"The one thing my family does every Christmas, wherever we are in the world."

Hunter Valley Gardens
Thanks to our brand partner, Hunter Valley Gardens

They say there are two types of people at Christmas – those who love it and revel in all the sparkly gloriousness of the season – and those whose attitude is more Grinch-esque.

My family definitely falls into the former. I’ve always loved the spirit of Christmas – it’s the season of giving, and parties, and presents, and food

But of course, most importantly, it’s a time for family.

We have family spread out all over Australia, and the world, so it’s meant that we haven’t always stayed locally for Christmas. But wherever we are, there’s something we always do – visit as many Christmas lights displays as we can.

It’s a tradition which began in my childhood, when we would spend one night of every weekend travelling to different locations in my hometown of Adelaide, finding lights. Each display was a way to celebrate that the Christmas season had arrived, and it never got old – it was always joyous and exciting. Lights, Christmas scenes, and fairy floss, all made for magic memories.

Which is why as an adult I’ve been determined to pass on that tradition to my son – wherever we are in the world. Sometimes, we’ve been with my sister in Melbourne. Once, we had Christmas in London, and another time, in Los Angeles.

Last year, we moved to Sydney the week before Christmas, and for the first time in decades, lights displays were the last thing on my mind. So this year, I have some making up to do.

My desk buddy at work has recommended me one place: the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular.

According to every parent I’ve asked in our time here, the Hunter Valley Christmas Lights Spectacular is the most amazing, most incredible, most-loved display in the state.

Located around just two-and-a-half hours drive out of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s most iconic regions, renowned for its breathtaking scenery and produce (oh, the wine and smelly cheese… yes please).

Making it well worth the drive, the Hunter Valley Gardens’ Christmas lights display features millions of sparkling lights in five hectares of gardens. By all accounts, the kids spend most of their time in awe of the imaginative ways lights are used to bring beloved scenes to life.

There are 16 individual light displays, including the ‘Around the World’ exhibit, which features global icons such as the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower. There’s  ‘Hunter’, the insta-famous, five-metre-tell giant teddy. There’s a giant Ferris Wheel, and a Venetian Carousel.


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Don’t miss out on our Christmas Lights Spectacular running till Jan 27, plus our new rides for kids..and adults!

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This year will also feature a brand new walk-through Christmas Bauble. Could you get any more Christmas than that?

And of course, there’s the mandatory rainbows, unicorns, giant glittering baubles, glistening stars….oh, and one or two Christmas trees. So you can understand why the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular is the southern hemisphere’s biggest display of Christmas lights.

In addition to those awe-inspiring features, the event includes family-friendly rides, and two inflatable activity zones, for everyone to enjoy, together.

So even though the lights don’t go on until night, for those who love exploring gardens and embracing outdoor activities, the gardens offer a day and night pass, which can be used for any one day and one night session within a seven-day period.

No Christmas event would be complete without Santa’s factory – where everyone can whisper their wish list to the main man in red, and double-check that they’re definitely on the nice list.

Another good thing to know is that if you happen to catch the display on New Year’s Eve, the Hunter Valley Gardens will host a firework display at a family-friendly event.

As a woman who’s seen more than her fair share of Christmas lights displays, I know no two are the same. And as a woman with some making up to do after missing lights last year, the Hunter Valley Gardens one sounds…well, as though all my of Christmases have come at once.

Because it’s can’t be ‘The season to sparkle’ without visiting a Christmas lights display.

The Hunter Valley Christmas Lights Spectacular is on from Friday, November 2 2018 until Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Tickets costs vary depending on how many in your group, and whether you need a day/night pass or night access only. For more information, see, or visit them on Facebook.

Hunter Valley Gardens

Come and visit the southern hemispheres biggest display of Christmas Lights. Plus, enjoy our range of rides perfect for big and little kids. This is a night event, but for those who love exploring gardens and embracing outdoor activities we recommend purchase a day and night pass which can be used for any one day and one night session within a 7 day period. This is the perfect option for people staying overnight in the Hunter Valley with their family.

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