ellaslist reviews the Hunter Valley Zoo

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By: Sarah Stores, ellaslist explorer

Sarah, one of our ellaslist Explorers, and her family stumbled across the Hunter Valley Zoo during a weekend away. Looking for somewhere new to discover, as well as an activity to tire the kids out before the journey home, the zoo fitted the bill perfectly.

Amazing collection of animals

There were a great selection of Australian animals; kangaroos, Tassie Devils, wombats, dingoes and koalas, so close you could reach out and touch them! We found the range of animals different to that at Taronga Zoo, including a number of exotic animals. It was some of the more unusual animals that were the biggest hit with our kids including the camels, ostriches and serval cats.

Getting up close to my 18 month old

The biggest hit for our two boys were the two walk-in enclosures where they could feed the animals. The first large enclosure was full of wallabies, including an albino wallaby. They were very gentle and patient with my excited boys. We spent almost an hour talking to them, patting them and feeding them. They were the same size as my 18 month old and he was fascinated with them. He ended up sitting down and having deep conversations with them followed by kisses! At one point one of the wallabies reached out and appeared to give him a hug – it was amazing!

Amazing stuff for all ages

The second enclosure with sheep, goats and deer was a huge thumbs up with my older boy who was pretending to be very brave in the face of some of the taller animals. For the adults, the wombat feeding display and the albino peacocks were really impressive.

What makes it so great?

  • The animals are clearly well-loved here

  • The facilities are superbly-designed and well-maintained

  • There is lots of room to run around but it’s not too big

  • The animals are close and easily accessible even for younger kids

  • There are lots of areas to sit and have a party or BBQ

We’ll be returning again!

We’re hoping to return again soon on our next trip to the beautiful Hunter Valley wine region.


  • Open: 9 am to 4 pm daily except Wednesdays during school term time

  • Cost: from $22 for adults, $19.50 concession, child 3-15yrs $13, children under 3yrs FREE or Family Passes $65 (2 adults + 2 children, extra children $12 each)

  • Location: Lomas Lane, Nulkaba (about 5 minutes from Cessnock), around 2 hours from Sydney.

  • Telephone: (02) 4990 7714

Find more details about the Hunter Valley Zoo

I’m Sarah. A Mum of two over-active boys and a self-confessed Sydney tragic. I love living in, exploring, discovering and experiencing all Sydney has to offer. Having lived in Sydney most of my life I have loved exploring it as a grown up but now as a Mum I’m relishing re-discovering my passion for Sydney through the eyes of my boys. I love planning and executing our regular family outings to explore new things in Sydney. As a working Mum, it is a great way for our family to stay connected and have fun together. I would love to spend all my time travelling the world but given I live in the real world of mortgages and jobs we see exploring Sydney as tourists as the next best thing. You can follow our adventures on Instagram at SarahStores







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