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  • Liane Morris

Walking with Dinosaurs at Hunter Valley Gardens!

The Hunter Valley Gardens are located in an ancient landscape that once erupted with the fiery lava flows of volcanoes, still evident in the rich red soils that provide the local wine industry with perfect growing conditions today. So it’s apt that once a year, the giants that once roamed the earth return in the annual April School Holiday Mega Creatures display to the delight of junior palaeontologists and their families everywhere. Now in its eighth year, the event is open from Saturday, 1 April until Sunday, 30 April and is the perfect day (or night) out.


At this year’s event, you’ll discover rides for all ages, Easter Egg hunts, interactive fossil digs and giant animatronic animals for the whole family to enjoy. With over 14 hectares of immaculate gardens, manicured lawns, 6000 trees, 600,000 shrubs, and over 1 million ground cover plants, plus waterfalls, statues, murals, and much more, Hunter Valley Gardens has planned the perfect activities to get your family outdoors and enjoying the fresh air these holidays.

Each year the team behind this family favourite event create new displays and experiences so that no two years are ever the same. They work all year round to ensure that the best ideas come to fruition, designing many of the displays themselves with state-of-the art animatronics and speciality lighting and sourcing them internationally. The gardens are divided into 11 zones with different creatures to discover as you wander through the beautiful landscape.

This year there are newly hatched baby creatures in the Storybook Garden and a wonderful photo opportunity where you can take photos of your little one hatching out of a giant dino egg. Discover a kaleidoscope of colour in the Butterfly Garden with giant butterflies (some with a four-metre wingspan), bugs, six-metre tall flowers, and insects such as 2-metre bees and 4-metre dragonflies. There are frosty creatures such as Woolly Mammoths and Sabre-Toothed Tigers in the Ice Age Storybook Garden and giant snakes and lizards on Reptile Road.

Pre-historic creatures come to life in the Walk with the Dinosaurs Border Garden and Dino Land with new dinosaurs this year, including a Triceratops skull, a Chasmosaurus, a Styracosaurus, a Parasaurolophus and an extra Ankylosaurus and old favourites, T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Spinosaurus. Everyone’s favourite dinosaur, the T-Rex, will be roaming around looking for his next feed and posing for the odd photo opportunity. Don’t miss the very popular Boneyard, where junior archaeologists get to dig deep and discover mythical creature facts, figures and hidden fossils.

As the sun sets at Hunter Valley Gardens, and in a first for this year, there will be a new night-time tour – the Mega Creatures Night Safari, led by the Pretty Amazing Jono as the Dino Keeper wearing a safari suit and carrying a walkie talkie. Keep an eye out for stomping dinosaurs that wander through the Gardens as you encounter life-sized mega creatures in the dark, and hear the roars and the mysterious rustlings as you creep through the grounds. It’s an experience the kids will be sure to remember. Step back in time and explore Dino Land inhabited by prehistoric giants, including Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Triceratops and lots more. Let your imagination take flight as the specialty lighting makes all the pre-historic and mythical creatures come alive at night in a way that will be equal parts enchanting and scary (in a fun way).

If you’re hungry from all that exploring, a wide range of delicious food options are available. And, of course, once you’ve finished exploring and eating, grab a ride token and head over to the famous Hunter Valley Gardens’ rides. Soak up the vintage atmosphere of the Italian-built traditional Venetian Carousel, fly 11 metres above the ground and get your thrills on with the Swing Chair, have some twist and twirl fun in the Tea Cup or speed down the 35-metre Superslide that stands 12 metres high – guaranteed to keep even your teenagers happy. The 25-metre-tall Giant Ferris Wheel offers spectacular, panoramic views of the Gardens, surrounding mountains and wineries and will be your only chance to see the dinosaurs and other mega creatures from above – a firm favourite for all family members because you can sit back, take a breath, relax and enjoy the view.

To purchase tickets and show timings for Mega Creatures and Easter School Holiday activities visit


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