Bringing your family to Newcastle to the 2019 Coates Hire Newcastle 500? Here’s 10 fun things to do with your kids while you’re here. (Number 1 to 8 are closest to race precinct!)
Newcastle Supercars is right on the doorstep of Newcastle Beach so don’t leave without taking a dip. If the waves are a bit rough, take the kids for a swim at the nearby Newcastle Ocean Baths. With its historic Art Deco façade, it’s a great place to float and count the coal ships moored offshore. There’s plenty of room to swim laps or splash around and the sandy bottom of the pool feels lovely squished between your toes. For younger kids, the shallow Canoe pool next door is ideal.
2. Walk out to Nobbys Breakwater along Bathers Way
Walk out past Nobbys Beach to the breakwater to see beach and harbour views. On Sundays, the Lighthouse Grounds are open from 10am to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday. Entry to the site is free. It’s a 10 minute walk (550 metres) from Nobbys Beach carpark to the gate. From the gate, it’s a 5 minute (220 metres) uphill walk to get to the Signal Master’s Cottage. It’s all paved so suitable for those pushing prams or strollers.
For a fun free family day out, visit Newcastle Museum in Honeysuckle. There’s loads to keep kids of all ages occupied. Those interested in history will enjoy the Newcastle exhibition which educates visitors on the history of the region. If you’re interested in Newcastle’s industry, don’t miss the 6 minute BHP Steelmaking Show featuring special effects.
Go for a walk along the Anzac Memorial Walk to spot coal ships and dolphins. This 450 meter cliff top walkway at Bar Beach is one of the top places for a view. It features incredible 360 degree views of Newcastle from the coast to city. As it’s a tribute to Anzacs, it features history panels with information about different aspects of the conflict as well as listing the geographic place names of various conflicts. The walk is also pram and wheelchair accessible from the Strzelecki Lookout section enabling you to travel all the way to the viewing platform before looping back.
5. Visit a local playground. The closest to the race precinct are Foreshore Park and King Edward Park.
If your kids need to run of a bit of steam, take them to a nearby playground. Foreshore Park is right in the middle of the action as it is right bang in the race circuit. If you want something a bit quieter, check out King Edward Park, a leafy park with a playground that suits toddlers to tweens.
6. Bring your skateboards or scooters and try out the skate park at South Newcastle Beach
Located at South Newcastle Beach, this is a large concrete park with a 6ft metal halfpipe.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour around the fort viewing the cannons and other above ground defence structures. Kids will be fascinated by the large cannons and views of the ocean. If you would prefer a full site tour and a chance to explore the underground tunnels, pay for a guided tour with one of the Fort Scratchley Historical Society volunteers. General admission to Fort Scratchley is free. Fort Scratchley is open six days a week, 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays).
If it’s a hot day, check out this popular bathing spot. The Bogey Hole is a favourite with tourists and locals alike. The Bogey Hole was built by convict labour by order of Commandant Morisset who served as Commandant of Newcastle from 1819 to 1822. It’s best for families with older kids as the rocks can be slippery and watch out for the waves.
Further out from the race precinct
Blackbutt Reserve is a 182 hectare reserve in the middle of Newcastle’s suburbs which features walking trails, children’s playgrounds and tranquil picnic areas with free electric barbeques. However, its wildlife exhibits are the main attraction as it is home to koalas, emus, wallabies, wombats and peacocks.
Speers Point Variety Park is a massive park featuring extensive play equipment including a giant 12 metre climbing tower which leads to a 9 metre spiral slide. There are swings and slides galore as well as a double flying fox and a spider web net. Great for kids of all ages.
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