Getting out the house with a baby 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 once you’re out and enjoying yourself, you’ll realise how important excursions are to both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Whether you just want to get out of the house with a bub or find suitable venues to meet up with a friend or your mothers group, here are a few ideas about where to go and what to do.
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 The Brewery 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.
Parks & Playgrounds
Take your baby to a park and get some fresh air. There’s plenty of great parks around Newcastle & The Lower Hunter. 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 one of my favourites. 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 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.
Another great place to take babies is Blackbutt Reserve (Carnley Avenue entrance) in New Lambton. There are plenty of tranquil picnic spots to relax and enjoy time with a baby. If you feel like a wander, introduce baby 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 enclosures.
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.
The Walka Water Works Complex at Oakhampton Heights is a beautiful spot for a picnic as well. There’s a playground, picnic tables, BBQs and plenty of space for mums and babies to spread out. It’s a lovely peaceful spot and there are plenty of walking paths if you feel like a stroll with the pram.
Other Places to Go
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.
If you’re in Maitland, visit the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. MRAG has a dedicated kids art section and a great café Seraphine. They also offer baby art classes which is a great way to get out of the house and meet other mums.
You can also take your baby to the library. Most have special baby packs for parents to borrow as well as Baby Book Time sessions. 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.
Introduce babies to the magic of cinema. Event Cinemas at Glendale and Kotara hold special screenings for mums and bubs called Bring Your Baby while Reading Cinemas in Charlestown offers Spit the Dummy sessions. You can relax and enjoy a movie without worrying about your baby crying and disturbing others.
Don’t forget about indoor play centres. These can be a lifesaver if you need to get out of the house but it’s a scorching day or bucketing down outside. All of the indoor play centres in the area have free admission for babies under one.
Lastly, take advantage of some of the many mum and baby classes available. Whether you are interested in music, art, dance, fitness or child development, there’s sure to be a class for you and your baby to get out and have fun!