School Holiday Activities in Newcastle & Central Coast December/January Summer

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Get away from the 9 to 5 and into some amazing school holiday activities in Newcastle and the Central Coast this spring. Newcastle and the Central Coast offers a whole range of December/January summer school holiday activities that will make you wish you had booked a longer holiday!

Parents will love the absolute abundance of outdoor activities while the kids will love all the school holiday fun on offer. With a rich mining and military history there really is a heap of things to do in school holidays in Newcastle. We have you covered with kids school holiday activities that are sure to leave them wanting more.

We know that you can’t get out and about every day, so we have included some school holiday ideas for staying at home as well. However with so many school holiday activities in Newcastle, we know that the kids (and you!) won’t be sitting around bored.

We have compiled the complete guide to the best school holiday activities in Newcastle over the December/January summer school holidays to help make your life so much easier!

State schools finish on Friday 17 December and return to class on Friday 28 January 2022.

Summer school holidays in NSW are Saturday 18 December to Thursday 27 January 2022.

Fun things to do for the Newcastle school holidays

We have broken our list of Newcastle school holiday activities into sections to help you:

As with everything at the moment, please check with the venue directly (either by their website or social media pages) to ensure they are open during the times you wish to attend. You should also check their current policy around advanced bookings, entry requirements/timings and social distancing rules.

10 fun free school holiday activities

Who doesn’t love a free day out with kids! Add these free activities to your list these holidays.

Newcastle Museum

This exciting museum is conveniently located in the centre of town and is great for kids of all ages. Featuring a hands-on science centre where kids are encouraged to touch and experiment, they can try to lift a car, make a tornado and much more. Families tip: Make sure you check out the website download some great kids activities before you go to get everyone in the mood.

Read up about the museum here.

Blackbutt Reserve

This bushland paradise is home to many animals including kangaroos, wombats, reptiles and birds. Kids can get up close to the animals and even try their hand at feeding an emu if they are game. There are also interactive activity packs that can be used in the reserve before ending the day at the adventure playground.

Click here for the website.

Fort Scratchley

Standing guard over the town of Newcastle is Fort Scratchley. The fort was built to protect Newcastle from an enemy attack and the fascinating history has been well preserved. Kids can check out the gaol cells or maybe take a tunnel tour.  Families tip: Time your trip to hear the 1.00pm time gun go off to add to the excitement.

Find out more about the fort.

Newcastle Art Gallery

The Newcastle Art Gallery pays special attention to their mini guests and offer ‘art trails’ throughout many of their exhibits. Activity books encourage children to engage with exhibits by asking questions and offering quirky pieces of information. Families tip: Make sure to check out their school holiday workshops on offer as well!

Click here for the website.

Visit a library

A perfect break in between big school holiday activities is a trip to the library. As well as getting lost in a book, kids can enjoy one of the many activities on offer, including ‘Rock n Rhyme’ and ‘Story Stomp’. You might even be able to sneak in a quick read of your latest magazine while the kids are entertained.

Find your out what’s on.

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Imagine a pool that is filled with seawater and sits on the beach! These unique baths are an iconic fixture in Newcastle and are easily identifiable by an art deco pavilion and stunning ocean views. Lifeguards are on duty all year round however these pools are better suited to kids who can swim. Families tip: After checking out the baths, stop off next door at the Canoe Pool for the little ones.

Read more about the baths here.

Murrook Cultural Centre

The Murrook Cultural Centre aims to protect and teach Aboriginal culture, with an emphasis on the Worimi Cultural of the local people and area. The centre runs a number of workshops including boomerang and spear throwing and learning about beading and weaving. Or maybe you prefer to join a guided walk through the gardens to discover the many uses for plants onsite. Add this cultural experience to your list of things to do.

Find out more here.  

Go Cave Adventuring

Cave Beach, located in Port Macquarie, is a great place to spend a day swimming and exploring the local network of caves. Time your visit for low tide when you can walk through the caves and splash in the water. Bring a picnic and spend the day making memories.

Click here for the website.

Disc Golf

If you are looking for something a little different these holidays, why not try disc golf! Disc golf works like golf, but with a frisbee and is a lot of fun. Play either 9 or 18 ‘holes’ at one of the three courses in the area.

Find out more about disc golf.

Go skateboarding

If you almost had to pack a skateboard in your luggage for the kids, then this skatepark will be the answer to your dreams. Set beside the beach, you can watch some local legends or even have a go at skating this distinctive ‘gold bowl’. There is also a playground nearby for those who choose not to skate.

Find out about this skatepark and others in the area. 

10 fun cheap school holiday activities

Good fun doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to know where to find it – and we do! Take a look at these ideas.

Treetops adventure park

You can choose your own adventure at Treetops! Climb, swing, tightrope walk and more amongst some magnificent trees. This one is for your adventurous kids and those who love being outside. With locations in Newcastle and the Central Coast, find an adventure that is right for your family.

Find out more here.

Book your Newcastle tickets here or the Central Coast here.

Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters

This unique and interactive aquarium offers a chance for kids to see what life is like under the water. Irukandji offers a range of activities from interacting with animals in the shallows (or even dry land) to snorkelling and shark encounters. Make sure you add this to your list these holidays.

See what you can do at Irukandji.

Grab your tickets here.

Hunter Wetlands Centre

This massive wetlands conservation area aims to protect some incredible wildlife. Bring your bikes and ride around snapping photos, enjoy the playground, take a canoe ride or try ‘dipnetting’. There are also special events like School Holiday programs, Fun Days and art exhibitions so make sure to check them out.

