What’s On in January in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter

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It’s the start of the year! Here’s the month’s top events in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & The Hunter especially selected for families.

Newy with Kids Scavenger Hunts – Museum Park & The Station

All month long | Museum Park & The Station, Newcastle | Free | Details

Why you should go: With the support of Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) Newy with Kids recently created two new Scavenger Hunts: Museum Park and The Station. On a Newy with Kids Scavenger Hunt, you will be challenged to answer questions on the maps and then use those answers to solve a mystery phrase. There are so many interesting things to discover at Museum Park and The Station, Newcastle and the Scavenger Hunts are a fun and interactive way for families to explore and learn.

It’s on! – Port Stephens

All summer long | Various locations around Port Stephens | Free | Details

Why you should go: This Summer, It’s on! is bringing life and vibrancy to Port Stephens with a new series of activities. If you’re looking for something to do, it’s on in Port Stephens! Whether it’s markets, musicians, Zumba in the park, bootcamp or a pop-up show for kids — It’s on!

Make it Maitland

All summer long | Various locations around Maitland | Free & low-cost activities | Details

Why you should go: Enjoy Make it Maitland this summer with plenty of activities and events for you and the whole family to enjoy including Dive in Cinemas at East Maitland Aquatic Centre, Street Eats, Library activities, activities at The Levee, school holiday programs and more. 

Your Summer Stories at Newcastle Library

All summer long | Newcastle Libraries | Free & low-cost activities | Details

Why you should go: This year, the Newcastle Libraries program includes options for kids, young adults and adults – everyone really – and they can’t wait for you to get involved. Their children’s summer reading program encompasses challenges, events and prizes. Read the books, meet the authors and share in their exciting activities. Newcastle Libraries also have an exciting January School Holiday Events calendar.

The Great Baby Dinosaur Show

Runs until Sunday 13 March 2022 | Newcastle Museum | 10-5pm | $10 (Adults), $7 (Concession), $5 (3+), Free (2 and under), Family & Disability Carer tickets available | Details

Why you should go: The Great Baby Dinosaur Show has arrived at Newcastle Museum, and they need you to help judge the cute cuddly dinos for the ‘Best in Show’ award! The judges have already awarded all the other ribbons like ‘Best roar’, ‘Coolest Spikes’ and ‘Most Colourful Scales’, but who will take out the top prize? Use your wifi enabled phone or tablet to vote by scanning the QR codes in the exhibition! The winner will be announced after the show finishes on Sunday 13 March 2022.

Capturing Nature Exhibition

Runs until Sunday 13 March 2022 | SEEN@Swansea | 10am – 1pm | Gold Coin Entry |  Details

Why you should go: In this exhibition you can travel back to a time when photography was revolutionising science, art and society. Never-before-seen images dating from 1857 to 1893 have been printed from the Australian Museum’s collection of glass plate negatives and are some of Australia’s earliest natural history photographs.

Dinoscience at Newcastle Museum

Tuesday 4 January 2022 | Newcastle Museum | Free, but bookings essential | Details

Why you should go: In addition to their Great Baby Dinosaur Show, Newcastle Museum are doing dinosaur science shows in the January school holidays! Test your dinosaur knowledge! Be part of a giant dinosaur timeline, re-enact the Lark Quarry stampede and find out where you can go and see real Australian dinosaur fossils. You are invited to bring along your favourite dinosaur fact to add to their board! The event is free, but a ticket must be booked for every person in your group.

Free Art January

Tuesday to Sunday in January | Maitland Regional Art Gallery | 10am – 5pm | Free, but bookings for workshops are essential | Details

Why you should go: In 2022 Free Art January returns for 23 days of family friendly fun, 6 exhibitions and and 2 hot air balloon sculptures. You are invited to be part of the fun – visiting the gallery is free, just register on arrival or book in advance for workshops. There is something for all ages including art making workshops in animation, assemblage and illustration plus artist talks, self-directed activities and the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the hot air balloon sculptures of Skywhales: Every heart sings at sunrise.

