Never run out of family fun ideas with 100 ideas for summer fun!

100 Fun Family Things

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).

  1. Visit the animals at Blackbutt Reserve. Stay for a reptile show on 11am at weekends and during school holidays.
  2. Go for a play at the amazing Speers Point Park.
  3.  Watch a magnificent summer sunset.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.
  6.  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.
  7.  Walk up to Nobbys Headland. It’s currently open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
  8.  Have a play at Toronto Foreshore Playground followed by a walk to the boat marina.
  9.  Visit Fort Scratchley and do a tunnel tour.
  10.  Get back to nature with a day out at  Kooragang Wetlands at Ash Island.
  11.  Drive up to the top of Mount Sugarloaf and see the view.
  12.  Lie down, relax and have a cloud watching session.
  13.  Check out the photos at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at Lovett Gallery. It’s on until 25 February 2017.
  14.  Go for a swim at the ocean baths at Newcastle or Merewether. (Make sure you check the cleaning schedule though!)
  15. Walk along Newcastle Harbour from Nobbys to Wickham. Optional stop for icecream at Queens Wharf.
  16.  Fly a kite on a windy day.
  17.  Go camping. Suggestions: In a campground, in your backyard or even your living room.
  18.  Walk or cycle along the foreshore of Lake Macquarie. Suggestions: Warners Bay to Speers Point or Eleebana to Valentine.
  19.  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.
  20.  Take the ferry to Stockton and back (or vice-versa if you live on the Stockton side).
  21. 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.
  22. Take your little pirate and visit the Newcastle Maritime Museum.
  23.  Get your kids to join the Summer Reading Club at their local library.
  24.  Enjoy the views from The Obelisk in The Hill in Newcastle.
  25.  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.
  26.  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.
  27.  Go for a picnic.
  28.  Walk or cycle through Fernleigh Tunnel on the Fernleigh Track.
  29.  Stay up late and star gaze.
  30.  Hike along the Yuerlarbah Walk at  Glenrock Lagoon.
  31.  Splash around at an aquatic playground. Suggestions: Lambton Pool or Maitland Pool.
  32.  Make a giant sandcastle on the beach.
  33.  Visit Blue Gum Hills State Park in Minmi and learn about the park’s mining heritage. Check out the maze and mining themed playground.
  34.  Go snorkelling at rock pools: Suggestion: Nobbys Beach, Little Beach at Nelson Bay.
  35.  Visit Stockton Beach. It’s the largest moving coastal sand mass in the Southern Hemisphere.
  36.  Enjoy Bathers Way from Nobbys Headland to Merewether Baths.
  37.  Relax in a rotunda. Suggestions: Lambton Park, King Edward Park, Centennial Park, Dangar Park in Mayfield and Maitland Park.
  38.  Play hide and seek in a local park.
  39.  Get your photo taken in front of a Mister Trevor Dickinson mural. Suggestions: Newcastle Museum, Mayfield Pool or Merewether Tunnel.
  40.  Wander through the Sculpture Park at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery in Booragul.
  41.  Enjoy some outdoor music at Friday Chill in Pacific Park in Newcastle or Music in the Podium at Warners Bay.
  42.  Walk along Green Point Reserve between Belmont and Valentine.
  43.  Wander through the Garside Gardens, the sunken garden at King Edward Park.
  44.  Visit the historic village of Catherine Hill Bay.
  45. Go for a swim at the Bogey Hole when it reopens.
  46.  Roll down a hill. Suggestions: King Edward Park, Foreshore Park or Mount Sugarloaf.
  47.  Enjoy a month of free art actitivities and fun for everyone during Free Art January at Maitland Regional Art Gallery
  48.  Go see a movie at the Heddon Greta Drive-in.
  49.  Visit the Tree of Knowledge in Wickham, one of the oldest and most historic trees in Newcastle.
  50.  Watch pro surfers at Surfest at Merewether Beach between 20 and 26 February 2017.
  51.  Explore the caves at Caves Beach at low tide and in calm sea conditions.
  52.  Do a self-guided tour of Maitland Gaol. (Snitch’s Gaol Exploration is suitable for primary school children)
