Newcastle is never far from the action these school holidays
With the September school holidays just around the corner it's time to plan the perfect family getaway – and there's nothing better than somewhere that is both affordable and easily accessible with pristine beaches, a fabulous foodie scene, heaps of history and action aplenty for kids (and grown-ups!) of all ages.
Newcastle, Australia's second oldest city and home to one of the country's most glorious coastal strips, has the lot.
In addition to its renowned surf (why not book the kids into surf school?), relaxing Ocean Baths and tonnes of terrific trails for walking and cycling together, some of the region's most appealing holiday attractions include:
Blackbutt Reserve - Occupying over 182 hectares of stunning bushland and only 10 minutes from Newcastle's CBD, this natural haven for flora and fauna boasts a plethora of nature trails, wildlife exhibits and is a great place for kids to play and explore. These school holidays the popular Newcastle Permanent Junior Rangers will be back to explore the theme -Creepy Crawlies'. Ideal for 6-10 year olds, the program will cost $17 per child and run from 23-27 September 2013.
Newcastle Art Gallery - The perennially popular Newcastle Art Gallery runs school holiday workshops as well as ArtCart free children's activities every Sunday.
These school holidays the gallery will be celebrating both Australia and fashion, inspired by their latest exhibitions, After Five and To the Edge – Abstract Art in Australia. Workshops run every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday over the holidays and cost $15 per child.
Newcastle Museum - Housed across three heritage buildings dating back to the late 1800s, the museum is hosting a number of children's activities during the holidays. The -Make a Racer' session will see kids use their imagination to make a plane, boat, car or machine and then put them to a racing test. A -Crash into Science' session will see kids becoming scientists for a day and learning about what happens to energy in a collision – have fun with bouncing balls, racings cars, a homemade chain reaction and Newton's Cradle.
The museum is running activities throughout the holidays and entry is free through to $10 per child.
TreeTop Adventure Park - For an unforgettable holiday experience way up high, head to Treetops Adventure Park where everyone from the age of three can soar through the sky on flying foxes, test their balance on a series of suspension bridges and enjoy the challenge of completing a course way above the forest floor.
The Maritime Centre Newcastle - Entrance your kids with true tales of wrecks and rescues in a restored wharf building that houses more than 200 years of local maritime history from the Newcastle and Hunter River regions. Enjoy a unique insight into the city's vibrant past, experience the wonder of a modern working port and satisfy your curiosity about all things maritime via the engaging and interactive exhibits at this long-popular local treasure.
The Hunter Wetlands - When it comes to entertaining the kids at the Hunter Wetlands, knowing where to start is the toughest decision. Choose from daily bird and reptile feeding talks, picturesque paddling in a canoe along Ironbark Creek or dip netting for creepy crawlies in and around the wetland ponds – an activity that keeps the local kids coming back over and over again.
The best of the rest…
Newcastle's many regular markets are fun for all the family with fashion, food, antiques, homewares and unique kids' clothing and handmade toys to delight children of all ages. Check out Olive Tree Markets, Hamilton Clock Tower markets, Islington Markets and the Newcastle City Farmers Markets to get started…
No visit to Newcastle is complete without checking out historic Fort Scratchley (maybe time your visit for the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend where the 6" guns will be fired in celebration), enjoying a performance of Roald Dahl's The BFG at the Playhouse Theatre, frolicking in the surf and sand at iconic Nobbys Beach or joining a cruise around the fascinating working harbour – try Nova Cruises for family-friendly itineraries.
For family friendly accommodation, log onto www.visitnewcastle.com.au