Looking for fun things to do in Hunter Valley with kids that will keep them entertained?
I get you. The vast vineyards and romantic cellar doors of Hunter Valley can sometimes overshadow its child-friendly attractions, making you wonder if it’s the right spot for a family getaway.
Is it an authentic family excursion packed with interactive activities, or just another day spent trying to keep the young ones occupied? It’s a valid concern, and you might be surprised by the choices available in the region.
You see, I recently travelled to Hunter Valley with my then 3-year-old daughter, and while I was hesitant at first, I found so many kids’ activities in Hunter Valley that kept her entertained the whole weekend. From picnics amongst the vineyards to visits to child-friendly attractions, the region proved to be an unexpected paradise for little adventurers.
That’s why I’ve crafted this guide, aiming to point you to the best activities in Hunter Valley suitable for the whole family. Gone are the days of aimless wandering. Let’s make every moment count, shall we?
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17 Fun Things to Do in Hunter Valley with Kids
On our recent family adventure to Hunter Valley, we found the perfect blend of relaxation for the adults and excitement for kids. Good news? I’ve managed to crack the code on mixing wine-tasting escapades with entertaining activities for the kids!
Here are 17 fantastic things we discovered that made our Hunter Valley with Kids experience so enjoyable, that we’ll go back and do it all again.
1. Family-Friendly Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley
You might be wondering are kids really welcome at wine tastings in Hunter Valley? Given that Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s premier wine regions, it’d be quite a letdown not to get a taste of its renowned vintages.
Luckily, during our trip, we discovered several wineries that not only welcome kids but genuinely cater to families.
At Tulloch Wines, they’ve nailed the family-friendly approach. They offer a unique kids’ wine tasting that features treats like marshmallows, choccie milk, and fruit juice. There’s also a colouring-in mat for the little artists.
And for the teens? A delightful kombucha tasting paired with local cheeses – a thoughtful touch for the older kids who might feel a tad left out and a bit too grown up for gummy bears and choccie milk!
Stepping outside, you’re greeted with a serene garden space that provides a sweeping view of the valley, coupled with popular lawn games such think Jenga and Connect 4.
What stood out for us was how the experience let us adults enjoy our own wine tasting, while our daughter felt included and entertained.
Another standout was Elbourne Wines. As a family-owned boutique winery, they’ve created a welcoming space. There’s a lovely outdoor play area for kids, and they even have a few farm animals wandering about – an instant hit with the younger crowd.
And if you’re considering expanding your wine-tasting itinerary, places like Calais Estate, Misty Glen Wines, and Whispering Brook should be on your list. Each of these places brings its own flavour to the table, ensuring everyone from toddlers to adults leaves with a smile.
2. Enjoy the stories at Hunter Valley Gardens
Hunter Valley Gardens offers a blend of enchantment and variety, making it a must-visit for families of all ages.
Occupying 14 hectares and featuring 10 individual gardens, this expansive space provides 8km of walking paths that offer you an escape from the wineries.
Yet, for families, the Storybook Garden is particularly special. Here, children can encounter life-sized versions of their favourite storybook characters—think Humpy Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Little Bo Peep—and even join the Mad Hatter at the tea party!
Don’t limit your visit to the Storybook Garden, though. The estate also boasts a selection of other themed spaces worth exploring, such as the Italian Grotto, Rose Garden, and Oriental Garden.
In the Oriental Garden, children can take a moment to view the carp from a scenic pergola and perhaps spot turtles sunbathing on the rocks.
A visit to Hunter Valley Gardens is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace; plan for at least 2-3 hours so you don’t have to rush.
While the venue is stroller-friendly, do note that bikes are not permitted (much to the disappointment of my little one!). There is a Garden Terrace café where you can buy lunch and toilets located all around the grounds.
If your timing aligns, consider planning your visit around one of the garden’s seasonal events. These range from the magical Christmas Light Spectacular held in early November to January to “Snow Time in the Garden,” typically held in the June/July timeframe.
During some seasons, the gardens even offer amusement rides, such as Ferris wheels, slides and carousels.
❗️Booking is essential for Hunter Valley Gardens, many people may think they are free but this is not the case.
3. Visit the Animals at Hunter Valley Wildlife Park
If you’re on a family trip to Hunter Valley and keen to add a dash of wildlife wonder to your itinerary, then Hunter Valley Wildlife Park (formerly Hunter Valley Zoo) in Nulkaba is your go-to spot.
Kids can get up close and personal with an array of animals—you’ve got everything from the classic farmyard crew to exotic creatures like zebras and lions.
Grab some animal food at the entrance and make a beeline for the farmyard. It turns the whole experience into a hands-on affair that’s miles better than staring through a glass panel.
Fancy holding a wombat or getting cosy with a python? You can do that here for an extra fee, but it’s totally worth the unique photo op!
