6 festive activities for a magical Hunter Valley Christmas
Time to start planning some family festivities? Enjoy holiday cheer in the spectacular countryside with a Hunter Valley Christmas!
From feasts and festivals to markets and movie nights, our rolling hills are home to many of Australia’s most enchanting experiences for all ages. Indulge in delectable delights, find artisanal stocking fillers, gaze at glittering gardens and belt out some carols!
Below, we’ve rounded up our favourite things to do for Christmas in the Hunter Valley in 2023 – plus where to stay for an unforgettable getaway with your loved ones.
Hunter Valley Christmas events for 2023
1. Celebrate at NINETEEN’s Christmas Festival
NINETEEN’s Christmas Festival has your holiday plans covered with relaxed dining options and complimentary entertainment for attendees young and old!
It all kicks off on Christmas Eve with live music from Ryan Hemsworth in the Beer Garden and festive face painting for little ones from 4 pm to 7 pm.
On Christmas Day, join us for a no-fuss breakfast at the bistro, followed by a delicious buffet lunch. You’ll be feasting on holiday favourites like oven-roasted turkey roulade, glazed leg ham and plum pudding with brandy custard. Or fill up your plate with blue swimmer crab, Sydney rock oyster and king prawns at the seafood station!
Book your reservation for Christmas lunch in the Hunter Valley today. Dining start times are 12 pm and 12:30 pm, with a visit from Santa himself at 1:30 pm!
- Adults aged 18 or older: $185 (includes beverage package)
- Teenagers aged 13-17: $140 (includes soft drink package)
- Children aged 4-12: $92 (includes soft drink package and a gift from Santa)
- Infants under 3 eat: free (plus a gift from Santa!)
2. Visit the Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens
The festive season is upon us, and with it comes the beloved Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens!
This incredible event showcases over four million lights glittering and glimmering throughout the gardens – and it’s on every night (except Christmas) until January 28 from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Explore dazzling displays such as Winter Wonderland’ and the ‘Twinkle Tree Trail’.
You can also enjoy Christmas stage shows, as well as magic performers, comedians and Christmas characters around the gardens. Take a family photo with Santa in the Igloo Marquee, and post letters to the North Pole at the Magic Mailbox.
Meanwhile, amusement rides run until late every night. Enjoy sweeping views of the festivities on the ferris wheel, spin around on the teacups and brave the superslide!
Throughout the event, there is plenty of food and drinks on offer to keep spirits up, from woodfired pizza and nachos to ice cream and churros.
- Children aged 4-15: $28
- Infants under 3: free
- Amusements: $6 per ride
- Family passes available
Or make the most of your Hunter Valley escape and enjoy discounted Christmas Light Spectacular tickets when you book your accomodation at The Vintage Holiday Houses!
3. Wander through Christmas markets together
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to Hunter Valley Christmas markets! Find your friends and family unique presents as you take an atmospheric stroll around the artisanal stalls. Here are our top picks:
- The Hunter Valley Christmas Markets at Bimbadgen on November 26th – explore over 120 stalls, discover the street food, listen to live music and enjoy a drink at the outdoor bar.
- Handmade Christmas Market at Maitland St Collective on December 2nd – browse hand-crafted goods, dance to live music and taste local wine, beer and snacks.
- Dashville Christmas Weekender in Lower Belford from December 8th to 10th – get in the festive spirit with a whole weekend of live music and market stalls, as well as a car boot sale and a visit from Santa.
- A Merry Little Christmas Market at The Levee in Maitland on December 10th – shop local makers’ stalls, delight in delicious food and drinks and head down to the Riverlink for free photos with Santa and his elves!
4. Floral workshops
There are several floral workshops to enjoy this holiday season in the Hunter Valley! Create a show-stopping Christmas table centrepiece with Stomp! Wines on Sunday, November 26th. Here, florist Kristee-Lee will show you how to style a stunning centrepiece as you sip on wines from the vineyard and sample Binnorie Dairy cheeses.
Alternatively, join the Flowers in the Field Christmas Wreath Workshop at Tocal Homestead on December 17. Saralyn from Flora Luna will guide you in creating a whimsical wreath for your home. Enjoy sparkling and grazing plates as you build to really kick off the Christmas celebrations.
5. Christmas movie night
On December 16th, take the kids to a family-friendly screening of two classic Christmas movies: Elf (G) at 5.00 p.m. and The Santa Clause (G) at 7.15 p.m.
