want to go all in with a Cinderella-esque experience then you might want to give them a happily ever after courtesy of Hunter Valley Classic Carriages.
917 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
Visiting the bushwalking tracks around Mount Yengo and throughout the Yengo National Park is the perfect way to reconnect with nature as a family. Immerse yourself in the World Heritage-listed wilderness and take in all the spectacular native flora and fauna. Visiting the Finchley Cultural Walk will allow you to take in the stunning wealth of ancient Aboriginal rock art and offer great insights into the local indigenous history. An easy walk, only 1km return means that the whole family will be able to attempt the walk but you need to bring a carrier for littler kids.
Family Friendly Guide to the Hunter Valley: Places to Visit with Kids
(Image Credit: Hunter Valley Garden)
The Hunter Valley Gardens is a beautiful backdrop to what will surely be an idyllic family day out. Take the Gardens Train around the site to soak up the perfectly manicured gardens. With amazing seasonal activities from the Easter egg hunt to Snow Time in the Garden and even the Christmas Lights Spectacular, as well as permanent fixtures such as the fairground rides and fairytale gardens, this is the perfect family destination in the Hunter Valley.
2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin
Located 10 minutes from Pokolbin, the Hunter Valley Zoo has a glorious collection of native and international animals including the gorgeous meerkats pictured above. Kids aged 10 or above can take part in animal encounters with meerkats, marmosets, emperor tamarins. With plenty of interactive experiences and adorable animals there's enough here to keep your little animals entertained all afternoon.
138 Lomas Lane, Nulkaba
On the first Sunday of every month, McNamara Park is transformed into a market with over fifteen stalls popping up across the park. With plenty to keep the kids occupied expect BBQs, toy stalls, gourmet food products and, of course, wine (it is the Hunter after all!).
McNamara Park, Broke
Go Chocolate Crazy at Gourmet Chocolate Shops
It's no secret that kids love chocolate, however, the fact that Hunter Valley artisans are known for churning out some of the finest chocolate's in rural NSW is more of a secret. Check out Cocoa Nib for cakes, sweets and artisan chocolates or take the kids to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Café for a hot chocolate you'll never forget. Or satisfy sweet-tooths with the delectable desserts and epic shakes at Sabor Dessert Bar.
Take a break from the wine-tasting and detour to Sobels Wines for the Handmade in the Hunter Markets (trust us, it’s worth it!). In a ‘meet-the-maker’ atmosphere, you can meet the talented hands behind some amazing homemade products, think fresh produce, clothes and accessories, carved wood, ceramics, beauty products and much much more. Come and join in the creativity on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9am to 3pm.
Sobels Wines, Pokolbin
Family-friendly Guide to the Hunter Valley: Where to Eat & Drink
(Image Credit: Leaves & Fishes)
At this Hunter Valley restaurant, lunch is king with a lunch menu that's served Thursday to Monday from 11am to 5pm. With a kids offering including fish and chips and chicken and chips that both come with juice poppers, your little ones will be in paradise. Once they've finished their lunches, the kids can explore the lake and beautiful surrounds of this beautiful Hunter Valley spot.
737 Lovedale Road, Lovedale
A delicious smokehouse and café set inside an 100 acre winery, Lovedale Smokehouse Café has everything you need in a kid-friendly restaurant in the Hunter Valley. With a dedicated kids' menu with ham and cheese toasties, mac and cheese, kids' burgers and kids' deli offerings all for under $10 as well as ample space for kids to run and play, this has to be on your list of family-friendly places to visit. You can also order takeaway picnics to enjoy anywhere on the estate.
64 Majors Lane, Lovedale
Perhaps the most important thing about Lillino's is their dogs, just a quick look at their Facebook page shows two of the most beautiful Maremma sheep dogs you've ever seen! Bring the kids and stop in for a pizza and a scoop of gelato at this beautiful vineyard restaurant.
135 Talga Road, Rothbury
Chef Brian Duncan is known for combining first-class flavours in an innovative and creative way. The food is certain to please grown ups everywhere and their menu for under 10s, includes burgers, chicken tenders, fish and chips and pasta which will surely please even the pickiest of picky eaters.
576 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin
Family-friendly Guide to the Hunter Valley: Where to Stay
Starline Alpaca Farmstay resort
For an authentic country experience, check-in to the Starline Alpaca Farmstay resort. The cottage style accommodation is perfect for families and the expansive grounds include a swimming pool, spa, sauna, tennis courts, children's playground and alpaca farm, where you can feed some truly adorable furry friends.
1100 Milbrodale Road, Broke
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has made it easy for families with their kids’ club. Featuring a games room, carousel and train, on weekends there are fully supervised sessions available. With recreation and dining facilities on site, you’ll be hard pressed to get the kids to leave the resort.
430 Wine Country Drive, Lovedale
For stylish and spacious Hunter Valley accommodation options, look no further than The Carriages. This boutique Hunter Valley accommodation feels more like a French country house with just 10 rooms, including multi-room cottages that are perfect for families. Set within an award-winning vineyard - score mum and dad! - for the warmer days there’s a swimming pool, tennis court and enviable garden and breakfast baskets are delivered to your door each morning.
Halls Road, Pokolbin
Hunter Valley Resort, located in the heart of wine country, is ideal for a family holiday. You will find everything you need at the resort; restaurant, wine cellar door, and brewhouse. And as for the accommodation, choose from their Hunter room, king room, spa cottage, two bedroom cottage and motorhome sites. Perfect for big groups!
Hermitage Road &, Mistletoe Lane , Pokolbin
Has our family-friendly guide to the Hunter Valley got you inspired to plan more family outings? Check out our edit of family-friendly long weekend getaways for a mini break that will please the whole family. Take a look at our guide to the top five best family holiday destinations. Or, if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, check out the best family-friendly pubs in Sydney. To keep up to date with happenings in the Hunter Valley we recommend checking out winecountry.com.au and visitnsw.com.
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