Traveller’s Tale: Top Things to Do at the Hunter Valley Gardens, NSW inner banner

Traveller’s Tale: Top Things to Do at the Hunter Valley Gardens, NSW

The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is renowned for its wineries, but it was a bouquet of a different kind that drew guest contributor Lauren Wilson to the region. Stop and smell the flowers in the gorgeous Hunter Valley Gardens.
Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens
Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Image: Destination NSW

As soon as you say the words ‘I’m visiting the Hunter Valley’, most people assume you are going for the wine.

However, at the top of my to-do list on a recent visit was the amazing Hunter Valley Gardens. Located just over two hours’ drive from Sydney, and less than an hour from Newcastle, Australia’s largest display gardens are open all year round and offer a scented escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

You’ll need the best part of a day to do the Gardens justice. There are ten themed zones to explore, including the one most popular with kids (and big kids at heart) — the gorgeous Storybook Garden. This floral precinct is filled with the much-loved storybook characters that many of us grew up with, and younger visitors are only just getting to know.

Hunter Valley Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Tour from Sydney

Hunter Valley Tours, Activities & Attractions

The other nine zones are the Italian Grotto, Indian Mosaic Garden, Formal Garden, Rose Garden, Sunken Garden, Border Garden, Oriental Garden, Chinese Garden, and Lakes Walk. Aside from the Storybook Garden, I particularly loved the Border and Sunken Gardens. The Border Garden incorporates formal hedges, classic fountains, and an array of annuals that represent the four seasons. The Sunken Garden features a ten-metre-high waterfall, which is a spectacular sight.

Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens
Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Image: Destination NSW

Construction of the Hunter Valley Gardens began in 1999 and was completed in 2003. The gardens were opened in October of that year by the then premier of New South Wales — the Honourable Bob Carr. Originally home to horse paddocks and vineyards, the 14-hectare site now boasts around 6,000 trees and 600,000 shrubs. More than 500,000 annuals are planted each year. Imagine having to plant and water them all!

Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens
Oriental Garden, Hunter Valley Gardens. Image: Image: Destination NSW

Leave enough time to visit the wonderful village shops, including the Hunter Valley Christmas Shop — a must-visit for silly season goodies. It’s open throughout the year. The famous Hunter Valley Chocolate Company also has a store here, and it serves hot chocolate to die for.

Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens
Things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens: Storybook Garden

Take some time to lose yourself in the Hunter Valley Gardens on you next visit to the region. You’ll leave feeling relaxed and revitalised!

For further information, visit

Browse our range of Hunter Valley tours and experiences here.

Do you have a traveller’s tale to share? Please contact us.

Do you have any tips for things to do at the Hunter Valley Gardens? Leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock


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Please leave a comment

  1. I found your blog on the Hunter Valley great stuff! One thing would be that you add on some restaurants and guest houses nearby. Deciding where to stay is a tough job.

  2. Do you have a bus going to Hunter Valley Garden itself? The bus tour that you mention are all wine tasting tours.

    1. Hi there. That’s a good question. Unfortunately we don’t! Most of the tour operators we work with focus on the wine. If I come across a tour that does include the Hunter Valley Gardens, I will post the details here. Regards, Adam Ford (Editor)

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