Leaving home with a baby to enjoy some activities can sometimes seem like a massive ordeal. By the time you’ve dressed yourself and your baby and packed enough nappies, wipes, extra clothes, toys, etc, you’re exhausted. But it’s worth it to get out and enjoy Newcastle with a baby.
Once you’re out and enjoying yourself, you’ll realise how important excursions are to both your mental and physical wellbeing. Here are 9 fun things to do with a baby to enjoy in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter. There’s heaps to do. Enjoy fun activities with your baby at the playground, playgroup, library & movies plus more around the region.
Go for a walk with your bub
There is nothing more invigorating than a good walk. Get that stroller moving and you’ll be feeling great in no time.
Stroll from Bar Beach to Merewether. You’ll get a great workout pushing a stroller while enjoying spectacular ocean views. From Bar Beach, walk south over the hill to Dixon Park and enjoy the wide path all the way to Merewether. Keep an eye out for the resident pod of dolphins. (You can sometimes see whales breaching from May to November.)
Reward yourself with a drink or lunch at Surfhouse Café. The Café is large and spacious with fantastic views and there’s plenty of room to park strollers. If you’re looking for a more challenging walk, walk back to Bar Beach and continue up to The Hill.
If you prefer harbour views, walk from Nobby’s Beach to Honeysuckle. It’s a flat, easy walk with plenty of ferries, tug boats and coal ships to watch. Stop halfway at Queens Wharf for a drink or enjoy an ice cream from the Scratchleys takeaway window. Pop into the Newcastle Museum at Honeysuckle and let babies crawl around in the Mininova play area before embarking on your return journey.
If lake breezes are more to your liking, join all the other mums and bubs on the popular lake walk between Warners Bay and Speers Point. The path is nice and wide with plenty of room for strollers, bikes and scooters. Grab a delicious cake and coffee at one of the cafes in Warners Bay.
With baby in a stroller, go for a walk. Popular routes include Bar Beach to Merewether, Nobby’s Beach to Honeysuckle, Lambton Park circuit and Warners Bay to Speers Point. You can either choose a flat walk or one with a few hills.
Visit the animals at Blackbutt Reserve
Take your baby to Blackbutt Reserve and show babies the animals. There are plenty of tranquil picnic spots to relax and enjoy time with young kids. If you feel like a wander, introduce your child to some of the resident animals such as koalas, emus, kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. A series of boardwalks makes it easy to push around a stroller and let little ones view the creatures up close in the wildlife exhibits. For a great visit, read our guide to Blackbutt Reserve.
Sign up for baby book programs at your local library
Introduce your child to the wonderful world of books with special programs for babies and toddlers. All of the local libraries including Newcastle Region Library, Lake Macquarie City Library and Maitland City Library organise programs like Baby Storytime. Most have special baby packs for parents to borrow as well. Wallsend Library, in particular, has a large airy children’s section. Sit and read to baby from one of the library’s baby book packs. For more information, here’s a guide to baby and kids programs at local libraries.
Visit the Toy Library at New Lambton Library
Want different toys for your baby? Newcastle Region Library hosts a Toy Library at New Lambton Library where families can borrow up to 3 toys per child every week. The toys range in suitability for ages 0 to 8.
Join a playgroup
Get out of the house and make new friends at playgroup. Playgroups provide babies, toddlers and young children with a wide variety of early learning experiences including play time, music, stories, arts and crafts and excursions. For parents and caregivers, you’ll get to meet others and share parenting ideas and experience.
There are loads of playgroups in the Newcastle & Hunter region. For a complete list of Playgroup NSW affiliated playgroups, visit the Find a Playgroup page on the Playgroup NSW website.
Go to a Mum and Bubs movie
Don’t miss out on the latest movies – take your baby to the movies. Called Spit the Dummy at Reading Cinemas and Bring Your Baby at Event Cinemas, these movie sessions are suited to those with babies. The lights are dimmed but not completely dark so you can feed babies or keep an eye on little ones.
Go to the beach or a pool
In summer, take little ones down to the beach. The Canoe Pool at Newcastle Beach, the shallow area at Merewether Beach Ocean Baths and Granny’s Pool at Blacksmiths Beach are ideal spots to take babies and toddlers. If you would prefer a pool, there are shallow toddler pools at Lambton Pool, Wallsend Pool, Charlestown Swim Centre, Speers Point Swim Centre, Swansea Swim Centre, Morisset Swim Centre and Maitland Pool. For more information on local swimming spots, check out our article 15 of Newcastle’s best beaches and ocean baths for kids.
Go to Newcastle Museum
Check out Newcastle Museum. It has a small indoor play area called Mininova featuring plenty of equipment and soft mats to keep babies safe while they toddle around.
Visit a new park or playground
Take your baby to a park and get some fresh air or put your baby in a baby swing at a playground. Check out the Newy with Kids list of playgrounds for a description of different parks. Tip – always leave a picnic blanket in the car. One of those pop-up shade shelters will come in handy as well. Here are some parks which are great for babies.
Lambton Park is a popular spot for parents. (I spent a lot of time there with my mothers group). Spread out a blanket under the shady fig trees and let babies roam around. There’s a playground, toilets (and a café across the street). Lambton Park also has paths enabling you to push a stroller all the way to Lambton Pool. If it’s a hot day, drop in at the pool and have a splash around the shallow baby pool.
If you are after a park with ocean views, lots of shade and grassy areas, visit King Edward Park in Newcastle. This is a beautiful park with a lovely big lawn and Victorian rotunda. If you need some shade, spread out a blanket in the rotunda or under one of the large majestic Norfolk pines. There’s plenty of soft grass for babies to crawl around on. There’s also a playground with covered picnic tables and toilet amenities. Barbecues are nearby if you feel like cooking some up lunch.
In Lake Macquarie, there’s a few playgrounds to enjoy. Although babies may be a bit small to enjoy the fun playground equipment at Speers Point Park, mums will still enjoy themselves. There are covered picnic areas, BBQs, lake views and a café next door to the park which is perfect for mothers’ groups to catch up for coffee or lunch.
If you’re in Maitland, take baby out to Maitland Park. There’s plenty of room to push a stroller around or relax on a picnic blanket under shady trees. Babies might be too young for the fantastic playground at Maitland Park but it won’t be long until they are ready for the equipment. If it’s a hot day, visit Maitland pool and let babies splash around in the shaded baby pool.
Go out to a local family-friendly café or restaurant
If you want to go out to eat, find somewhere family-friendly where babies and prams are welcome. Here’s a list of local cafes and restaurants with play areas.
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Started in late 2012 by a local mum and newcomer to Newcastle, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.