Explore Denman and Merriwa on a Day Trip

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Ready for a day trip? Take a drive through the Upper Hunter for something a bit different from city and suburban life and visit Denman and Merriwa . It’s a great opportunity to show the kids country vistas, talk about mining and agriculture, and stop in some unique places along the way.

There are lots of places to explore in the Upper Hunter, but our family decided to head to Merriwa, via Denman for the day. Leaving Newcastle on the Hunter Expressway, it wasn’t long before we were in the country. The scenery is diverse – from rolling hills and farmland; to huge open-cut coal mines; to pristine horse studs at Jerrys Plains. Although it’s not always beautiful, it’s interesting for the kids and started some great conversations about our region’s industry and history.

We stopped at Hollydene Estate along the way, for a bite to eat. This is a really beautiful spot for families, with a huge grassed area for the kids to run around, and big, shady trees.

Hollydene Estate

There’s also a water fountain with fish swimming around, which was a big favourite for our kids. This was just one of the options – there are several wineries and stopping points along the way to choose from.

Hollydene Estate Denman

We then drove on to Denman – a quaint country town with some nice shops and historic buildings and… an enormous new playground, Denman Memorial Park Playground!


The kids could have spent hours at the playground. It boasts a huge, farm-themed tower to climb up, and a giant slide to come down.

Denman Playground

There’s also a section suitable for younger players, with small twin slides.

Denman Playground

There are 5 swings (including two baby swings and a round swing), two in-ground trampolining mats, wobbly horses, a roundabout and lots of areas for climbing and balancing.

Denman Playground

The play options are rounded out with a cute farmyard word search and a little shop window.

Denman Playground

The amenities are also terrific – there is a brand new toilet block, new covered picnic areas (including barbecues) and a large, flat grassy area to kick a ball around.

Denman Playground

There are some great lunch options in Denman too. The main street has a bakery and some cafes. Alternatively, there are a couple of hotels – the Denman Hotel, or the Royal Hotel (which has a big grassed area and outdoor seating).

Royal Hotel Denman

From Denman, it’s only about 40 minutes’ drive to Merriwa. Merriwa also has a playground on the way in, but perhaps the most spectacular attraction is the amazing silo art. This is part of the Australian Silo Art Trail and features an image inspired by the running of the sheep in Merriwa’s annual ‘Festival of the Fleeces’ – where sheep wear red socks to run through the main street! See the Australian Silo Art Trail website for more information about the silo art, and some other locations to check out.

Merriwa Silo Art

The total drive time to Merriwa from Newcastle is about 2.5 hours. If you’d prefer to break up the driving and make a weekend of it, there are some accommodation options in both Merriwa and Denman. Visit the Upper Hunter Country tourism website for more information.

Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces is on the June long weekend each year.  For 30 years, the festival has proudly celebrated the rich history of agriculture and sheep farming in Merriwa. The festival runs on the long weekend with the main festival and the famous Running of the Sheep parade held on the Saturday at noon. It’s a fun family-friendly event with markets stalls, dog high jump, working sheep dog demonstrations, shearing demonstrations and fireworks.

Good to Know

Getting There: Check out the route to Denman and Merriwa in Google Maps. Hollydene Estate is located at 3843 Golden Highway, Jerrys Plains. Denman Memorial Park Playground is located at 1 Isobel Street, Denman.
Disabled Access: Yes – the playground at Denman is accessible. The silo art at Merriwa is also easily viewed from the roadside.

Do you want more ideas for regional day trips? Check out our article The Best Day Trips From Newcastle to Enjoy With Your Family. It will give you lots of ideas for a fun family day out.

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