While Day 1 was only really a half day, it was still a long one and had taken it out of all of us. Day 2 started a little earlier then we would have hoped, but that’s the life of a parent.
A quick escape into the Hunter Valley was the perfect way to not only celebrate our little guy turning 2 (and us surviving 2 years of parenthood), but it was also the last chance before our little family becomes bigger – When 3 become 4. . .
If this is your first stop and you have just read that this is ‘Part 2’ then you probably should check out Our Quick Escape – Part 1 first. Don’t worry ill wait for you. . . OK your back? Let’s move on. . .
Day 2 – Early Rise
Yesterday was a long day that ended up with the family in bed by 8pm, the next day started however with the family awake at 2am. Whether it was Toddler Sleep Regressions , a sick child, sleeping in a foreign environment, or simply our toddler deciding that Mum and Dad were not getting a good night sleep. We aren’t sure why the little guy decided to wake up and not go back to sleep for 2 and half hours. Fortunately once he did fall back to sleep he didn’t wake up until around 9am.
So what started as an early rise, ended up being a late one with us not leaving the hotel until close to 10am.
On holidays its important to not only enjoy the time with each other and the places you go, but also the food you eat. Keeping this in mind we found another cafe advertising that not only were they open for breakfast, but they had Coffee – Habit or Necessity – Definitely a Necessity at this point.
The place we found was “Oscar’s Hunter Valley”.
Note, I must be honest with you, it wasn’t so much that we ‘found’ the place, we had been given some vouchers for various places around the Hunter Valley by our family, 25% off of the total bill was reason enough to go searching.
Was the food as good as it looks? Absolutely!
Was the experience as smooth as the Coffee? Not exactly
As I mentioned earlier, the little guy didn’t sleep the best the night before. As any parent would tell you, a tired toddler who at this stage we actually think is teething (when does it end?), doesn’t mix well with waiting for breakfast. Not that we had to wait that long, again the service was pretty good. However as soon as our food came out, our toddler decided that something else needed to come out too and Dad and Son went searching for a more appropriate place to clean up.
Snow? In this part of the Country?
One of the reasons we decided to visit the Hunter Valley for our Quick Escape was that the Hunter Valley Gardens were running their annual “Snowtime in the Hunter” event.
What? Snow? I thought Australia was warm and sunny, not cold and snowy. Well that’s true most of the time however like the rest of the world we still have a winter. Although in our part of the country, snow is almost unheard of. Normally if we wanted to enjoy it, it would mean a 7 hour drive. While it isn’t the same, its still a good bit of fun for kids.
While it wasn’t much, the little guy had a bit of fun playing in the snow. There was also a ice skating rink setup, however given the extra cost involved and our toddler’s mixed emotional state, we gave that a miss.
We did however try out the toboggan slide, and while the time to line up was longer then the experience itself it was still fun, at least for Dad, there was no way the little guy was having another go.
As day wore on, more and more people arrived, given the relatively small area that had ‘snow’ we didn’t hang around there too much longer.
We did manage to build this little snowman though – you can tell we don’t see snow often.
Ride and Slide
Outside of the ‘snow’ area had a few rides and food places setup. Our little guy was fascinated watching some of the rides as they activated, unfortunately for him but fortunately for our wallets, at the age of 2 he is still too small to ride them.
Thankfully they did have an area setup for kids in this situation – an inflatable fun zone! Of course our child being the child he is wasn’t content with simply climbing and sliding on the areas he could do himself. He needed Dad to help him climb up the biggest and slide down with him – over and over again.
When we eventually were able to drag our toddler away from the inflatable fun, we did so by taking him on the merry-go-round. This was a ride the entire family could go on. While it was short lived, we did manage to get a few smiles from the little guy.
A couple of hours in the sun meant it was time for a cold drink, and? you guessed it, fresh coffee. Coffee for Dad, Hot Chocolate for Mum, and a Baby-cino for the little guy.
While enjoying our drinks we also noticed a stall selling various balloons. Now you probably know by now that our toddler is obsessed with dinosaurs. He also knows a few different animals like cows and dogs.
One place we had driven past a few times but not stopped at was the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company. A small cafe with a chocolate shop attached where they make there own fudge onsite. If you like your sweet stuff then it is definitely a place to visit. While Mum was having a look around it was time for another energy boost.
As we still had some daylight hours left we decided to pop into shop that advertised a huge selection of beers from around the world, along with a range of local wines, and tastings on them everyday.
This stop was purely for Dad as none of this interests a 2 year old, and as you know Down Under Mum is pregnant. This allowed me to sample a couple of Hunter Red Wines. At least that way we could say we tasted some wines while staying in the heart of the Hunter Valley Wine Region.
When we returned to the hotel we noticed a sign saying every night at 6pm (just after dark) the dancing fountain light show was on. Given this was our last night and we were free we thought we should check it out.
While relatively short lived, it did hold the attention of our toddler until we decided the cold was too much.
It was then time for dinner, which after the previous nights attempt we were a little nervous about. It did go off without a hitch though! Turns out we must have got there just at the right time as our food came out relatively quick, and when we went back to order some dessert, there was a wait time of over an hour – so we skipped dessert and ordered it from room service instead.
As it was still early at this stage and we had now eaten we decided the little guy could have another go at driving the arcade games since he enjoyed it so much the night before. I think we underestimated how much he enjoyed them because we were there for awhile – again not actually playing them, just pretending (although he didn’t know that).
Eventually it was time for bed, and while he wasn’t overly impressed at leaving them, he was too tired to fight it.
Day 2 was a full day, but it wasn’t the end of our escape into the Hunter Valley. Stay tuned for Part 3.