There’s an on-site BBQ area if you want to grill some lunch, or you can opt for snacks from the kiosk and coffee cart. You can also pack a picnic and sit in the picnic areas. Parking’s free, and they’re open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4. Visit the Hunter Valley Chocolate and Fudge Factory
So you’ve spent the morning at a winery and the kids have been absolute champs. What’s the best way to reward their patience? A trip to the Hunter Valley Chocolate and Fudge Factory, of course.
This spot is more than a sweet tooth’s paradise; it’s a full sensory experience. Imagine pressing your face against the window as chocolatiers whip up deliciousness right before your eyes. We’re talking chocolates, fudge, and even gelato made from scratch.
The onsite café, Twenty-3-Twenty, serves up coffee, cakes, and treats, making it a prime location to unwind while you indulge.
Think honeycomb, mint slices, and chocolate-covered jelly snakes to name a few. They even have handmade chocolates shaped like penguins and frogs, which the kids will find utterly delightful.
Having been in the Valley for over 20 years, this factory knows a thing or two about confectionery. It is a really fun thing to do in Hunter Valley with Kids, no matter what their age!
5. Horse and carriage Ride around Hunter Valley
Ready for a unique twist on exploring the Hunter Valley with Kids?
Book this 3-Hour Wine and Harvest Horse Tour in Pokolbin. Think of it as a horse and carriage-style tour around Hunter Valley that includes tastings at three venues. You’ll feel like you’re in a period drama!
Infant seats? Check. Stroller-friendly? Absolutely. It’s an all-encompassing way to enjoy the region’s offerings without breaking a sweat.
6. Take a Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over the Valley
Seriously, if you’ve ever contemplated a hot air balloon ride, Hunter Valley serves up the ultimate backdrop.
Picture this: It’s sunrise, and you’re floating above some of the most iconic wine regions in Australia—Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury, Broke. The backdrop is nothing short of cinematic, and yes, you’ll even see kangaroos hopping about below you.
Kids over 7 and at least 120 cm tall can join in Just be prepared for an early start; the whole experience kicks off at 4 a.m., lasting approximately 4 hours in total.
The hot air balloon ride itself is an hour long, so you’ll want to ensure your child is comfortable with the duration.
After landing, you’ll be whisked away to Peterson House, a renowned local winery. Here, you’ll enjoy a delightful a la carte breakfast accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine.
As a keepsake, souvenir photos are available for purchase, so you can always remember that time you and the family soared over Hunter Valley like you were part of some fairy tale.
7. Ride around Hunter Valley on Segways
So you’ve got kids 11 and up and you’re searching for something a bit more adventurous in Hunter Valley? How about zipping through vineyards and natural landscapes on a Segway tour?
Choose between a quick 30-minute ride or go all out with a full hour. It’s a great way to fit the adventure into your Hunter Valley itinerary, no matter how packed it is.
Run by The Adventure Centre Hunter Valley, you will begin with individualized instruction and training from a qualified Segway guide, ensuring everyone is comfortable before heading out.
Once you’re up to speed, the tour takes off along the off-road tracks of the 1880s Stock Route that cuts through the Hunter Resort property. This historic route was built by Australia’s early settlers and convicts, and it’s teeming with local wildlife.
Don’t be surprised if you spot kangaroos or even the occasional wombat as you cruise through. The tour also weaves through the famed McGuigan vineyard, giving you a first-hand look at the grapes before they become the wine you love.
8. Visit The Shopping Village
With a diverse lineup of shops, the Shopping Village in Hunter Valley really has something for everyone.
From gourmet food and handcrafted items to fashion and home decor, it’s worth checking out, especially if you are visiting the Hunter Valley Gardens as they are within walking distance from one another.
For the kids, the Toy Chest is a must-visit, stocked with games and toys that’ll make their day. For sweet treats, I recommend the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company or The British Lolly Shop. They’ve got everything from bonbons to chocolate bars and even some UK favourites if you’re a British expat!
There’s a lovely picnic area located near the Village Playground, so you can refuel while the kids burn off some energy.
And if you’re already gearing up for the holidays—no judgment here—the Christmas store is open year-round. I even found it open during my May visit!
9. Aqua Golf and Putt Putt
If you’ve wrapped up your time at Hunter Valley Gardens and are looking for the next fun family activity, head over to Aqua Golf and Putt Putt. Conveniently located next door, this place puts a unique spin on traditional golf.
In Aqua Golf, you aim to hit golf balls into floating nets on a lake. Nailing a shot can win you some pretty cool prizes—from restaurant vouchers and hot-air balloon rides to golf games and bus tours.
But if you’re more of a putting person, they’ve also got an 18-hole mini-golf course right beside the lake. It’s an ideal spot to challenge your family to a little friendly competition.
