With its wineries, restaurants and concerts, the Hunter Valley is a firm favourite with adults. But you can also bring kids along on your visit out to the Hunter Valley as there is plenty of fun attractions and activities to do with kids. We’ve put together a big list of places to go on your next family-friendly Hunter Valley holiday.
Sample wine at family-friendly wineries in Hunter Valley
Even if you’ve got kids in tow, you can still visit the Hunter Valley wineries. Just choose a cellar door that is family-friendly so that you can sample and stock up on wine. Some family-friendly wineries include Peter Drayton Wines, Calais Estate, Misty Glen Wines, Whispering Brook and Tulloch Wines.
You can get the kids involved in tasting at Tulloch Wines and keep them entertained whilst you enjoy your Tulloch Wines tasting experience. They organise a specially prepared kids tasting session with four different non-alcoholic and four matching snacks (nut & gluten free) will be presented (for kids aged 3 – 12). For teens, they have offer a Kombucha tasting experience featuring a selection of Mailer McGuire specialty Kombucha paired with a local cheese box.
Tulloch also has stocks colouring-in books and on weekends and during school holidays has timber board games and outdoor lawn games Giant Jenga, Connect 4, croquet and hoopla.
Enjoy a bike ride on the Hermitage Way Cycleway
If you want to get out for a bike ride with kids, Hermitage Road has a dedicated 10.6km cycleway that runs from the New England Highway through to Broke Road. Bring your bikes or hire some from local bike hire companies. You’ll pass more than a dozen wineries along the way. You can order wine and get it delivered your accommodation if you’re staying in Pokolbin or your bike hire spot so you can enjoy your bike ride.
Along the way, you’ll pass family-friendly wineries like Misty Glen Wines. They have a special Kids Zone at the cellar door as well as two gorgeous dogs to play with. Order a picnic, enjoy the scenic vineyards and maybe play a game of boules or croquet. Another kid-friendly winery is Ridgeview Wines. Here you’ll find colouring-in sheets and activity box to amuse kids in the cellar door while parents enjoy some wine samples. If you feel like a bite to eat, stop by The Brokenback Bar for some food. Enjoy tapas or wood-fired pizza or indulge in the Movenpick ice cream cart.
See the animals at Hunter Valley Zoo
For a fun family excursion involving critters, visit Hunter Valley Zoo. The Hunter Valley has so many wonderful attractions to offer children and families, and the Hunter Valley Zoo has to be one of our absolute favourites. Located in picturesque Nulkaba, Hunter Valley Zoo has expanded into a popular attraction that is well-known for providing guests with amazing opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals, with their many hands-on interactive animal experiences.
The zoo is home to a large collection of animal species, including cheetahs, lions, zebras, American alligators, camels, monkeys, meerkats, koalas, kangaroos, reptiles, lemurs and farm animals.
You can purchase bags of animal food upon entry and feed the farmyard animals, lorikeets and kangaroos, which is such a fantastic opportunity for children (and adults) of all ages. They also offer daily animal talk shows as well as an animal encounter pop-up where you can cuddle a baby wombat or python for an additional charge.
Read our review of Hunter Valley Zoo
Wander through Hunter Valley Gardens
The picturesque Hunter Valley Gardens is also a fun spot for families. Wander through the various gardens There are eight kilometres of walking paths winding through 14 hectares of gardens. There are 10 gardens to explore each with its own theme.
Little ones will love wandering through the Story Book Garden which brings classic children books to life with life-size figurines and murals. Here you’ll find Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and Little Bo Peep. Kids can sit down with Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Some of our favourite gardens include the Oriental Garden with its Japanese and Korean influences. It’s a favourite with kids who like to spot carp and turtles from the Japanese pagoda.
Visit the Indian Garden to see 180-year-old antique Indian Gates guarded by bronze elephants. In this garden, kids can smell the different spice plants. It’s a feast for the senses. Also worth a smell is the Rose Garden which features four pergolas and over 6,000 roses. That’s a lot of roses to see and smell!
If you prefer smelling fruits and herbs, head to the Italian Grotto. As well as beautiful flowers, it also features edible plants that you would find in an Italian garden like lemon, orange, olive trees, lavender and herbs which help evoke the fragrance of Italy.
