Australia Day is coming up and it’s a day for Australians to celebrate Australia and its people and history. To mark the day, there are loads of family-friendly events happening around Newcastle and the Hunter.

Newcastle

In Newcastle, there are many smaller Australia Day celebrations happening including events at Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle Museum and all of the local swimming pools.

Some of the highlights include:

Australian Bush Day Experience, Blackbutt Reserve (10am – 1pm)

Experience Australia day in beautiful Blackbutt  at Richley Reserve with fun activities for the whole family. Come along and enjoy the reptile show, slip down a water slide, bounce on the jumping castle, take a Segway for a spin, get your hands dirty with your take home plant and have fun with some craft.  The face painter will colour up the kids and the DJ will play your favourite tunes. Buy a sausage sizzle, cool down with a snow cone or warm up with some coffee and enjoy the day in the great outdoors.

Dinosaur Picnic, Newcastle Museum (10:30am – 1:30pm)

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo will take over Newcastle Museum on Australia Day for the last week of Dinosaur rEvolution. Get up close and personal with roving puppet performances by large lifelike Dinosaurs, get your face painted and enjoy your own picnic lunch on the lawn while you listen to summer tunes.

Swim and Swing at Lambton Pool, Beresfield Pool, Mayfield Pool, Stockton Pool and Wallsend Pool (10am – 2pm)

Enjoy a jumping castle, pool inflatable and fun at each pool party.

Giant Book Give Away at Wallsend Library (10am – 2pm)

Come along and help Wallsend Library create a magnificent Australian mural, learn how to Australian birds and butterflies with renowned illustrator, Gwynneth Jones. All materials included – no drawing experience necessary. Suitable for all ages and abilities. Pick-up a free book from the Big Book Giveaway or grab a free Sausage Sizzle.

Here’s a list of all the Australia Day events organised by Newcastle City Council

9am – 12noon Citizenship Ceremony & Australia Day Awards, Newcastle City Hall
10am – 1pm Australian Bush Day Experience, Blackbutt Reserve
9am Registrations from 9am, Australia Day Newcastle Harbour Swim, Newcastle Harbour
12:30pm Paul Bennet Airshow, Fort Scratchley and Newcastle Harbour
10.30am – 12.30pm The Art of Pressing Flowers, Newcastle Art Gallery
10:30am – 1:30pm Dinosaur Picnic, Newcastle Museum
10am – 2pm Swim and Swing at the Pool with James Naldo, Wallsend Swimming Centre
Swim and Swing at the Pool with Rosie’s School of Rock, Lambton Swimming Centre
Swim and Swing at the Pool with Ship O Fools, Stockton Swimming Centre
Swim and Swing at the Pool with Ship O Fools, Mayfield Swimming Centre
Swim and Swing at the Pool with Sarah Christine, Beresfield Swimming Centre
10am – 2pm Open Day, Fort Scratchley Historic Site
10am – 4pm Fort Scratchley Open Display & Gun Firings Fort Scratchley
8am – 5.00pm Formula 1 Powerboats, Honeysuckle, Newcastle Harbour

For more information about Australia Day in Newcastle, visit the  Newcastle City Council website for more information.

Families can also celebrate Australia Day at the Mary Ellen Hotel in Merewether. The event starting at 11am  includes a free jumping castle, face painting, family trivia quiz, colouring in competition and lots of giveaways.  Later in the day, there will be live Australian music and a 5.30pm Aussie trivia with the locals.

Lake Macquarie

Celebrate Australia Day at the Lake Macquarie Festival at Speers Point Park on Friday 26 January. There are tons of free family-friendly activities on offer from noon to 9pm including family movie “Red Dog: True Blue”, face painting, glitter hair spraying, balloon artists and hula hoop activities.

From 1.45pm – 5.30pm, there will be live music by local performers and the annual Scouts canoe race kicks off at 4pm. The evening concert starts at 6.30pm and will feature tribute band Boys Light Up and Australian rock favourites Thirsty Merc. A spectacular fireworks finale will cap off the night at 9pm.

Visit the Lake Macquarie City Council website for more information.