Let’s Love Water at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens – CANCELLED

Friday 7 January 2022 | HRBG, Heatherbrae | 10 – 10.45am | $5 per person | Details

Why you should go: The ‘Let’s Love Water’ show is a 40-45 min fast paced, colourful and interactive show for preschool to year 2 students. During the show children will make water in a safe but explosive reaction and see Eddy the AquaBot make enough toothpaste for an elephant, cover Professor Puddle in toilet paper, make a flower shower work by singing one of their favourite songs and highlight the many ways we can all love and save water with his fun, singalong songs. Entry is $5 per person. Your entry will give you access to the show and the beautiful gardens. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL.

Native Wildlife Show at Jesmond Central

Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 January 2022 | Jesmond Central | Shows at 10am, 11am & 12pm | Free |  Details

Why you should go: Get along to Jesmond Central Centre Court these school holidays for an educational and interactive 1-hour experience featuring your favourite native animals.

Michael STIX McGuirk at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Friday 14 January 2022 | HRBG, Heatherbrae | From 10am | $5 per person | Details

Why you should go: Musician Michael McGuirk offers a world of fun with his interactive music show. Michael uses handmade musical instruments, including wash boards! Sit back, listen, learn and enjoy a fun session for the whole family. Entry is $5 per person. Your entry will give you access to the show and the beautiful gardens. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL.

Picnic with Children’s Author Paul Russell – CANCELLED

Friday 14 January 2022 | Civic Park | 5-6pm | Free |  Details

Why you should go: Get along to Civic Park to meet Paul Russell who will read his newest book, The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp and lead some fun activities, including a treasure hunt with prizes. Bring a rug and some food and enjoy this twilight story time in the park. For all ages. All children aged 8 and under will need to be accompanied by an adult. Bookings essential.

Friday Night Feast at The Station

Friday 14 January 2022 | The Station, Newcastle | 5-9pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Hunter Events Group presents Friday Night Feast at The Station, a family friendly food festival where you can taste the town and immerse yourself in the best street eats the Hunter Region has to offer! With food trucks, live music, market stalls, kids entertainment and more. See their website for more details including COVID safety information.

A Flick and Fun in Federal Park

Saturday 15 January 2022 | Federal Park, Wallsend | 6-9pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Bring your chairs, a picnic rug, children, family and friends and chill under the stars in Federal Park to watch Ice Age. There’ll be super heroes, games, giveaways, food, coffee and ice cream. Proudly Presented by WOW Wallsend.

PRESS PLAY: A week of fun at mima, Multi-Arts Pavilion

Saturday 15 January – Friday 21 January 2022 | Speers Point Park | Various times | Free | Details

Why you should go: Join in a week of summer events and activities at the Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima in Speers Point Park. The fun begins on the Saturday 15 January with Ocean Garden. Wander around this wonderful installation of larger-than-life inflatable sea creatures. Throughout the week the fun continues with kids yoga, story time and drawing sessions, dance workshops by Catapult, art workshops, markets, roving performers and an evening of stargazing.  Explore the new Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima and immerse yourself in the 360-degree audiovisual experience EMERGE by Plugin HUMAN.

Brickfest at The Bay 2022

Saturday 15 January & Sunday 16 January 2022 | Anna Bay Public School | 9 – 4pm | $7 per person (Aged 3 and over) or $25 per family (2 Adults/2 Chidren or 1 Adult/3 Children) | Details

Why you should go: Rainbow Bricks is back at Anna Bay for their 12th Annual Brickfest. They’ll have many local creators showcasing their unique creations, collections of LEGO, and other fantastic items you can’t find anywhere else! Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun and meet passionate builders from all over the Hunter. Brickfest at The Bay is organized by volunteer fans who want to share their love of bricks and building with others! Brickfest at the Bay is an all ticketed, COVID safe festival with staggered start times and limited numbers per session. Bookings essential.

Music at the Museum

Every Thursday from 20 January to 24 February | Museum Park, Workshop Way | 5-8pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Music at the Museum is a free, family-friendly, outdoor live music event presented by NIMA in association with the Newcastle Museum. Featuring a great lineup of live acts plus food trucks or BYO picnic, chairs, rugs, food and drink.

Botanical Rock Painting at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Friday 21 January 2022 | HRBG, Heatherbrae | 10am | $5 per person | Details

Why you should go: During this fun workshop, children can let their creative flair go wild while painting their own rocks to take home or hide in the Garden for the next person! Your entry will give you access to the rock painting and the beautiful gardens. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL.

