Australia Day 2021: What’s On In Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & the Hunter

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Australia Day is coming up and it’s a day for Australians to celebrate Australia and its people and history as well as acknowledge the significance of January 26 to Indigenous Australians. To mark the day, there are limited family-friendly events happening around Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and the Hunter.


Come together on the public holiday with COVID-Safe community activities for the whole family across the city – there’s something for everyone with events organised by City of Newcastle.

Pool Parties

Splash into summer with inflatables and fun activities at Beresfield, Mayfield, Stockton & Wallsend Pools. on 26 January from 10am – 4pm. Standard pool admission fees apply.

Picnic in the Park

Head to beautiful Blackbutt for a food market at Richley Reserve. The Picnic in the Park runs from 10am to 4pm and includes food trucks, produce stalls and entertainment for the whole family. Curious Legends will be at Richley Reserve from 11am to 1pm as part of the celebrations with roving puppets. While you’re at Richley Reserve, enjoy the adventure playground or venture for a nature walk.

Fort Scratchley gun firing

Join Fort Scratchley for the time-honoured tradition of the firing of the guns at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Tunnel tours will not be available on the day however all exhibition rooms will be open and guests can enjoy Morse code demonstrations. The fun starts from 11am.

Get your family and friends together and walk, cycle, run or scoot to your local activation to enjoy the celebrations. Take your towel, take your picnic rug, reconnect with family and friends and enjoy some of Newcastle’s iconic locations!

For more information about Australia Day in Newcastle, visit the City of Newcastle website for more information.

Waterworld at The Station

It’s also the final days of Waterworld Central, Australia’s first mobile water park, is at The Station in Newcastle for the first time! Join in for some summer fun with giant inflatable pools and slides to splash and play around in. Enjoy activities like sliding through the Shark’s mouth or if relaxing is more your thing, head to the wading pool to chill out. For more information, visit the Waterworld website.

Australia Day at Miss Porter’s House

Celebrate Australia Day by visiting a heritage property and reliving early twentieth-century Australia. See the home created by the Australian born children of nineteenth-century migrants. Newcastle born Herbert Porter and his wife Florence (nee Jolley) from the Singleton area, raised a family in Newcastle West. Their freestanding Edwardian home is now a National Trust museum containing a century of household memorabilia including many which reflect their interest in the local area and all things Australian. Cost: Adults $10, Concessions $8, Family $25, children under 5 free. For more information, visit National Trust website and book tickets via Eventbrite for session times at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie City Council

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 risk in NSW, Lake Macquarie City Council has decided to cancel the annual Lake Mac Festival which runs on Australia Day.

Club Charlestown

Enjoy Australia Day at Club Charlestown. The fun includes free children’s face painting and a free interactive sand art activity from 12pm to 3pm. Let your kids play in their brand new playground while you enjoy food and drinks on the adjacent courtyard. Visit the Club Charlestown Facebook page for more information.


Maitland City Council is presenting Australia Day in Maitland on Tuesday 26 January. There will be a range of exciting experiences and opportunities for the community to get together and celebrate across the city this Australia Day.

Tiger Moth Flyovers

Residents should keep their eyes peeled to the sky to see vintage Tiger Moths flying across Maitland from 10am. 

Free Pool Entry

Free pool entry from 10am – 4pm at both Maitland and East Maitland Aquatic Centres.

Australia Day Official Ceremony

The Australia Day Official Ceremony will include a Citizenship Ceremony for 28 new citizens and the presentation of the Young Citizen and Citizen of the Year Awards.

Attendance to the ceremony will be by invitation only, but the proceedings will be live streamed from 10.00am on the day for the community to see.

The Big Australia Day Breakfast

The Big Australia Day Breakfast will involve service clubs, community groups and sporting organisations hosting a free BBQ breakfast, which for the first time, will be held simultaneously in multiple locations across the city in Telarah, Chisholm, Lorn and Metford from 7:30am to 12pm.

Summer Lights

Get out into Central Maitland from sunset til 11.00pm to enjoy the lighting projections on some of the city’s iconic buildings

Aqua Hire

Head to Morpeth and hire a single or double kayak or stand up paddleboard and explore the still waters of the Hunter River from $5

A comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan will be in place for all Council run events and activities. Due to COVID restrictions, please note that all activities on the day are limited to a 500 person capacity, including the free pool entry at Maitland’s Aquatic Centres and the Maitland Big Australia Day Breakfasts.

To keep up to date with Australia Day Programming, be sure to follow on Facebook and visit the Maitland City Council website.

Cessnock / Hunter Valley

As part of 2021 Australia Day celebrations, Cessnock City Council is hosting a free Australia Day Movie Night at Heddon Greta Drive-In where the classic Australian films Red Dog (starring Josh Lucas and Rachel Taylor) and Storm Boy (starring Jai Courtney and Geoffrey Rush) will be screened.  This event is free but BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL. Click on the link to book. You need one ticket per car (up to 8 people) and will need to show your barcode at the gate to gain entry.

This year, Cessnock City Council will live stream the Citizenship and Awards ceremonies taking place at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Australia Day due to COVID-19. Tune in from 10am! Live stream link to be provided closer to the event. Stay up-to-date on Council’s Facebook page.


COVID-19 restrictions have prevented the Singleton Australia Day Committee from hosting traditional family-friendly events. However, Singleton residents are being encouraged to get into the spirit of Singleton online this Australia Day to share what it means to be an Australian as part of Council’s virtual celebrations. All residents are urged to get involved online by posting their favourite Aussie tradition, pastime, recipe and photos at home to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #SpiritofSingleton. 

A formal Australia Day ceremony will be held on 26 January 2021 to announce the Singleton Citizen and Young Achiever of the Year, which will be livestreamed to the community because of current COVID-19 requirements that limit the number of attendees.

For more information, visit the Singleton City Council website.

Port Stephens

The community is invited to cool off at a series of free family-friendly pool parties across Port Stephens to celebrate Australia Day on Tuesday 26 January 2021. Tomaree, Tilligerry and Lakeside will be open for a series of COVID Safe events. Come along and join in for a family-friendly pool party where you can swim, enjoy a BBQ, listen to local performers and have some fun with giant pool games. At Tomaree Aquatic Centre, there will be a movie night for those who want to stay a little longer.

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