On Friday we headed to the Hunter Valley with the Comerford and Sparks families. I have been wanting to go there for a long time, but being a non wine drinker it wasn't a real high priority. Then I found out about the Hunter Valley Gardens and that all changed.
After much searching I finally found a place for us all to stay that we could afford. The Sandy Hollow Tourist Park. On doing a little bit more research the night before we left, I realised why it was so cheap... it's in the Upper, Upper, Upper Hunter Valley! Over an hour away from Pokolbin and the gardens! Never mind. It was a top spot to stay and the kids loved it.
We had a few rain issues, but that couldn't dampen our spirits. We were on holidays! And a short one at that, so there was no way we were going to let a bit of water ruin it for us.
The Browns and the Comerfords (unfortunately the Sparks couldn't leave until later) head off at 12pm. We decide to take the Putty Road - yes! I love that road with all it's curves and bends. We stop at the Colo Heights Service Station. You know you are at a classy place when the cutlery comes out in paper bags lol. Seriously though, the food was sensational.
We arrive at Sandy Hollow Tourist Park around 4ish (give or take), and the kids were off and running. The Sparks actually arrived not too long after us which was sensational. The kids were playing, the parents were relaxing, and we had a top night full of delish food and laughs.... and rain!DAY 2.
Woke up to a mixed bag on the weather front. There was some blue sky teasing us, but it didn't look too promising.
As always, if there is a pool, kids must swim. Big thumbs up to Michael who volunteered to go in with the kids.
Slowly we prepared for the day... none of us too keen to wear ourselves out. We had lunch which consisted of Friday night left overs, and headed off to the gardens around 2ish.
We get to the gardens which are supposed to be open until 5pm at 3.30. Great! We have 1 and a half hours to explore, then go off for dinner, and then back to the gardens for the Christmas Lights Spectacular at 6.30ish.
On paying, the attendant informed us that the gardens were closing at 4! WT?! Apparently due to weddings and the Christmas lights it was closing earlier to prepare. Would have been nice to see that updated on the website, which we offered as feedback.
We raced around a couple of areas in 30 minutes, 20 of those were in pouring rain. The kids didn't care though....When we left the gardens we raced off to the Potters Brewery in Cessnock for dinner, and then headed back to the gardens for the Christmas Lights Spectacular.
We all lost each other at the Spectacular, but arrived back in Sandy Hollow only minutes apart.... go figure. Everyone was too tired to anything else so to bed we went.
Check out day. Don't you just hate having to be up and ready to go by 10am when you are on a mini holiday? Especially when the sky is blue and the sun is finally shining. No sooner has it started than it's all over. Only made one stop on the way home, at Arrowfield Winery.
The kids thought it was tops running through the rows of grape vines, finding grapes and exploring. A double bonus was the ducks which William thought was totally cool. We couldn't get very close to them though, cause they would just run away!
Everything is unpacked, the washing has been done, and sadly it's back to the reality of day to day life. Ah, the serenity....