Lake Mac Festival

Saturday 22 January & Sunday 23 January 2022 | Various Locations in Lake Macquarie | Sat 8am-9.30pm, Sun 12-5pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Lake Mac Festival kicks off on Saturday 22 with a Family Fun Day at Thomas H Halton Park, Croudace Bay from 8am-noon. The morning will feature a free family breakfast, barbecue, games, face painting and entertainment by The Little Scallywags and Tim Harding. From 5-9.30pm, live sites and activations at Warners Bay foreshore, Brooks Parade Reserve Belmont, Rathmines Park, Swansea Bay Beach and the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) at Booragul will bring fun for the whole family to enjoy. Music, food trucks and exciting activities will be available to all, as well as a fireworks spectacular at 9pm. On Sunday the community is invited to enjoy an afternoon of relaxed vibes, good food, wine and chill music at Speers Point Park from noon-5pm.

Hunter Events Bar & BBQ Festival

Saturday 22 January & Sunday 23 January 2022 | Maitland Showground | Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10-4pm | Tickets start from $16.85 (kids) Details

Why you should go: Burton Automotive Group Bar & BBQ Festival presented by Hunter Events Group is going to be held over a huge weekend and this Bar & BBQ Festival promises to be EPIC! A full-throttle weekend jam packed with live music, BBQ cook-offs, local breweries and loads of entertainment as well as Aussie FMX Freestyle Motocross stunts, car shows and quizmasters. Enjoy a drink while watching the best musicians in the Hunter, or browse through a range of local market stalls. You can even compete in the official BBQ competition for a chance at a $10k prize pool!

Newcastle Beach 5’s Australia Day Rugby Festival

Saturday 22, Sunday 23 & Wednesday 26 January 2022 | Nobby’s Beach | Free to watch, Entry fees start from $280/team (Youths) | Details

Why you should go: Beach Rugby Australia and City of Newcastle present the 2nd annual Newcastle Beach 5’s Australia Day Rugby Festival. Beach 5’s is a 5-a-side sand-based competition based on modified rules of Rugby Union, Rugby League and Touch Football. Register a Premier 5’s or Social team or get along to cheer from the sidelines. Fun for all ages, from Under 12’s Juniors to Men’s and Women’s.

2022 Australia Day Newcastle Harbour Swim

Wednesday 26 January 2022 | Queens Wharf, Newcastle Harbour | 8-1pm | $60 entry fee | Details

Why you should go: Join in or watch the 25th edition of Newcastle’s most iconic Swim. Jump in for either the Single Crossing (700m) from Stockton to Queens Wharf or the Double Crossing (1400m) from Queens Wharf to Stockton and back. If it hasn’t been on your Local Challenges or Bucket List, put it there now. Join in on the only legal swim across our amazing working harbour. In support of Stockton Surf Lifesaving Club.

Pool Parties at Newcastle Pools

Wednesday 26 January 2022 | Beresfield, Mayfield, Stockton & Wallsend Pools | 10-4pm | Standard Pool Fees Apply | Details

Why you should go: Splash into summer on the public holiday with inflatables and fun activities at your local pool. There will be food trucks, games, and more. Over at Beresfield pool join in on the 50th birthday celebrations! Enjoy COVID-Safe community activities for the whole family.

Girls Day Out – Women In Sport

Saturday 29 January 2022 | Empire Park, Bar Beach | 8-3pm | $60 entry fee | Details

Why you should go: Presented by Burton Automotive and sponsored by City of Newcastle, Girls Day Out is an annual one-day event for girls aged 6-16 years to try new sports, meet professional female athletes, learn new skills and be inspired. It’s all about giving girls a go at sports they might not have tried or want to learn more about. The 45 minute, mini-clinics are small and focused, giving the young girls a high-energy, fun taste of sports offered locally in the Hunter and played by incredible female athletes at the highest levels.

French Twilight Market at The Station

Saturday 29 January 2022 | The Station, Newcastle | 3-8pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: BONJOUR. The French Twilight Market is back in 2022 at The Station. There will be activities for the whole family! Wander through the market stalls which will be showcasing French inspired items and French/francophone food. Join in on adult and children’s activities. Stop by the display of newer and vintage cars! Enjoy a game of “pétanque” and, if you are a bit hungry, AU MENU: charcuterie (small goods), fromages (cheeses), patisseries, crêpes and a lot more! Wine and beers will be available for purchase onsite.

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