Never run out of family fun ideas with 100 ideas for summer fun!
100 Fun Family Things to Do This Summer in Newcastle & Surrounds
Here’s a list of 100 free and low-cost activities and places in Newcastle & surrounds to enjoy.
(It’s also a Printable TMP100 Fun Family Activities in case you prefer a paper copy).
- Visit the animals at Blackbutt Reserve. Stay for a reptile show on 11am at weekends and during school holidays.
- Go for a play at the amazing Speers Point Park.
- Watch a magnificent summer sunset.
- Go for a ride on a train. Suggestions: Edgeworth Trains, Walka Works Trains, Richmond Vale Railway or just the State Rail trains on the Sydney or Hunter Line.
- Visit a community garden and water or weed the plants or join others in a working bee. Suggestions: Laneway Park in Adamstown, Fig Tree Community Garden at Wickham Park or Warners Bay Community Garden.
- Visit Newcastle Museum. There are so many things to do in this fantastic family-friendly museum. The interactive and kid-friendly Humanoid Discovery is on until 30 January 2017.
- Walk up to Nobbys Headland. It’s currently open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
- Have a play at Toronto Foreshore Playground followed by a walk to the boat marina.
- Visit Fort Scratchley and do a tunnel tour.
- Get back to nature with a day out at Kooragang Wetlands at Ash Island.
- Drive up to the top of Mount Sugarloaf and see the view.
- Lie down, relax and have a cloud watching session.
- Check out the photos at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at Lovett Gallery. It’s on until 25 February 2017.
- Go for a swim at the ocean baths at Newcastle or Merewether. (Make sure you check the cleaning schedule though!)
- Walk along Newcastle Harbour from Nobbys to Wickham. Optional stop for icecream at Queens Wharf.
- Fly a kite on a windy day.
- Go camping. Suggestions: In a campground, in your backyard or even your living room.
- Walk or cycle along the foreshore of Lake Macquarie. Suggestions: Warners Bay to Speers Point or Eleebana to Valentine.
- Get your photo taken with the Brett Whitely egg sculpture in front of Newcastle Art Gallery. From the right angle, the egg and nest sits right on your head.
- Take the ferry to Stockton and back (or vice-versa if you live on the Stockton side).
- Visit Newcastle Art Gallery and enjoy free ARTCART drop-in art activities on weekend mornings. Also, check out the John Olsen: The City’s Son exhibition and pick up a copy of the Children’s Art Trail, a do-it-yourself Gallery activity guide for kids to complete while they view the exhibition. The exhibition runs until 19 February 2017.
- Take your little pirate and visit the Newcastle Maritime Museum.
- Get your kids to join the Summer Reading Club at their local library.
- Enjoy the views from The Obelisk in The Hill in Newcastle.
- Participate in Junior Ranger Fun Day at Blackbutt Reserve on Tuesday 17 January 2017 and enjoy environmental art & activities, games, critter encounters and jumping castles.
- Visit a local market. There’s heaps to choose from around the region. Suggestions: Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Farmers Markets, Olive Tree Market, Hunt&Gather Markets, Adamstown Markets and Sacred Tree Market.
- Go for a picnic.
- Walk or cycle through Fernleigh Tunnel on the Fernleigh Track.
- Stay up late and star gaze.
- Hike along the Yuerlarbah Walk at Glenrock Lagoon.
- Splash around at an aquatic playground. Suggestions: Lambton Pool or Maitland Pool.
- Make a giant sandcastle on the beach.
- Visit Blue Gum Hills State Park in Minmi and learn about the park’s mining heritage. Check out the maze and mining themed playground.
- Go snorkelling at rock pools: Suggestion: Nobbys Beach, Little Beach at Nelson Bay.
- Visit Stockton Beach. It’s the largest moving coastal sand mass in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Enjoy Bathers Way from Nobbys Headland to Merewether Baths.
- Relax in a rotunda. Suggestions: Lambton Park, King Edward Park, Centennial Park, Dangar Park in Mayfield and Maitland Park.
- Play hide and seek in a local park.
- Get your photo taken in front of a Mister Trevor Dickinson mural. Suggestions: Newcastle Museum, Mayfield Pool or Merewether Tunnel.
- Wander through the Sculpture Park at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery in Booragul.
- Enjoy some outdoor music at Friday Chill in Pacific Park in Newcastle or Music in the Podium at Warners Bay.
- Walk along Green Point Reserve between Belmont and Valentine.
- Wander through the Garside Gardens, the sunken garden at King Edward Park.
- Visit the historic village of Catherine Hill Bay.
- Go for a swim at the Bogey Hole when it reopens.
- Roll down a hill. Suggestions: King Edward Park, Foreshore Park or Mount Sugarloaf.
- Enjoy a month of free art actitivities and fun for everyone during Free Art January at Maitland Regional Art Gallery
- Go see a movie at the Heddon Greta Drive-in.
- Visit the Tree of Knowledge in Wickham, one of the oldest and most historic trees in Newcastle.
- Watch pro surfers at Surfest at Merewether Beach between 20 and 26 February 2017.
- Explore the caves at Caves Beach at low tide and in calm sea conditions.
- Do a self-guided tour of Maitland Gaol. (Snitch’s Gaol Exploration is suitable for primary school children)
- Do a torchlight tour of your backyard at night and see what you can find.
- Walk a section of the Great North Walk. The Yuerlabah Track starts at Queens Wharf in Newcastle and finishes at Teralba. (Smaller sections can be tackled!)
- Visit the historic village of Morpeth.
