Do you have an adrenaline junkie amongst your brood? Kids that like things a little fast and furious? I have a certain six-year-old who is always at the top of the highest tree, riding his bike at maximum speed or making the biggest scooter or skateboard jump! Despite many moments of worry and constantly reminding him to slow down or climb down (!!), risky play is a wonderfully normal part of childhood and a way for children to feel in control of their actions, learn boundaries and test their physical capabilities.
There’s a great range of awesome activities and places where children can engage in risky-play and have a great time doing it right here in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter!
Here are my top picks for local kids adventure activities:
Tree Tops Adventure Park
Spend time in the beautiful Aussie bush and watch as your little ones climb to great heights, fly through the trees and test their courage and bravery, as they tackle the rope courses at TreeTops. The kids’ courses are designed for children 3-9 years of age and after learning the ‘ropes’, children are given the freedom to head off and explore the courses at their own pace and go again and again within their session time, as many times as they like! The flying foxes are a highlight, as riders zip through the trees! Kids over 10 years can give the adult course a go, which will take them higher into the canopy and see them challenge themselves with harder courses. Read the Newy with Kids review of the Newcastle TreeTop Adventure Park for more information.
If you have a bike rider who is keen for a few bumps and dips, why not check out a local BMX track. Some clubs require registration for you to use the tracks and others are happy for the public to ride at their own risk. Wear a helmet and other protective clothing and pads for the best chance of avoiding scrapes and bumps, and you don’t need a professional BMX bike to give it a go – any old bike will do and then if your child catches the racing bug, then you can upgrade and grab all the gear!
Where? Tenambit BMX Track – Metford Rd, East Maitland. This is a little gem of a track, surrounded by shaded gum trees and it’s ride at your own risk. Check the local BMX club Facebook page for any scheduled competitions and coaching sessions. Read the Newy with Kids review of Temambit BMX Track.
Lake Macquarie BMX Track – Mary St, Argenton. This track is maintained by the Lake Macquarie BMX Club and your child needs to be registered to ride a lap. The club hold races every Saturday night, with coaching and practice runs happening during the week. Visit the Lake Macquarie BMX Track website for all the details.
Cameron Park BMX Track – Dunbar Rd, Cameron Park. This is a public track and you can ride at your own risk. It is a smaller dirt track and not as professional as some of the others but fun for the little ones to take their bike and give it a try.
San Remo BMX Park – 2 Highview Ave, San Remo. A great little spot that is open to the public. Take the bikes for a go and visit the next door skate park while you’re there. For more info, visit their Facebook page. Also, a favourite to race remote control cars.
Terrigal BMX Park – Duffys Rd, Terrigal
A really well-maintained track that has some challenging jumps and bumps but also smooth enough for beginners to roll over. A good spot to hold birthday parties or enjoy a day trip down to the area! Some racing on Saturday mornings so check the website before you visit!
Remote Control Cars
If you’re looking for something a little different, take the kids and their remote control cars out to visit the Maitland Off-Road Radio Control Track! You’ll find kids of all ages here, with a viewing platform to watch the mini-cars speed around the bends and take on the jumps – there’s often a few epic crashes too! This track is designated entirely to RC cars, so no scooters or bikes allowed. Even if you don’t have a car to race, it’s good fun to watch the other high-speed cars in action on their official race days which you can find on the club’s Facebook page (Then pop one of these speed machines on the birthday wish list!) With a playground next door and plenty of places to eat at in nearby Maitland, add this little gem to your list next time you’re out that way. The Maitland Off-Road Radio Control Track is located on Harold Gregson Reserve, High Street in East Maitland.
Mountain Bike Tracks
A relatively new craze for kids to sink their teeth into, the world of mountain bike riding has taken on a life of its own in the past few years, which is great news for riders wanting to get into the bush and enjoy a range of new tracks. Children as young as five can hit up the easy tracks and enjoy the beauty of the Aussie bush, whilst riding over dirt jumps and even giving man-made track features like the ‘berm’ or ‘seesaw’ a go. Protective gear is a must for this fun sport and Newcastle is spoilt for choice when it comes to well-maintained and easily signposted mountain bike tracks.
Our top track picks for kids aged 5 plus are:
- Glenrock: Yuelarbah Track, Highfields
- Homesville: 77C Appletree Rd, Holmesville
- Jesmond: Robinson Ave, Jesmond
- Awaba: Jenkins Road, Freemans Waterhole
For more information, Read the Newy with Kids guide to the best family-friendly mountain biking trails in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & the Hunter.
Most kids love to climb trees and furniture and well, just about anything! If you have yourself a little monkey who can’t keep their feet on the ground, rock climbing could be a fun activity to test their strength and nerve! Newcastle has a few indoor rock-climbing centres which are specifically dedicated to children over the age of 5 seeing kids scale new heights.
Ninja Park activities also provide the experience of a number of different wall climbing challenges for kids over 6, all with safety harnesses so children feel secure whilst off the ground. Both these options are great birthday party alternatives too, with packages available.
Where? Pulse Rock Climbing Warners Bay at 2a/305 Hillsborough Rd, Warners Bay or
Pulse Rock Climbing Adamstown, 122 Garden Grove Parade, Adamstown or Ninja Parc Newcastle, Darby St & Tooke St, Cooks Hill.
Hitting the beach is the perfect way for kids looking for that adrenalin rush to let off steam and have some fun! But instead of the run of the mill swim, grab a board of some kind and turn it up a notch! Kids who like things fast and furious will love the adrenalin kick of hitting the surf or the sand and there are plenty of options in and around the local area to satisfy the most adventurous kids out there!
Surf Lessons- perhaps the best way to get a taste of some wave action is to get some initial tips and tricks from an expert. Newcastle Surf School runs Ocean Active Kids Holiday Surf programs and an After School Program that gets kids in the water, teaches them to read the ocean and understand rips and different wave types to getting out there in the action! Learn to Surf Newcastle is also keen on getting the little ones into the water for some surfing fun – home to the nudie SurfGrom, they run school holiday programs and weekly surfing lessons for kids as young as five years old.
if your child would prefer to stay on dry land, hit up a Port Stephens adventure to the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere! Kids of any age can tackle the sand slopes and have fun in the dunes – you can ride most types of boards and you can even take toddlers down the hill more slowly on a tandem board. Try Sand Dune Safaris or 4WD Tours R Us for an organised tour with all the gear or if you have your own 4WD you can venture out to the Stockton dunes and pack an old boogie board or even cardboard to have some fun in the sand.
When Odette Tonkin isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her four kids on their Newcastle urban acreage, surrounded by her veggie garden, chooks and bees! Odette has worked as a newsreader, public relations officer and spent over ten years as a writer and editor at Pacific Magazines, writing for a bunch of magazines including TV Hits, Girlfriend, K-Zone, Total Girl, New Idea and Famous.