Charlestown Bowling Club is hosting a Family Fun Day on Thursday 26 January from 11am to 3pm. The event features a giant slide, face painting, petting zoo, bistro specials and a jumping castle.

Maitland

Maitland City Council is presenting Australia Day in Maitland Park on Friday 26 January 2015 from 7:30am to 3pm.

The day starts with a free BBQ breakfast hosted by the Lion Club of East Maitland followed by the Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards ceremony on the main stage.

This year’s theme celebrates Australia’s greatest icon, The Outback and will see Maitland Park filled with a range of fun, interactive and Outback-themed activities to entertain the entire family.These include echidna races, damper making, swag rolling and much more all tying in nicely with the theme. There will also be the mask making, thong throwing, face painting and a Classic Car display. Bring your swimmers as there’s free entry to Maitland pool between 9am and 3pm.

Visit the Maitland Events website for more information.

Cessnock

There’s plenty to celebrate in Cessnock this Australia Day. Start your day with a Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day Awards at East Cessnock Bowling Club. This will be followed by a free Aussie BBQ breakfast from 12pm to 2pm at East End Oval.

Cricket is on afterwards at 12:30pm with the inaugural Mayor’s Cup Twenty20 Cricket Match, a free event for the community to enjoy.

Visit the Cessnock City Council website for more information.

Singleton

Celebrate Australia Day in Singleton. Entertainment, kids activities, market stalls are some of the highlights of this event for the whole family.

The day starts with a gold coin donation sausage sizzle breakfast at 8am organised by the Singleton Rotary Club. At 9.30am the Civic Ceremony will commence inside the Civic Centre, featuring citizenship ceremony, announcement of Singleton Citizen of the Year and Singleton Young Achiever of the Year, and the Australia Day address.

Then enjoy a pop-up picnic and free family fun on the Singleton Civic Centre front lawn from 10.30am including a water slide, food stalls, live entertainment plus a gold coin donation entry to Singleton’s YMCA NSW GYM pool (don’t forget your swimmers).

The duo ‘Levymen’ will then take control of the microphones to kick off the party. Sit back and enjoy the music, browse the market stalls and let the kids be entertained by face painters, giant bubbles, balloon twisters, the annual thong throwing competition, volleyball and the jumping castles.

For more information, visit the Singleton City Council website.

Nelson Bay

If you’re up at the Bay, there’s plenty to keep you and your family entertained while you celebrate all things Australian on Thursday 26 January.

The day kicks off with an Australia Day parade. Festivities in Fly Point Park include flag raising and citizenship ceremonies, live entertainment, face painting, children’s magic show by JD’s World of Magic, Australian Reptile Parks shows and educational talks, giant slide, free pony rides and a jumping castle.

There will also be a vintage and classic car display and a RAAF fly over. There will be over 90 market stalls including a food court if you feel like a bite to eat. For more information, visit the Port Stephens Council website.

Raymond Terrace

There’s loads happening at Riverside Park in Raymond Terrace with free family activities from 8am to 2:30pm. Activities include a free “Great Aussie Breakfast” from 8am, music, face painting, children’s amusements, market stalls RAAF flyover and speedboat display. There’s also cultural displays and music from local Indigenous groups.

Visit the Port Stephens Council website for more information.


There’s also other local events happening on the Australia Day Long Weekend.

Visit Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton for their ultimate family Sunday Fete on January 28 as they transform their beer garden and carpark into a kids’ paradise. From 11am, the fun kicks off with a petting zoo, face painting, a giant jumping castle and family games. The kids can get up close to creatures great and small in the petting zoo all looked after and handles by professional and trained staff. They can feed furry friends including an alpaca, miniature horse, a donkey, goats, piglets, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens and more!

The Gunyah Hotel in Belmont is hosting their first Family Funday, hoping to bring a family fun day out to residents of Lake Macquarie. Join them this Australia Day Long Weekend on Sunday 28 January as they transform their carpark into a giant kid’s playground. Bring the whole family along and enjoy a fun, free day out with plenty of activities and make the most of what Lake Macquarie has to offer for school holidays kids entertainment.