- Spot a rainbow. Hint: You can always find them in fountains especially Civic Park in Newcastle.
- Get your hands on a large box and let your kids’ imagination go wild. Or join the Cardboard Box Challenge in Cooks Hill on 21 January 2017.
- Go dipnetting at Hunter Wetlands Centre.
- Visit a new park or playground that you haven’t visited before. There’s plenty listed in the Parks section of The Mummy Project.
- Try to spot koalas at Tilligerry Habitat at Tanilba Bay.
- Take your family to the movies to see a new-release movie. Suggestion: Reading Cinemas Charlestown and smaller theatres like Lake Cinema in Boolaroo or The Regal Cinema in Birmingham Gardens.
- Fly on a flying fox at Wickham Park, Speers Point Park or Fingal Bay Playground
- Visit AA park on King Street in Newcastle. This tiny park with the metal train on the wall is a great little spot of history.
- Walk along the river at Maitland and see how high the water rose during the flood of 1955.
- Grow a vegetable garden from seedlings and eat what you grow.
- Visit a marina and play “I wish that was my boat”. Suggestions: Wickham, Nelson Bay and Belmont.
- Get some friends together and play cricket in the park.
- Go geocaching. What’s geocaching? It’s a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.
- Watch a fireworks display. Suggestions: New Year’s Eve, Australia Day.
- Go boating on Lake Macquarie whether it’s a tinnie, a ferry or your own toy boat.
- Visit the cannons at Gregson Park in Hamilton.
- Climb up 180 steps to the top of Queens Wharf Tower on Newcastle Foreshore.
- Visit the Canoe Pool and see if you can find remnants of the concrete Map of The World.
- Walk up to top of Tomaree Head Summit in Port Stephens. For those with young kids, drive to the top of Gan Gan Lookout at Nelson Bay for a panoramic view of Port Stephens and surrounds.
- Visit Rathmines Park, former home to the RAAF Catalina Flying Boat Base. Now home to an amazing plane-themed playground.
- Play barefoot bowls at a local bowling club.
- Visit a local skate park and skate, scoot and bike or just watch the local talent.
- Explore rock pools at the beach at low tide. Suggestion Merewether, Caves Beach.
- Walk through the boardwalk above the mangroves in Carrington.
- Spot a coal train or cruise ship leaving or entering Newcastle Port, the largest bulk shipping port on the Australian east coast.
- Cook up a barbecue in a park. Food always taste better when it’s cooked and eaten outside.
- Visit Walka Water Works recreation area. It features a playground, walking tracks and miniature trains on Sunday.
- Explore Shipwreck Walk, a walk along the Stockton Breakwater which incorporates the wrecks and hulks of several iron and steel ships within the structure.
- Visit the Convict Lumber Yard in Newcastle, a historical site dating back to 1801.
- Visit Brickworks Park in Wallsend, former home of a brickworks. Now a tranquil spot to go birdwatching.
- Go to a headland and watch for dolphins. Suggestions: Fort Scratchley, Nobbys Headland, Redhead or Dudley Bluff.
- Make a time capsule to open in a year.
- Walk along the Anzac Memorial Walk and enjoy sweeping ocean and city views.
- Check out the historic headstones at Cathedral Park adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral.
- Visit the Fairy Garden in Broadmeadow.
- Walk or run a 5K ParkRun
- Watch a movie under the stars. Suggestion: Newcastle Permanent Cinema Under the Stars in Newcastle on 7 January, in Maitland on 13 January and 20 January in Singleton.
- Visit Watagans National Park, an hour from Newcastle.
- Visit the family-friendly Blacksmiths Beach.
- Have a play at the brand new playground at Nesca Park in Cooks Hill.
- Have a picnic at Finnan Park at Grahamstown Dam recreation area.
- Play Frisbee Golf at Jesmond Park or at Styles Point Reserve in Rathmines.
- Visit Little Beach in Port Stephens, a top summer spot for families.
- Visit the Hunter Region Botanical Gardens at Heatherbrae.
- Try orienteering at a permanent course at Blue Gum Hills Regional Park in Minmi. Orienteering involves using a detailed map and usually a compass to navigate one’s way round a course with designated control points (check points), which are drawn on the map.
Always check opening days & hours before setting out to avoid disappointment.
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Any other suggestions?
Guide to locations on photo collage (left to right)
1 – Nobbys Beach
2 – Newcastle Museum
3 – Nobbys Lighthouse
4 – Wickham Community Garden – next to Wickham Park.
5 & 6- Newcastle Museum
7 – Connolly Park in Carrington
8 – Blue Gum Hills State Park in Minmi
9 – Newcastle beach next to Canoe Pool
10 – Empire Park in Bar Beach near Tennis courts
11 – Walka Water Works
12 – Wallsend Brickworks park
13 – Fairy Garden at Broadmeadow
14 – Lambton pool
15 – Mural at side of Newcastle Museum nearest to pedestrian rail crossing
16 Blackbutt Reserve playground – Carnley Avenue entrance
17 – Gregson Park in Hamilton
18 – top left – Caves Beach, top right Islington Park bottom left Koalas at Blackbutt, bottom right Jesmond Park Frisbee
19 – top left – Rathmines Park, top right Hunter Wetlands Centre playground bottom left Civic Park in Newcastle, playground at Blackbutt, Carnley Avenue
20 – Koorangang Island (Ash Island) Reserve
21 – Edgeworth Trains
22 – Maitland Pool.
23 – Newcastle Foreshore near Scratchleys.
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