And for those who want the best of both worlds, check out their combo deal. It includes one bucket of balls for Aqua Golf plus a round of 18-hole putt-putt—all for a special price.
10. Bike Ride on Hermitage Road
🚴🏻♀️ Dont have a bike? Rent one here! With options for either a half-day or full-day experience, you’ll have plenty of time to stop and admire the stunning views, take photos, and even stop for a picnic lunch. Plus, e-bikes allow you to effortlessly tackle any hills or headwinds, making it a seamless way to explore the region.
For those looking for things to do in Hunter Valley for families, consider taking a bike ride along Hermitage Road. This dedicated cycling path runs for 10.6 km, connecting the New England Highway to Broke Road and offering a flat, enjoyable ride that is suitable for kids.
This route links up with several of the region’s premier vineyards. Conveniently, you can even have wine delivered to your accommodation or bike rental place, letting you fully Savor the ride without carrying extra weight.
There are multiple kid-friendly wineries to check out along the way. For instance, Misty Glen Wines not only offers a Kids Zone at the cellar door but also two adorable dogs to interact with.
You can order a picnic and hang out amid beautiful vineyard settings while maybe playing a round of boules or croquet.
Another stop to consider is Ridgeview Wines. Here, children are kept engaged with colouring sheets and an activity box, allowing parents to sample wines in peace.
If you get hungry along the route, The Brokeback Bar is a great pit stop. They offer everything from tapas and wood-fired pizzas to treats from the Movenpick ice cream cart.
11. Bridges Hill Playground
Bridges Hill Playground in Cessnock is a great playpark for all ages and is situated in a convenient location.
There’s ample parking and easy access with ramps. Picnic tables, BBQs, and a half-basketball court are available to use.
The multi-zone timber playground offers everything from rock-climbing walls and slides to balance-testing stepping stones. A designated bike and scooter area mimics real roads, complete with traffic signs, perfect for kids to practice on their bikes and scooters.
For dining options, East Cessnock Bowling Club is across the street, and cafes are a quick drive away on Aberdare Road.
12. Pasta Class with Our Italian Table
Consider a pasta class at Our Italian Table if you’re looking for a unique family activity. Located in the scenic Nicita Estate, the cooking class has become a school holiday hotspot, so check their website for availability.
Ideal for kids 5 and up, these hands-on classes teach traditional pasta rolling, sauce making, and even biscotti crafting. After cooking, everyone sits down for a delicious lunch.
The class runs from 10 am to 1 pm, and an adult must accompany the kids. Ingredients and recipes are seasonally inspired, so each class offers something new and fresh.
13. Ride the train at Richmond Railway Museum
Take the kids to Richmond Vale Railway Museum, the Hunter Valley’s hub for steam trains and mining history. It is located between Kurri Kurri and Freeman’s Waterhole in the Hunter Valley and is a must if you are in Hunter Valley with Kids.
Operated by volunteers, this is the only active heritage railway north of the Hawkesbury River. The museum is accessible on the first three Sundays of each month, every Sunday during school holidays, and during special annual events like the Family Fun Fest.
Your admission comes with unlimited rides on full-sized steam trains, like the restored 1938 engine ‘Marjorie,’ weighing in at an immense 31.5 tons. The 20-minute ride weaves through bushland, offering an interesting and scenic trip that both kids and adults will enjoy.
If you fancy something a bit smaller, there’s also a miniature train to hop on.
14. Race each other at Go Karts Go, Hunter Valley
If speed and competition get your family’s adrenaline pumping, then Go Karts Go in Hunter Valley is the place to be. Boasting the region’s largest and fastest 4-stroke go-kart hire track, the facility offers a thrilling 850m circuit.
Kids 8 and up can get behind the wheel of Junior Go Karts, while younger ones (5 and up) can pair up with an adult in Twin Seat Go Karts.
Go Karts Go is also home to Mount Putt-O-Rama, an 18-hole mini-golf course inspired by the iconic Mount Panorama racetrack in Bathurst. Navigate obstacles made from racing car parts as you putt through V8 supercar rims, between brake disks, and down the legendary Conrod Straight.
At just $10 for 18 holes, it’s a fun and budget-friendly addition to your day out with the kids in Hunter Valley.
15. Feed an Alpaca at the Farm
If getting up close and personal with alpacas sounds like your kind of fun, then a visit to Starline Alpacas is a must. Situated in the heart of the Hunter Valley, this operational alpaca farm offers day visits in addition to farm stays.
You can hand-feed their friendly, hand-reared alpacas from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.
Be sure to add a bag of Alpaca feed to your visit, which is ample enough for 2-3 people to share.
This day visit offers a memorable and intimate experience with these intriguing animals. You’ll have the chance to enter their enclosure, explore their distinct personalities, and even hand-feed them.