No matter what your garden preference is, Hunter Valley Gardens is a beautiful outdoor spot to enjoy nature. If you can, time your visit with an event there. Throughout the year, there are different events for families to enjoy including school holiday events like Mega Creatures, Easter, Snow Time in the Garden and the flagship event, Christmas Lights Spectacular. For these events, amusements and rides operate making a visit to Hunter Valley Gardens even more fun. Families can enjoy the Ferris wheel, swing chair, carousel, inflatables plus ride on the Hunter Valley Gardens Train.
Hit some golf balls at Hunter Valley Aqua Golf & Putt Putt
You’ll spot Hunter Valley Aqua Golf & Putt Putt as you enter and leave Hunter Valley Gardens. It’s a fun family activity to enjoy after visiting the gardens. The aim of aqua golf is to hit a golf ball into a floating target net on the lake in front of you. If your ball lands in the net, you win a prize! Prizes include restaurants, cellar doors, hot-air balloon rides, golf games, bus tours and cash! As well as the aqua golf driving range, Hunter Valley Aqua Golf also has a putt putt course. Challenge your family and friends to 18 holes of mini golf course beside the lake. The putt putt course winds through landscaped gardens within the Hunter Valley Gardens Village. If you feel like hitting golf balls into the lake as well as mini golf, enquire about the special offer. You get one bucket of balls at aqua golf plus 18 holes of putt putt for a combo price.
Stock up at Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village
Enjoy some shopping at the boutiques in Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village. There’s a range of shops to peruse through if you’re after souvenirs, gourmet treats, clothing and more. For sweet treats, head to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company to experience a wide range of delicious choccies or The British Lolly Shop which has lots of things for kids to try like bonbons, lemon sherbets, humbugs, Blackpool Rock, toffee, nougat, chocolate sweets and bars. Your family can also visit the toy store Hunter Valley Toy Chest, to find a toy or game. If you get hungry, grab some food and enjoy a picnic area under the trees. This is located at the Village Playground so kids can have a play before or after eating.
Get on a horse with Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures
Explore the Hunter Valley on the back of a horse at Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures. There are different rides depending on the age of your kids and experience. All promise to be a fun adventure. For little ones, they offer pony rides led by experienced guides and offer a safe, fun way to introduce your child to horses. There are also 30 minute rides for families. These rides are with an experienced guide and you will ride the same trails as the full trail rides. For the older kids, and grown-ups, you can do an hour trail ride which takes you along one of the many paths on the 300-acre property.
Ride a Segway in the Hunter Valley
Explore the Hunter Valley on a Segway Adventure at The Adventure Centre Hunter Valley. It’s a fun family activity for those with kids 11 & up. The tour heads off travelling along the off road tracks and trails of the 1880’s Stock Route that intersects the Hunter Resort property. Participants then travels through the world-renowned Vanessa Vale vineyard, plus past the Hunter Valley Bottling Company on the way back.
See Hunter Valley from above on a Balloon Ride
If you’ve ever wanted to go on a balloon ride, choose the beautiful Hunter Valley as your backdrop. Balloon Aloft offer balloon flights begin at sunrise and take in views of the picturesque wine regions of Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury or Broke. The balloon flights last approximately one hour and are followed by a delicious gourmet breakfast and champagne celebration at the famous Peterson House winery and Restaurant. If your kids are aged 7 years or older, they can accompany you on a balloon ride. They will also need to be at least 120cm tall so they can see over the top of the basket.
Visit Bridges Hill Playground
If your kids need to burn off energy, head to Bridges Hill Playground in Cessnock. This big playground has numerous play zones to suit all ages of kids. The centrepiece of equipment in this park is the massive blue and purple themed play structure. This large structure includes around 10 metres of climbing netting, rope tunnels, platforms and a long enclosed metal slide. You’ll also find timber play areas, scooter track and a half-court basketball court. Read our review of Bridges Hill Playground.
Go for a train ride at Richmond Vale Railway Museum
If you head to the Hunter Valley on a selected Sunday, visit the Richmond Vale Railway Museum. It’s the only operating heritage railway north of the Hawkesbury River. If you have a little train lover in your family, you can’t beat a morning at Richmond Vale Railway Museum. Located at Richmond Vale, between Kurri Kurri and Freeman’s Waterhole in the Hunter Valley, this unique museum, run by a board of volunteers, celebrates the steam train and mining history of the region. You and your family can ride on a miniature train or on 20-minute ride on a steam train through the surrounding bushland. Your entry to the museum includes unlimited steam train rides.