Taking place at Maitland Regional Sportsground, Make It Maitland’s Christmas Movie Night will be complete with food trucks, free popcorn and fun activities for your little ones – think crafts, lawn games, and even a visit from Santa and the Grinch in their display cars!
- Adults over 18: $5
- Children under 17: free
Join Carols in the Park at Cessnock Sportsground on December 1st. This extensive family-friendly evening will be full of Christmas cheer, including carols from artists like Tara Naysmith, market stalls, food trucks, Santa visits and fireworks!
Maitland Musical Society is also hosting a public Christmas carols event at Maitland Gaol on December 3rd. A few days later on December 8th, set up camp in the Picnic Garden and listen to Anna Weatherup and her brass band singing Christmas carols at Saddler’s Creek Wines.
Holiday homes for your Hunter Valley Christmas
Treat your nearest and dearest to an extra special stay this Christmas. Tucked away in Pokolbin’s breathtaking parklands, our holiday homes are a wonderful choice for your festive retreat in the Hunter Valley. Here are a few of our favourites.
Offering a sophisticated adults-only Christmas getaway, Fernweh is a contemporary two-storey oasis with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
As soon as you step through the front doors, you’ll discover its charming character brought to life with mementos from around the world. As well as a fully equipped kitchen that can cater to a Christmas dinner party, there is a spacious open-plan lounge with a fireplace, television and wall-to-ceiling bookcase for entertaining.
Outside, this chic home features a stone fireplace, barbeque and terrace amongst lush greenery – the perfect setting for some festive sundowners.
- Adults-only retreat
- Stylish worldly decor
- Outdoor fireplace and BBQ
Boasting four beautifully appointed bedrooms and three bathrooms, this breathtaking home has undergone a state-of-the-art makeover with a focus on entertainment.
Cook up a holiday season storm in the custom-built black and oak timber kitchen with a marble feature wall. Then play board games and relax on the designer leather armchairs in the spacious open-plan living room.
Prefer to enjoy a festive seafood extravaganza? The outdoor entertaining area is just as luxurious, with a BBQ and seating area that overlooks gorgeous parkland.
Afterwards, set up camp for a Christmas movie marathon in the comfort of your private home cinema – complete with an 85-inch Samsung QLED TV, tiered flooring and plush theatre chairs.
- Luxurious kitchen
- Private home cinema
- BBQ with scenic views
3. Hunter Valley Lodge
This expansive residence features four bedrooms and three baths, with serene views of the parklands. The home’s inviting design emphasises relaxed living with an open-plan kitchen and dining area perfect for a Christmas get-together.
Meanwhile, the master suite is thoughtfully placed at the back of the home, offering secluded luxury separate from the other sleeping quarters.
The second story is a private haven for relatives who want to relax in peace or excited children awaiting Santa Claus. Here, you’ll discover two bedrooms, a bathroom, a multimedia entertainment space, and a study area.
Need a little more space for your Hunter Valley Christmas holiday? The additional loft suite above the double garage enjoys its own bathroom and access.
4. Hamptons on Figtree
Spanning two expansive parcels of land with prime golf course frontage, the delightful Hampton’s On Figtree blends coastal elegance with rustic charm. Up to ten guests can enjoy this stunning holiday home, which offers an ensuite with every bedroom.
Pull up on the impressive round driveway and marvel at an exterior equally as enchanting as its bright and beautiful interiors. The grand entry welcomes you through twin doors to a spacious and opulent living area. Convene at the large dining table for some local wine and nibbles or visit the game room for an evening of festive family fun.
If the sun is shining (and it likely will be!), take a dip in the swimming pool or strengthen your golfing skills on the 6-hole putting green.
Lastly, remember to wander through the adjacent Figtree Park, where you might catch a glimpse of our resident kangaroos!
- Swimming pool
- Your very own putting green
- Fully equipped games room
Book a luxury stay for your Hunter Valley Christmas
With so many spectacular experiences to enjoy with the whole family, there’s nothing quite like a Hunter Valley Christmas.
Follow up its many festivities with a home away from home just as wonderful. The Vintage Holiday Houses are nestled in the heart of the Hunter Valley. Discover the joys of world-class amenities on your private villa’s doorstep, including a Greg Norman-designed championship golf course.