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From Holland to the Hunter, Jerry’s train on right track

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A fully-electric passenger train manufactured in Holland has now found a home at Rydges Resort Hunter Valley.

It’s all part of hotel owner and Schwartz Family Company (SFC) director Dr Jerry Schwartz and EVT’s strategy to repower the Lovedale premises as a premier destination in NSW… and beyond.

A wide range of initiatives are planned over the next 12 months, including a new tour celebrating local artists from the region, a substantial expansion of family fun facilities, three self-guided walking trails, glamping and the upcoming Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival.

Photo: Rod Thompson

It follows the development of an equestrian arena, which recently hosted its inaugural event, Equestrian in the Vines, and proved highly popular.

Permanent amenities, including a grandstand, will be built over the next year to stage future riding competitions.

But, it was the flashy white train, which attracted everyone’s attention on Monday 22 May following its unveiling.

Boasting three air-conditioned carriages, and access for people with a disability, it can seat 52 passengers.

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel and Schwartz Family Company director Dr Jerry Schwartz. Photo: Rod Thompson

“Who doesn’t love a train?” Dr Schwartz said.

“I have five smaller ones, which are more or less kids’ railroad cars, from the same company.

“However, this train happened to be a new product that is made in the Netherlands.

“So, the company contacted me and asked if I’d like to have the adult version… it’s fantastic.

“For such a large resort, it’s about 700 acres, the problem’s often moving people around and we’d rather they didn’t use their cars.

“It just fitted our needs perfectly.

“At this stage, it’s only for guests.

“But, we’ll see what happens down the track… we might use it for kangaroo tours or something else.

“I’m not discounting anything.”

Photo: Rod Thompson

Dr Schwartz admitted he was also a big fan of the walking trails.

“There are three walks: short, medium and long,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The smallest one is actually the route I designed with my kids during COVID.

“We’ll have artificial animals along the track, for example a kangaroo, so there’ll be points of interest for the youngsters.

“It travels to the creek, while the longest trail is about 5km.

“I’m very excited; it’s good to work with a partner, who is also as enthusiastic as myself.”

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel and Schwartz Family Company director Dr Jerry Schwartz with the fully-electric train. Photo: Rod Thompson

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel said the affiliation would “deliver a truly unique guest experience”.

“The property is a sprawling playground in the heart of wine country and a destination in its own right, with something for everyone,” he added.

What’s coming:

  • Tour celebrating local artists from the region: To enhance guests’ experience of the local area, a Hunter Valley Art, Wine and Food Hop tour will be offered every Saturday, on the hour between 10am and 5pm, visiting eight locations showcasing the best of art, scenery, food and wine. For more details, visit www.huntervalleyarthop.com.au
  • Substantial expansion of family fun facilities: The resort’s extensive existing children’s facilities such as the Water Dragon Kids Club, train and pony rides, and year-round heated water park will be expanded further with the addition of a Ferris wheel, eight-metre high 22-metre long three-lane water slide, roller coaster, pirate ship and jumping castles.
  • Three self-guided walking trails: They have just been introduced with the Creek, Vineyard and Estate walks, giving guests the opportunity to appreciate the stunning countryside and peaceful vistas.
  • Glamping: Plans are underway for the addition of glamping facilities and cabin accommodation for school groups.
  • Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival: The resort will stage the event on 24 June, showcasing the region’s finest wine, craft beer and, for the first time, distilleries. For more details, visit www.huntervalleywinefestival.com

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