The Hunter Valley NSW

It was a somewhat tainted experience for us in Cessnock, The Hunter Valley, NSW. We were robbed on our first night in town. They took our car keys which cost $850 to replace as well as my handbag, wallet with all the cards and cash, sun glasses, my husbands backpack full of goodies and the list goes on. In the night while we were all asleep, it's scary to think that criminals came to our van and stole our belongings without even waking us up! When you are travelling from place to place I think it is easy to become complacent. The amount of times I have seen people go out and leave their van unlocked, or leave valuables under their awnings is amazing. This was a massive wake up call for us, lock your van when you are asleep, lock your van when you leave it, don't leave valuables under your awning or gazebo or in your car!

Without our car keys, on our first day in the Hunter Valley we were lucky enough to be within walking distance to a local fair in town. The kids don't know or understand why we can't take the car and we want to keep it that way. The fair provided some relief and fun for us, as well as providing the much needed wine tasting too. The kids were entertained jumping in the bouncy castle, they took part in a magic show and after some hot chips and a quick beer at the local pub we were ready to head back and meet the key cutting guy. Now with a fresh set of keys we can put it all behind us and try to enjoy our time in this beautiful part of Australia.

If you are travelling with kids and absolute must visit are the Hunter Gardens. I can't help but think how much my nieces and nephews back in Western Australia would love this place. There is a big story book garden with all of the children's favourite tales on display as well as a variety of interesting themed gardens. We also take a visit to the Hunter Distillery, pop into  
Harrigans Irish Pub for a beer, have pizzas for lunch at the Matilda Bay Brewery, visit the Smelly Cheese Factory, Tempus Two winery and of course the Hunter Valley Chocolate Factory. The Hunter Valley reminds me very much of Margaret River, WA.