What do you get when let a load of small children loose in a pile of freshly made snow? Well, besides a non-stop onslaught of snowballs? You get an off-key virtual musical extravaganza as dozens of Anna, Elsa, Sven and Olaf obsessed kids sing their favourite songs from Disney’s Frozen. On ice. And on loop.
While most sensible people head to the Hunter Valley for the wine, on this occasion we’re going cold turkey. Very cold turkey! In fact the action is positively arctic at Hunter Valley Gardens festival of all things wintery, Snow Time in the Garden.
But before The Eats Worlds join in on the frosty fun, we need to feed our faces. So we head straight for the Frosty’s Food Court market stalls and shovel down delicious Kransky Rolls, still warm cookies, churros and steaming hot chocolate.
Both my kids are huge fans of winter, and barely feel the cold. That may have something to do with their time in the IVF Esky… Sugarpuff’s embryonic pseudonym was Snowflake after all! Given the choice they’d both probably choose a holiday on ice than one in the sun (much to the chagrin of their tropic loving parents). So with more than a dozen icy activities including tobogganing, ice skating, snow ball throwing, husky dog racing demonstrations and mechanical Snow Board riding on offer at the annual event my ice, ice babies are in their element.
Our first stop post-gutsing is to watch as ice sculptor Kenji Ogawa attacks a block of ice with a chainsaw and some chisels, turning it into a spectacular ice sculpture that even Queen Elsa would be proud of. An awe-struck Raffles declares him an ice Ninja and decides to add ice-carving to his ever growing list of future career options.
At the 25-metre toboggan run we take turns slipping, sliding and spinning down the speedy run and the ice skating is a hoot. Skates are provided free of charge, as are helmets for under tens and Bobby Seals (skating frames) for littler skaters. Raffles holds on to the back of a seal for balance while Sugarpuff rides it, giggling happily as her brother slavishly pushes her around the ice and Mr Eats World and I fall on our arses with humiliating frequency.
It is the outdoor snow play area proves to be the biggest hit with my little ice cubes. There are many snowmen being built by many children and, unsurprisingly, they’re all called Olaf and love warm hugs! Ours is a slightly anarchic Olaf, rocking a punk vibe with his red mohawk.
The dedicated snowball throwing area is where we discover that our previously sweet-natured children also have cold hearts. Our vicious twosome turn on us in an instant gleefully burying us in a hail of snowballs. The only way out is the promise of another session on ice, more food and face painting in the Storybook Garden where Sugarpuff requests they paint her to look like Queen Anna and Raffles asks to be made up like a moose!
I think it might be time to find the wine…