HOLIDAYING with kids can be challenging so the secret to a great time for the whole family is finding the right destination with lots for every age.
Known for its adult pleasure pursuits, the Hunter Valley also has a myriad of great attractions and activities for young people making it a destination that leaves no one out.
Fab family accommodation - Crowne Plaza
The first rule of holidaying with children is to get your accommodation right.
Choose the Crowne Plaza hotel for its spacious family villas which offer privacy and comfort so everyone can unwind.
Villas feature a comfy lounge and dining area, kitchenette and a private balcony or outdoor terrace.
If you don’t feel like cooking on your break there is also the very kid friendly Lovedale bar and restaurant that welcomes children with their own menu which can also be served outdoors, poolside.
Every school holiday Crowne Plaza offers an exciting list of activities for the whole family to enjoy. These Christmas holidays are filled with plenty of Santa themed events, including a visit from Santa himself and Letters to Santa.
This spring the Seussvalley kid’s high teas proved a great success and so, with more planned, you can start making plans. For more information call 02 4991 0944 or check out the website.
Keep it sweet with the kids - Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
Did someone say chocolate buzz?
The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is a definite must go for a visiting sweet tooth and those who support them. And with three Hunter Valley locations there is no reason for missing out.
The company has become known for their unique handmade delights, using the finest Belgian couverture chocolate, Australian dried fruits and nuts and - magic ingredient - distilled pure fruit oil for a true subtle fruity flavour.
There’s a jelly bean tower and a chocolate fondue fountain giving the place something of the Willy Wonka magic, and with an impressive range of fudge, including watermelon, it’s not all for chocoholics.
Get into the swing of it - Aqua Golf and Putt Putt
Here’s some good clean fun both kids and adults will love. Challenge the kids at Aqua Golf and Putt Putt.
Rather than avoiding the water features, at this course the idea of the game is to hit a golf ball into the lake. If you manage to get the ball in a floating target you will win a prize.
The further away the target the better the prize. Win vouchers for restaurants, cellar doors, hot-air balloon rides, golf games, bus tours and even cash jackpots.
Next try your skill at 18 holes of putt putt mini golf.
Located at the Hunter Valley Gardens, if you head to their website you can sign-up for the ultimate combo of a bucket of balls for aqua golf as well as 18 holes of mini golf - best family value in the Hunter bar none.
Introduce your babies to our babies - Hunter Valley Zoo
If you haven’t been to the Hunter Valley Zoo for a while it might be time to come and acquaint yourself with some new arrivals including the beautiful triplet common Marmoset babies born in August.
Spring has also welcomed twin Ring-Tail Lemurs born in September - too cute.
Combining exercise and entertainment, the zoo is a great day out for the entire family.
Your kids will love hand-feeding some of the animals such as kangaroos, Llamas, goats, chickens, emus and camels.
Pat a koala and giggle at the ever entertaining meerkats for the perfect timeout.
Saddle up for adventure - Hunter Valley Horse Riding Adventures
Here’s a magical experience that you won’t get too many places.
Hunter Valley Horse Riding Adventures offer a way of seeing the perfect countryside of the Hunter Valley at a relaxed pace on a fine steed.
See the beautiful Molly Morgan Range, some of the most spectacular views of the wine country, the Lower Hunter, as well as the Barrington Tops in the regions northern boundary.
Of special note are the sunset rides which bring you into close proximity with some friendly local kangaroos and wallabies.
Saddle up between Thursday and Tuesday 9am to 4pm or every day of school holidays.
Some adrenaline pumping action - Go Karts Go! Hunter Valley
This is the Hunter Valley’s fastest, longest and most adrenaline pumping go kart hire track.
At Go Karts Go! Hunter Valley the fastest 4-stroke karts vie for pole position on the massive 850 metre long track.
Get to drive the latest specification RIMO go karts from Europe. Catering for children and the young, the fleet of karts includes ones specially designed for juniors as well as twin seaters so kids from as young as five years of age can enjoy the action.
Open every day.
Take your kids back in time - Heddon Greta Drive-In
Here’s a suggestion laced with nostalgia, why not catch a movie at the Heddon Greta Drive In?
The experience of watching a movie from your own car is something many parents would love to share with their children.
The closing down of so many drive-ins in major cities means watching a film this way is an experience that can’t be missed while you are in the Hunter Valley.
A great place to take kids and something they will always remember, the drive-in is the one theatre you can talk during the show and not annoy others.
At Heddon Greta Drive In bring a FM car radio or a portable FM radio with good batteries to hear the sound and turn it up as loud as you want.
Admission is $30 per vehicle per movie, or attend two consecutive sessions for $50 per car, or $70 per car for three sessions, making it real value for money for families.
But bring cash as there are no EFTPOS or credit card facilities on the gate.
Where children roam free - The Hunter Valley Gardens
What is beautiful and relaxing even with the kids in tow? Designed with children in mind, The Hunter Valley Gardens is a fun two or three hours for the whole family.
The garden’s do some great school holiday exhibits including their Spring Holiday display, Mega Creatures, running until October 14.
Soon the Christmas lights display will be live.
All year round, life-sized characters live in the Storybook Garden that will delight both small and big children.
There is also a 12-metre high super slide, a Venetian carousel, a giant swing chair and a Ferris wheel while during the school holidays the Hunter Valley Train is puffing around.
With eight kilometres of walking paths winding through 14 hectares of gardens, during spring, the gardens are arguably at their best.
Bag yourself a HV treasure - Handmade in the Hunter Markets
When you see the quality of the unique, beautifully crafted handmade creations available at Handmade in the Hunter markets you will understand why many customers plan their visits to the Hunter Valley to coincide with market day.
The markets are held in the scenic gardens of the award-winning Kevin Sobels Wines in Pokolbin and showcase the huge talent of Hunter Valley artisans.
The venue is located near three major concert venues, numerous wineries, restaurants and the famous Hunter Valley Gardens and market days are held to correspond with concert dates and other major events.
As the longest-running, genuine, handmade market in the Hunter region, the charming country hospitality extends to meet-the-maker, where you can meet and speak with the grower, maker or artist behind the goods on offer.
See, taste, try, buy and take yourself home a gorgeous treasure from the Hunter Valley.
Power-up for an easy ride - Sutton Estate Electric Bicycle Hire
What’s more fun than a push bike in the country? An electric push bike in the country, that’s what.
The motor assisted bikes you can hire form Sutton Estate Bicycle Hire will amaze you with their ease of use.
Peddle or don’t, either way you will get where you are going and enjoy the scenery up close in the process.
Great for the whole family, the hire includes an induction and training session when you arrive including a run through of the features of the bike and helmet fitting.
Knowledgeable local staff can give you a route of places to visit that will suit your groups individual needs.
Take in the fresh air and spectacular scenery on a trip that also includes some delectable food and even a cheeky wine - adults only!
While it is often seen as the destination of the bottomless wine glass, the Hunter Valley has plenty of attractions and things to do with children.
So start planning your next time out with the kids in the Hunter Valley.
This article is sponsored by Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.