While you’re there, you are welcome to roam the designated paddocks at your own pace and snap a few photos for keepsake.
16. Kid-Friendly Hikes in Hunter Valley
If you’re looking to add a touch of adventure to your Hunter Valley trip, consider a family-friendly hike in Yengo National Park, roughly a 75-minute drive from Pokolbin. This park offers a couple of trails well-suited for families.
First up, the Finchley Track. This easy 1km return walk not only offers exercise but also a deep dive into one of Australia’s most significant Aboriginal sites. With no steps to worry about, it’s perfect for kids and adults alike.
For those seeking a bit more of a challenge, the Yango walking track might be up your alley. This 6km loop was once a logging track and takes you through untouched wilderness, including rainforests, while serving up some excellent views.
Given that the track can be rough and steep in sections, this hike might be best suited for families with some bushwalking experience or older kids.
17. Experience the Camels
Drive an hour north of Pokolbin, and you’ll find yourself at Camel Milk NSW in Muswellbrook for a one-of-a-kind experience. Perfect for both small and large groups, this tour gives you an insider’s look into how this establishment produces milk from their lovingly rescued camels.
The tour covers a broad spectrum, from the history of camels—where they originated and why they’re in Australia—to an up-close encounter with the herd, including star stud bull Huey.
Of course, you won’t leave without sampling some camel milk. And if you find you like it, there’s an option to buy camel milk and a variety of camel milk products, from hand-crafted soaps to bath bombs and lip balms.
Tours are available most days, but make sure to book in advance to secure your spot for this unforgettable experience.
Kid-friendly places to stay in Hunter Valley
You can’t go wrong with a stay at the Rydges Resort. Kids will be thrilled with the Water Dragons Kids Club and the resort’s exclusive heated water park, which features slides, water cannons, and flumes.
Older Kids aren’t left out either, with a dedicated lounge and games room.
For the adults in the group, there’s an 18-hole golf course, the on-site Lovedale Brewery, and the luxurious Ubika Spa.
But don’t worry, kid-friendly doesn’t always mean you have to book a hotel at the swimming park.
Grand Mercure The Vintage is like a sanctuary for parents who appreciate the finer things—spacious rooms, luxurious baths, and just imagine sipping wine while gazing through those beautiful glass windows.
They’ve got an amazing playground, lots of open space for biking and scootering, and 2 outdoor pools.
There’s also a tennis court and a gym. The Vintage has two onsite restaurants – both of which are kid-friendly!
I celebrated my 30th birthday here with my partner and 3-year-old, and it was absolutely perfect. It’s one of those rare places that manages to be both parent-pleasing and kid-friendly.
Kid-Friendly places to eat in Hunter Valley
Craving a touch of elegance without compromising on kid-friendly dining? Legends Restaurant at Chateau Elan is your go-to. While you indulge in a sophisticated menu, kids are set with their own menu and colouring books to keep them entertained.
For an all-day dining option that caters to all, check out Nineteen. It’s got a laid-back vibe with a sports bar downstairs. The kids get their own activity packs complete with stickers and coloring books.
If you’re over in Pokolbin, The Mill Restaurant within Estate Tuscany is a must-visit. With specific lunch and dinner menus for the young ones, they even get a main and a dessert. Talk about rolling out the red carpet for the kids!
While at Estate Tuscany, The Brokenback Bar makes for a relaxed dining experience. Their wood-fired pizzas are a hit, and like The Mill, they also offer a children’s menu for lunch and dinner. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Hunter Valley with Kids: FAQS
Navigating a trip to the Hunter Valley with kids in tow? You’re not alone—I had my share of questions too, and I’ve got the answers you’re looking for.
Are kids allowed at wine tasting in Hunter Valley?
The good news is, yes, many wineries in Hunter Valley are family-friendly and do allow kids on the premises. However, it’s always a good idea to check ahead with specific wineries to confirm their policy. Some places, such as Tulloch Wines even have designated play areas or activities to keep the little ones occupied while you sample the local varietals
Is wine tasting free in Hunter Valley?
Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley often comes with a fee, which can range from around $5 to $20 per person depending on the winery and the range of wines you’re sampling. However, many wineries will waive the tasting fee if you make a purchase or are part of one of their wine clubs. It’s a mixed bag, really. Some high-end or boutique wineries might charge more, especially for tastings that include their premium or reserve wines.
How many days do you need in the Hunter Valley?
How long you should spend in the Hunter Valley really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. If you’re looking for a quick escape, a 2-day, 1-night stay could give you a taste of the wineries and local attractions. But to truly soak up all that this region has to offer—from wine tasting and gourmet dining to outdoor activities like hot air ballooning and biking—a 3- to 4-day trip would be ideal.