HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS
Nothing can quite prepare you for your first glimpse of the Hunter Valley Region’s hidden gem – The Hunter Valley Gardens. An oasis among the wineries.
Hunter Valley Gardens in Brief
The Hunter Valley Gardens (HVG), is in the heart of Hunter Valley wine country, located in Pokolbin, New South Wales, Australia. It is two hours drive north of Sydney or approximately 50 minutes of drive from the stunning city of Newcastle. The Hunter Valley Region not only famous for its wineries and fascinating destination but also has this beautiful and amazing garden intwined together for visitors to enjoy.
The Hunter Valley Gardens came to life in 1999, when garden founder Bill Roche embarked on this journey of vision and ambition to build a garden that would be enjoyed by generations to come. With a dedicated team of 40 to 50 landscape gardeners, architechs and engineers worked tirelessly to complete the gardens over four years. Since, it openned its doors in 2003, today, the garden brings joy, excitement to many locals and visitors every year.
The Hunter Valley Garden, the largest display garden in the Southern Hemisphere, is nestled amongst the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges in the heart of the Hunter vineyards. Tucked away from the major city centre and further away into the open space countryside makes it one of the most beautiful gardens in Australia to visit and probably the BEST.
Over the years, Hunter Valley Gardens has been celebrated for hosting one of the country’s finest gardens, including light displays and Christmas displays for families and visitors, in one of the country’s most prestigious region, the Hunter Valley Region. With laid-back atmosphere, Hunter Valley Gardens is beautiful, nature based and a great experience for locals but it is the visitors and Free-Independent Travelers (FIT) like myself that get to experience such stunning gardens.
Once I stepped out into this grogeous spaced packed with plants from all over the world, I was in my glory. I love the city but I LOVE the botanic gardens. This garden is a superb example of a nature-base garden that I really love. The Hunter Valley Gardens span across 25-acres of beautiful green space, containing 10 different themed gardens, accommodation, a shopping village, rides & events and dining. The 10 individually themed garden areas that are meticulously manicured showcase the artistry of gardens around the world like India, the Orient, Italy, China etc and use both native and exotic varieties of plants. There are also sculptures made from trees and stones alike that are worth seeing.
The garden accompanied by tales of collection adventures and diverse features of the garden creates a place of tranquility and inspiration. This garden is incredibly planned out in a way that features different theme display gardens, with over 8 kilometres of pathways, which are made easy for walking. As I wander around, I could sense the commitment to detail and elegance in the way they tend their lawns, garden beds, structures, layout and more. On top of all this, there are some very special landscape features. This garden definitely has the flavours of the gardens around the world. It is an absolute gem for garden lovers, a “Garden of Eden” on earth. The gardens consists of over 6000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and over 1 million ground cover plants, plus waterfalls, statues, murals and much more, who wouldn’t wanna go and experience this lusciously green nature-based garden.
The rose garden was definitely a highlight for me. There are almost 40,000 rose bushes and over 150 different varieties of roses across the whole garden site. Enclosed by four pergolas and features over 6,000 roses full of frangrance and beauty is just incredible to see.
As I entered through this 180 year old antique Indian Gates guarded by bronze elephants, I could feel the aromas of India, with curry plants filling the air with their spicy scent. As I wind my way tthrough the Lilly Pilly hedge, I discovered a superb mosaic of ground covering plants and pebbles and a contemporary garden design featuring Purple Ajuga and Variegated Dward Agapanthus. It is just incredible. I then relaxed in the Indian Tea House finely crafted with tradition Indian embellishments. Yes, it was the perfect shady spot to enjoy the views of this garden and its topiary elephants.
As I crossed the green Chinese slate, I soon entered the Chinese Garden through a traditional Moon Gate flanked by two bronze Temple Guardians. This garden is amazingly stunning and I felt like I was in China. Incorporating traditional elements of rugged rocks, raked decorative gravels and slow growing grass, this garden features Conifers, Camellia Sasanqua, Azaleas, Bamboo and many edible fruits including Cumquats, Mulberries and Persimmons.
