You can get another fabulous splash of spring colour with a drive of just over a 2 hours north from the centre of Sydney.
The Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin was started by two private individuals, Bill and Imelda Roche (of Nutrimetics cosmetics fame) back in 1999 and was opened to the public in October 2003. The gardens have matured well and now lay claim to being Australia’s largest display gardens.
There are 10 themed gardens to view, with a recommended visit time of 3 hours. Yes, we took the full 3 hours, but that included a very nice lunch at their Garden Terrace café!
Immediately upon entry we took the path that got us heading to the highest point in the site – not that there’s much of an elevation to contend with. The first gardens we encountered were the Italian Grotto and Oriental Garden.
From the “Lookout” you can get an appreciation of the layout of the site, and start to realise the effort that has gone into establishing the gardens on what was originally horse paddocks and vineyards.
We started to see spring colour when looking towards the Sunken Garden.
Near the “Lookout” is one of the favourite sections of the site – especially for the children. There’s plenty to appreciate in Story Book Garden for the big kids too.
You may have noticed the beautifully shaped hedges and trees in the pictures above. There is a staff of around 30 gardeners and horticulturalists employed. One of the gardeners told us that it’s a great job to have – but from watching them in action I’d say you would need to be a little bit of a perfectionist to keep your job there.
Friends who live up on the Central Coast tell us that the most spectacular time to come is around the end of the year, when the Christmas lights are put up throughout the gardens. In 2014 there were over 1.5 million lights – it’d be pretty special for sure.
As part of the gardens’ Spring Festival of Flowers in September, we were able to enjoy the temporary wheelbarrow display located near the Rose Garden – fabulous colour!
There’s over 8km of pathways meandering throughout the site, and one way to get an appreciation of the whole place is on the guided train tour. The tours are popular and we missed out, so give them a call and book ahead if you think you’d like to do this.
By the time we’d taken in the gardens on the Lakes Walk, we were ready to sit down.
The café is ideally located near the Oriental Garden and we were able to sit out on the verandah and appreciate the fantastic blossoms while eating lunch.
There’s plenty to do up in the Hunter Valley – check out the Event and Attraction listings for the Hunter in Trip Plan (click on the map below). Put a visit to the Hunter Valley Gardens in your itinerary – it’s a great way to spend half day.
Design Your Own Road Trip!
The trip map and itinerary is available for you to use as a basis for your own trip at Trip Plan Australia. Go ahead and change the Towns in the Route section, and add and remove Via towns. Places, events and attractions in common will be retained in the revised Itinerary. Browse events on during your trip timeframe, and add/remove attractions and overnight stops to the itinerary to suit.