The Best Things to do in Newcastle: 10 Family Favourites

  • Mums & Bubs

At ellaslist, we're always on the hunt for awesome family-friendly destinations for sneaky weekenders and short and sweet road trips. And our itinerary of the best things to do in Newcastle creeps to the top of our list of must-see destinations time and time again!

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 two-hour drive from Sydney - perfect!

The Best Things to do in Newcastle: 10 Family Favourites

1. Speers Point Park

Things to do in Newcastle
Speers Point Park

Often ranked the best playground in Newcastle, Speers Point Park 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—which in our book is all the makings of a great family day out. 

Location: Park Rd, Speers Point 

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2. Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Things to do in Newcastle
Blackbutt Nature Reserve 

Head here for a hands-on animal adventure—an ultra-engaging option for the best things to do in Newcastle!

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 awesome playground suitable for six to 10-year-olds, complete with interactive musical features. 

Location: Carnley Ave, Kotara

3. Newcastle Museum

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

One of the best, kid-friendly things to do in Newcastle is a session at Newcastle Museum.

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, and there's an epic range of school holiday programs, science shows creator workshops and more.

Location: 6 Workshop Way

4. Nobby's Beach

Things to do in Newcastle
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.

A spot of 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. 

Location: Shortland Esplanade and Nobby's Road

5. Fort Scratchley

Things to do in Newcastle
Fort Scratchley

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, a '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.

For educational, engaging, and historical things to do in Newcastle, Fort Scratchley is the place to be. 

Location: 1/3 Nobbys Road

6. Dining Out in Newcastle

Things to do in Newcastle
Eating out is (unsurprisingly!) one of our favourite things to do in Newcastle.

Newcastle is a pretty kid-friendly place, its cafes and restaurants included. Some of our favourites include Autumn Rooms CafeThree Monkeys Cafe, Club Charlestown, the Sunnyside Tavern for a spacious outdoor seating area for families, Cafe Inu for a relaxed, family-friendly experience, or Merewether Surfhouse for just about the best view in Newcastle. 

If you're looking for more spots, check out the best breakfasts in Newcastle.

7. The Bogey Hole

Things to do in Newcastle
Bogey Hole 

Situated at the foot of Shepherd's Hill, the Bogey Hole is a natural wonder that is as impressive in moments of calm as it is at full flight.

A real gem of King Edward's Park, a trip to the Bogey Hole should head straight to the top of your list of the best things to do in Newcastle.

Location: York Drive

8. Oakvale Wildlife

Things to do in Newcastle
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.

Oakvale Wildlife is one of these, where you'll find an onsite splash water park, 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.

Location: 3 Oakvale Drive, Salt Ash 

9. Glenrock Lagoon

Things to do in Newcastle
Glenrock State Conservation Area 

If you have babies in carriers or kids who are happy to walk, a trip to Glenrock State Conservation Area, and in particular Glenrock Lagoon is one of our favourite things to do in Newcastle. 

This 500-hectare area between Dudley and Merewether is a wonderful nature escape that's pretty close to the city and offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming.

Location: Yuelarbah Track, Highfields

10. Stockton

Things to do in Newcastle
A day trip to Stockton will have kids grinning from ear to ear! 

As parents, you'll know that if you can incorporate some public transport into an activity, it's already 100 per cent more exciting than the thing itself.

A trip to Stockton on the ferry is a great pick for family-friendly things to do in Newcastle. At the end of the five-minute ferry journey awaits a gorgeous beach, a playground, a shipwreck walk, and a chill vibe that's perfect for families. What more could you ask for? 

Location: Stockton, Newcastle

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