Take a Family Sunday Drive to Action-Packed Newcastle!

At ellaslist, we're always on the hunt for awesome family-friendly destinations for sneaky weekenders and short and sweet road trips.

If you feel like you're not getting enough quality time with your little ones, work demands are piling up and that once-a-year trip to Bali is months away, why not make Newcastle your next long-weekend priority? The kids will love it, and it's only a pleasant 2-hour drive from Sydney. Here are our top picks for places to go and things to do in and around Newcastle for families.

Eight Awesome Things to do in Newcastle

1. Visit Speers Point Park

Peers Point Park
Peers Point Park in Newcastle.

Often ranked the best playground in Newcastle. It is an all-ages, all-abilities playground complete with a giant nine-metre spiral slide, a 12-metre tall climbing tower with climbing nets, a flying fox, spinning carousels, a maze, heaps of swings, a bike track, a wheelchair accessible playboat, water play, musical play features, a performance stage, and even a quiet zone. The playground can be found on two hectares of land with picnic facilities and other amenities- all the makings of a great family day out. 

2. Check out Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Blackbutt Nature Reserve
Blackbutt Nature Reserve in Newcastle.

Head here for a hands-on animal adventure! At Blackbutt Nature Reserve, you can participate in a reptile show and interact with some slimy and scaly friends, or witness one of the awesome feeding demonstrations including Wombat feast, bird brunch, nocturnal nourish, and koala dining. Kids can also feed emus by hand, complete the activity pack, or play at the playground suitable for six to 10 year-olds with interactive musical features. 

3. Explore Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum
Newcastle Museum is loaded with fun things to see and do!

There are some awesome permanent exhibitions at Newcastle Museum for kids and families to enjoy! Supernova is a hands-on science centre where kids can touch and feel their way to discovery. Newcastle Museum always runs fantastic and educational events for the kids, and currently have baby dinosaurs on display! The Great Baby Dinosaur Show is on now until March 2022. There is also a range of permanent school holiday programs, science shows, creator workshops and more. 

4. Go for a Swim at Nobby's Beach

Nobby's Beach
Beautiful Nobby's Beach.

Nobby's Beach is hands down Newcastle's most popular, well-known beach! There are beautiful ocean baths to enjoy at this year-round patrolled beach, as well as Nobby's Lighthouse for a leisurely stroll and scenic gaze over the water, picnic shelters, and a great kiosk. Some whale watching is perfect if you're lucky enough to visit during those golden months, or simply a splash around in the water should put a smile on your family's dial. Bogey Hole at Newcastle Beach is another local favourite- these prisoner-built baths are pretty pumping in Summer but can get a little rough, so be careful with little ones.

5. Visit Fort Scratchley

Fort Scratchley
Learn about Newcastle's heritage at Fort Scratchley. 

"Standing sentry over Newcastle since 1882." For a taste of local heritage, head to Fort Scratchley where there are a number of historic buildings and installations including old servant's quarters, the old guardhouse with two old jail cells, Commandments Cottage, a laboratory, an observation post and five Museum rooms covering everything from pre-Fort use by the Awabakal people, to the Fort's important role in coastline protection during WWII. 

6. Dining out in Newy

Sunnyside Tavern
Kids at Sunnyside Tavern.

Newcastle is a pretty kid-friendly place, its cafes and restaurants included. Some of our favourites include The Barn AdamstownAutumn Rooms CafeThree Monkeys Cafe, Club Charlestown, the Sunnyside Tavern for a spacious outdoor seating area for families with $5 kid's meals and a resident face-painter available on Friday nights, and Cafe Inu for a relaxed, family-friendly experience. 

7. Go for a Play at Megamania

Mega fun at Megamania!

Megamania is a playland AND family restaurant - a winning combination if we've ever heard of one! The restaurant is licensed and serves all the favourites including schnitzels, steaks, pasta, seafood and salads. The best part? When you dine in, kids play free! The playland is suitable for kids aged 12 years and under, complete with a jumping castle, slides and all sorts of climbing structures. Families could not be more at home anywhere else! 

8. Get up Close to Some Animals 

Oakvale Farm
Cuddle a koala at Oakvale Farm.

If you find yourself on an extended stay in Newcastle, then there are some nearby destinations that might just be worth the journey. The first is Oakvale Farm & Fauna World (a 40-minute drive from Newcastle) where you'll find a water play park called Splash Bay, as well as various hands-on animal encounters, and daily shows including cow milking, tractor riding, reptile petting, bottle-feeding of baby animals, Tassie Devil talks, and lots more. The second is Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters (also a 40-minute drive) which offers a range of awesome, daring and educational experiences as you get into the water with various marine life. 

More Family Adventures

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