Read our review of Richmond Vale Railway Museum.
Race your family at Go Karts Go Hunter Valley
Get your heart pumping at Go Karts Go Hunter Valley. This is the region’s biggest, fastest and most exciting 4-stroke go kart hire track with a massive 850m long track! Choose from a variety of go karts including adult go karts, Junior Go Karts for kids 8+ and Twin Seat Go Karts in which you can put kids 5 and up in with an adult. Great fun for the whole family.
If you feel like more fun, try their epic mini golf experience, Mount Putt-a-Rama. This 18 hole mini golf course is a scaled model of Bathurst’s famous Mount Panorama racing car track. the golf course features Mount Panorama themed artwork and signage throughout and obstacles shaped from racing car parts. Players putt through V8 Supercar rims, between V8 Supercar brake disks and down Conrod Straight featuring big conrods.
Feed an alpaca
Get up close to alpacas at Starline Alpacas, a working alpaca farm. Although this is a farm stay as well, you can do day visits. Their alpacas are hand-reared and will welcome you to feed them. Feeding times are 10am to 4pm, 7 days a week. There’s a cost for entry and you can purchase Alpaca food which is enough for 2-3 people to share.
Get up close to camels
One hour north drive of Pokolbin you can see a herd of camels in this unforgettable experience at Camel Milk NSW in Muswellbrook. Here you can get up close and personal to a herd of wild camels that were saved from slaughter. On your tour, you’ll learn about the history of Australia and why camels are here. Enjoy a tour of the property covering how the camels are milked and how camel milk makes it way to the shelf.
Head out for a hike in the Hunter Valley
If you want to burn off all the calories you’re eating and drinking in the Hunter Valley, head to one of the national or state parks in the valley. Yengo National Park is 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Pokolbin. There you’ll find a few walks you can do with your family. Experience some scenery and Indigenous culture on the 1km Finchley Track. This short cultural walk gives people a real understanding and respect for one of the best Aboriginal sites in Australia. It features ancient engravings and informative signs along the way giving insight into the Aboriginal culture of the area. There is also a longer walk in Yengo National Park. Go for a hike on the Yango walking track. It’s a 6km former logging track through pristine wilderness, including rainforest, and offers outstanding views. The track is a bit rough so might be best suited for families with bushwalking experience or older kids.
Drive down the Convict Trail
If you like a scenic drive, travel down the Tourist Drive 33 along the Convict Trail. This road was built by convicts between 1826 and 1836 as an overland route from Sydney to Newcastle. At the time, Newcastle was only accessible by sea. As you drive along, notice the stone retaining walls and bridges crafted by convicts.
Where to Stay
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly hotel, book into the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Nestled in the heart of Wine Country, this family-friendly resort offers activities for every member of the family such as the Water Dragons Kids Club, swimming pool, 18-hole golf course, on-site Lovedale Brewery and Ubika Spa. You can choose from hotel rooms or self-contained villas. Newly added this year is The Water Park. It’s over two storeys high with heated water for all-year round use and complete with an assortment of slides, water cannons, flumes and jets designed to entertain the whole family in hours of aquatic fun. Best part is the berry bucket which fills with 600 litres of water before emptying every few minutes over you in one enormous splash!
Also good for families is the Kirkton Park Hunter Valley located on 70 acres of countryside. With a pool, tennis court, lawn games and basketball court, there’s plenty to keep kids happy. Plus, kids can feed the onsite pigs and chickens. Choose from a room or suite.
Combine a stay with animals, by booking in to Starline Alpacas. Located in Broke, you can choose from different self-contained cottages. The facility includes a saltwater swimming pool & spa, tennis courts, and a children’s playground.
Where to Eat
You can still visit the Hunter Valley and enjoy gourmet food even with your kids along. Here are kids-friendly Hunter Valley restaurants that feature kids menus and activities so that you can enjoy your dining experience.
Cafe Enzo in Pokolbin offers delicious breakfasts and lunch, all homemade and made of locally grown produce. Kids Menus are available for breakfast and lunch as well.
Enjoy a modern menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Mill Restaurant, located on the grounds of Estate Tuscany in Pokolbin. It features a kids menu for lunch and dinner with a main and dessert.
Also in Estate Tuscany is the more relaxed The Brokenback Bar which serves a cafe-style menu including delicious wood-fired pizzas. It features a kids menu for lunch and dinner.
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Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.