Whether you’re looking for something to do as a local or you’re visiting Maitland on a day trip or longer, there are lots of fun things to do in Maitland, New South Wales with kids. Here are some of our best picks for family-friendly activities, many of which are free and low-cost.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery
For an art fix, visit the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Arty kids will appreciate the interesting artwork throughout this gallery. Wander upstairs through the Art Factory. Often there are interesting exhibitions that targets kids and families.
Visit on a Sunday and you’ll enjoy Free Art Sunday. Every Sunday between 11am and 1pm, families are invited to participate in free art activities inspired by the exhibitions on display. Activities are designed for kids of all ages, and as a family, you can all join in and get creative. Each activity takes around half an hour to complete.
MRAG is housed in a beautiful historic building. It was originally used as a candle factory, for soap making, and as a general store before later being the venue for Maitland Technical College. The gallery also features a wonderful cafe and there’s outdoor seating available. Make sure you wander outside to see the clever Fetch Boy sculpture.
If the kids need to burn off some energy, head to Magic Garden, Maitland Park’s fenced all-abilities playground with equipment suited to a range of ages. The gated playground with softfall rubber flooring features fantastic play equipment including three sets of swings, xylophone, flying fox, batwing carousel and toadstools.
There’s also a climbing structure complete with steps, slides and rock wall. As the park is an all-abilities playground, the play equipment includes special seats on the flying fox and batwing carousel as well as a liberty swing for wheelchair users.
There’s more to enjoy than just the Magic Garden. Maitland Park is an expansive area of parkland encompassing sporting fields, picnic spots, tennis courts, croquet lawns and a swimming centre. There’s also 1.8 kilometres of cycling tracks so bring bikes and scooters.
Maitland Pool & East Maitland Pool
In Maitland Park, you’ll find Maitland Aquatic Centre. It features a splash pad complete with a tipping bucket. No matter what the swimming level of your kids, this pool complex caters to them. There’s a 50-metre outdoor pool as well as a 25-metre indoor heated pool.
The East Maitland offers family fun as well. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, shaded baby pool and kids play equipment. Both pools provide swimming lessons and adult fitness programs.
For a history fix, visit Maitland Gaol. Built in 1844, this former security maximum security prison was used to house convicts up until 1998. The gaol is one of the Maitland’s most iconic tourist sites and provides locals and visitors with the opportunity to experience life on the inside of this once high-security prison.
Maitland Gaol offers a range of different guided and self-guided tours. Of these tours, the Escape guided tour is suitable for kids. Other tours aren’t that appropriate as the information presented may be confronting and includes adult themes and coarse language.
You can also do self-guided tours of Maitland Gaol. Snitch’s Gaol Exploration is suitable for primary school children. It uses ‘Snitch the Rat’ to tell the secrets of the gaol that he witnessed as the many criminals were brought in from the outside world. This tour is ideal for primary school-aged children as it offers a fun audio experience that is full of facts and stories that will entertain and educate.
There are also fun activities to enjoy onsite. These include laser tag within the walls of the 150-year-old facility. There’s also an annual sleepover and school holiday activities.
The mighty Hunter River divides Maitland and East Maitland. It’s also a great location for a family walk or bike ride. Be sure to point out the notices that show how high the river peaked during the famous 1955 Maitland floods. On the Maitland side is the area called The Levee. Here you’ll find shopping, cafes and restaurants. Take the time to look at the beautiful historic buildings in this area. If you’re a festival family, you can enjoy family-friendly events throughout the year organised by Maitland City Council like Maitland Taste, Riverlights and New Year’s Eve.
Maitland City Library
If your kids like books, visit one of the four libraries in the Maitland area that belong to Maitland City Library: Maitland, East Maitland, Rutherford and Thornton. Here kids can choose from a variety of books as well as enjoy fun school holiday activities. There are regular kids author events. If you feel like combining books with a coffee or snack, visit East Maitland library. Located inside East Maitland Library, Reader’s Cafe and Larder features a playground at the back. Noted for its delicious food, you can also purchase frozen take-home meals.
Walka Water Works
If you’re a train enthusiast, nature lover, history buff or barbecue guru, there is something for everyone at Walka Water Works. Located just outside Maitland in Oakhampton Heights, this is a great place to spend a few hours. It was originally built in 1887 to supply water to Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Valley. The area has since been restored and preserved and the Pump House is now registered with the New South Wales State Heritage Register.
The lake is full of birdlife, ducks and turtles. On certain Sundays, you can take a miniature train ride alongside the water. The ride is approximately twenty minutes in length (1.5 km) and runs on the first and third Sunday of the month 11am – 2pm weather permitting.
There are also walking trails located throughout the park. The Bush Trail is known for its expansive views and The Kangaroo Trail is where, you guessed it, you are most likely to see a mob of kangaroos. There is also a playground and lots of space to have a barbecue and picnic.
Heddon Greta Drive In
Located south of Maitland, the Heddon Greta Drive In is the perfect mix of nostalgia and fun, offering a unique way to go to the movies. Plus with only three drive ins left operating in New South Wales, we are incredibly lucky to have one right on our doorstep. Heddon Greta Drive In is open every Friday and Saturday night plus every night of the week during the school holidays.
It screens the latest mainstream movies, with two or three films screening each session (depending on Daylight Savings) and there is usually a family-friendly film on offer. It’s terrific value for a family as the price is set per vehicle based on the number of films you’d like to watch.
For a fun family day out, visit the historic village of Morpeth. It was once one of the busiest river ports in New South Wales with boats carrying goods up and down the Hunter River. Today it’s a quaint village with lots of beautiful heritage-listed buildings. You can walk by the original Arnotts Bakehouse at 148 Swan Street, where the famous Arnotts brothers sold their biscuits back in the 1860s.
If you feel like a picnic, visit Ray Lawler Reserve also known as Morpeth Common. With lots of lawn, trees, play equipment and small ponds, it’s a popular spot for local families.
To learn more about Morpeth’s history, visit Morpeth Museum. Located in the former courthouse, there are interesting exhibitions to see. Families can sit into the Judge’s chair or in the dock and spend time in a cell. You can also look at the collection of Arnott’s biscuit memorabilia.
Leave Morpeth via the famous Morpeth bridge. This heritage-listed bridge is oldest surviving overhead braced Allan truss road bridge in service, and is one of three surviving overhead braced timber truss road bridges in NSW. It was opened on 15 June 1898 and is still used by locals and visitors to cross the Hunter River heading north.
Lawes Street Skatepark
If your kids like to skate, scoot or BMX, head to the recently built skate park at Lawes Street, East Maitland. This skate park has various elements for all skill levels and disciplines, including a 1.5 metre to 2.1 metre skate bowl. There is also a skate park in Maitland at Harold Gregson Park. It’s just one of the seven skateparks constructed by Maitland City Council.
If it is too hot or too cold or even raining, head indoors and enjoy some indoor activities. You can head to the movies at Reading Cinemas Maitland or go bowling at Superstrike or take little ones to Chipmunks Playland & Cafe. If kids like to bounce around, head to Inflatable World in Rutherford where kids can jump endlessly.
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Started in late 2012 by a local mum and newcomer to Newcastle, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.