This Oriental Garden is truly a place of harmony, balance, and serenity. I just felt so connected as I was surrounded in this pristine environment. The garden is precisly trimmed and manicured with natural curves to make it flow amidst its surroundings. As I sat down to view the carp from the pergola, I could spot one of the many turtles that love to sunbake on the rocks. I could see that this garden is heavily influenced by Japanese and Korean gardens.
As I walk through this garden, it just brought me back to tropical natural waterfalls in Far North Queensland. It features a majestic 10 metre high waterfall and garden beds ablaze with colours. This garden contains an array of evergreen and deciduous trees along with shrubs and flowers that offer beautiful vistas all year round. As I enjoyed the pathways framed by hundreds of roses and took in the spectacular view from the pergola at the top of the waterfall.
This place set out in the style of a true Italian garden jus looks stunning. As I entered, I could see edible plants including lemon, orange, olive trees, lavender and herbs which definitely helped evoke the fragrance of Italy. This Italian Grotto is home to a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi (patron saint of animals and the environment) and is lined with red Bougainvillea, pink Wisteria and cascading Geraniums, Pelargoniums, and many other hidden delights.
This garden is incredibly stunning and I couldn’t get enough of the place once I set my foot on it. The intricate floral beds within manicured box hedging designed to reflect the classic French Parterre style of garden. It is surrounded by intertwined hedges of Hill’s Weeping figs, an Australian native, with European boxwood used to create interesting shapes is just spectacular to see. It also incorporates several hand-carved Indian marble water features and statues representing the Four Seasons. This is a signature garden and a place of romance and elegance. I continued to stroll along the pathways through the gardens and then had to take in the sights from above on the viewing platform. It was just breathtaking.
Among this 14 hectares of beautiful gardens, is the Lake inside the garden . This was my favourite area. It is one of the more secluded areas of the gardens, its waterways are lined by perennial borders that a full of colour throughout the year with plantings of seasonal annuals and spring flowering trees and shrubs. This area is the place that I felt connected to the garden where I could find peace and inspiration. As I wandered around the lake with approximately one and a half kilometres of pathways. The Lakes Walk is the backdrop for the stunning Hunter Valley Gardens Chapel and home to the Lakes Rotunda, which are both very popular for wedding ceremonies.
Such a garden with vast array of flora, meticulously manicured accordingly spreads out over the area, creates a magical feeling, even before I made my way through the grand entrance of the garden. I could see and fee how beautiful this garden is. It is truly a nature wonderland for both young and old. I could sense the reason why Hunter Valley Gardens is such a magical place because it is blessed with an immenssely vast array of flowers, trees and plants. I could feel the vibe that I was in a different world surrounded by never ending blooming of variety of exotic flowers and plants. When most people think of Hunter Valley, they immediately think of wineries and are perhaps unaware of the hidden gem that is located in the area.
As I wondered around this amazing and beautifully designed garden, I began to notice the beauty of the creaion of this garden structure, layout, design and landscapes. The topography of the area has many different features that kept me coming back the following day. Every pathway lead to something different and curiously kept me going on exploring more of the gardens. With over 25 acres of international display gardens, gave me the imaginary thought that I was walking in the garden parks around the world without leaving the state. These variety of featured gardens, which are carefully planned and planted created stunning views and experiences for me to enjoy and any visitors to the region.
The Gardens creative flair and attention to detail is still evident as I wondered around, from the use of hedges, gates and garden ornmentation, to the various vistas which “create an excitemen of anticipation”. The beauty of visiting this beautiful garden in the wine country is the collective of flowers, trees and shrubs, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit the garden, there is always something new and exciting to see. When all the plants are in their glory, it creates a “Garden of Eden” on earth, displaying their array of spectacular colours, shapes, brightness, smell and attractiveness.