  53. Do a torchlight tour of your backyard at night and see what you can find.
  54.  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!)
  55.  Visit the historic village of Morpeth.
  56.  Spot a rainbow. Hint: You can always find them in fountains especially Civic Park in Newcastle.
  57.  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.
  58.  Go dipnetting at Hunter Wetlands Centre.
  59.  Visit a new park or playground that you haven’t visited before. There’s plenty listed in the Parks section of The Mummy Project.
  60.  Try to spot koalas at Tilligerry Habitat at Tanilba Bay.
  61.  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.
  62.  Fly on a flying fox at Wickham Park, Speers Point Park or Fingal Bay Playground
  63. 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.
  64.  Walk along the river at Maitland and see how high the water rose during the flood of 1955.
  65.  Grow a vegetable garden from seedlings and eat what you grow.
  66.  Visit a marina and play “I wish that was my boat”. Suggestions: Wickham, Nelson Bay and Belmont.
  67.  Get some friends together and play cricket in the park.
  68.  Go geocaching. What’s geocaching? It’s a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.
  69.  Watch a fireworks display. Suggestions: New Year’s Eve, Australia Day.
  70.  Go boating on Lake Macquarie whether it’s a tinnie, a ferry or your own toy boat.
  71.  Visit the cannons at Gregson Park in Hamilton.
  72.  Climb up 180 steps to the top of Queens Wharf Tower on Newcastle Foreshore.
  73.  Visit the Canoe Pool and see if you can find remnants of the concrete Map of The World.
  74.  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.
  75.  Visit Rathmines Park, former home to the RAAF Catalina Flying Boat Base. Now home to an amazing plane-themed playground.
  76.  Play barefoot bowls at a local bowling club.
  77.  Visit a local skate park and skate, scoot and bike or just watch the local talent.
  78.  Explore rock pools at the beach at low tide. Suggestion Merewether, Caves Beach.
  79.  Walk through the boardwalk above the mangroves in Carrington.
  80.  Spot a coal train or cruise ship leaving or entering Newcastle Port, the largest bulk shipping port on the Australian east coast.
  81.  Cook up a barbecue in a park. Food always taste better when it’s cooked and eaten outside.
  82.  Visit Walka Water Works recreation area. It features a playground, walking tracks and miniature trains on Sunday.
  83.  Explore Shipwreck Walk, a walk along the Stockton Breakwater which incorporates the wrecks and hulks of several iron and steel ships within the structure.
  84.  Visit the Convict Lumber Yard in Newcastle, a historical site dating back to 1801.
  85.  Visit Brickworks Park in Wallsend, former home of a brickworks. Now a tranquil spot to go birdwatching.
  86.  Go to a headland and watch for dolphins. Suggestions: Fort Scratchley, Nobbys Headland, Redhead or Dudley Bluff.
  87.  Make a time capsule to open in a year.
  88.  Walk along the Anzac Memorial Walk and enjoy sweeping ocean and city views.
  89. Check out the historic headstones at Cathedral Park adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral.
  90.  Visit the Fairy Garden in Broadmeadow.
  91.  Walk or run a 5K ParkRun
  92.  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.
  93.  Visit Watagans National Park, an hour from Newcastle.
  94.  Visit the family-friendly Blacksmiths Beach.
  95.  Have a play at the brand new playground at Nesca Park in Cooks Hill.
  96.  Have a picnic at Finnan Park at Grahamstown Dam recreation area.
  97.  Play Frisbee Golf at Jesmond Park or at Styles Point Reserve in Rathmines.
  98.  Visit Little Beach in Port Stephens, a top summer spot for families.
  99. Visit the Hunter Region Botanical Gardens at Heatherbrae.
  100. 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.

Share your fun with hashtag #TMPFun100 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Subscribe to The Mummy Project Newsletter and get information about family events and activities straight to your email inbox every fortnight. Plus, receive a FREE copy of my e-book ’10 Free & Low Cost Things to Do In Newcastle & The Hunter with Kids’