Find out more here.

Lambton Pool

Looking for a splashingly good day out? Then head to the Lambton Pool. Any day at the pool is a good day, but when you add in waterslides, tipping buckets and spray jets and you get a winning combination. Bring a picnic for lunch then treat the kids to an ice-cream from the kiosk to end the perfect day.

Take a look at the pool here.

Ride the steam trains

Enjoy a day on the (miniature) train tracks. The Lake Macquarie Live Steam Locomotives Society run public days where families can ride these miniature trains around a track with includes a tunnel and train station. These impressive locomotives are sure to leave a lasting impression on your kids.

Check out the website for more information.

Fighterworld

Don’t let the name deceive you – this is a place where kids can get up close to fighter jets! Located near the RAAF Base Fighterworld lets you take a look inside some incredible aircraft. Step inside the hanger and learn about how planes work or see and ejection seat in real life! Families tip: Spend some time on the observation deck outside watching the planes come and go.

Read about Fighterworld here.

Ride Newcastle’s Famous Tram

Step back in time and ride this historic tram around on a tour of the city. The tram is a genuine replica of a 1920’s tram and is a unique and interesting way to explore the city. The tour goes for just over an hour includes a stop at the Strezlecki Lookout and a lap of the V8 Supercar circuit – sure to thrill the bigger kids.

Take a look at the website here.

American Bison Experience

For something completely different these holidays, take the kids to feed some American Bison. These giant woolly creatures live on a hobby farm just outside of Newcastle (perfect for a day trip) where you can feed them hay and carrots. Kids will squeal in delight as the bison gently wrap their tongues around their hands to retrieve their food! A memorable day at a farm.

Find out all about this experience.

Play Supa Putt

Challenge the family to a game of mini golf these holidays. With an indoor and outdoor course, the weather will be no obstacle to the fun. With one price for unlimited play of BOTH course and the option to bring your own lunch, this makes for an inexpensive family fun day out.

Click here for the website.

Richmond Vale Railway Museum

This one is for the train enthusiasts out there. The Richmond Vale Railway Museum not only has displays but kids can also enjoy UNLIMITED full-sized train rides, miniature train rides and working train signal levers on their own. Grab lunch at the café or bring your own, but either way, it is a really fun day. Families tip: Check the website for any events that they may be running – they are held all year round.

Take a look at the website here.

10 BIG days out around Newcastle these school holidays

Big days out are sure to tire them out and leave them wanting more. Take a look at our ideas below.

Port Stephens Sand Surfing

If you have a little thrill seeker in the family, this is for them. Take a 4WD tour to some of the biggest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere and go sand surfing! With different sized dunes available, there is something for all ages and abilities.

Find out more about sand surfing!

Grab your tickets here.

Ferry to Stockton

Ride across the water on the ferry to Stockton Beach where you can swim, surf or even go fishing. Take a walk along Shipwreck Walk, which details the shipwrecks that have occurred along the coastline, then grab some fish and chips at Lexies, a spot popular with the locals.

See the ferry timetable here.

Visit the Port Steven’s Koala Sanctuary

This sanctuary is dedicated to helping sick and injured koalas and is a great place to spend a day. Walk the skywalk in the treetops to get an even better view or simply listen and learn about these cuddly animals. Koala sculptures are dotted throughout the venue and provide some great photo opportunities for kids.

Read more on the website.

Inflatable World

Remember how much fun a jumping castle is? Multiply this by 10 and you have Inflatable World. Challenge each other on the slides, in a duel or climb the walls and jump onto a giant pillow. Plus, parents are welcome to join in the fun, so there really is no excuse not to add this to the list these school holidays.

Click here for the website.

Hunter Valley Zoo

Pack a picnic and put the kids in the car for a day of fun at the Hunter Valley Zoo.  Spend the day listening to zoo keeper talks or get more hands on and feed some animals or enjoy an animal encounter. Finish it all off with a barbeque and maybe an ice-cream from the snack shop.

Find out more about the zoo.

Revolution Park

Need a venue that really does offer something for everyone? Then add Revolution Park to your list. With a number of different areas, Revolution Park has an inflatable area with mazes, trampolines and a foam pit for little ones as well as parkour walls, inflatable pillows and interconnected trampolines for those a little older and wanting more.

Check out what’s on offer here.

Go Go Karting

When you feel the need for speed, head to Go-Karts-Go to get your fix. Wind around the twisty track to see if you are the fastest in the family. There are specially designed junior karts and twin seater karts to make sure no-one misses out. For those that want something a little lower key, try the Mt Panorama theme mini golf course.

Check out the website for more information.  

Springloaded

Bounce into Springloaded these holidays and burn off that extra energy. Trampolines, foam pits, ninja style obstacle courses, parkour zones, gymnastics beams and much more is on offer. Fully undercover, this is a great option any day of the school holidays.

Find out more here.

Tilligerry Habitat

Tilligerry Habitat Reserve is a 9-hectare flora and fauna reserve and is a wonderful ecotourism destination. Take a guided walk through the area (or just enjoy a walking track) and see if you can spot a koala, echidna or even a bandicoot. Spend the day recharging in nature. Families tip: Be sure to download the free kids activity sheet before you go to add to the experience.

Read about the reserve here.

Toboggin Hill Park

This park is a wonderland for kids. Toboggin Hill features a 1km toboggin which winds down the hill through the beautiful bushland and, the bonus is that you can control the speed! Kids can also enjoy a tractor ride, work their way out of an outdoor maze, ice skate, climb an indoor rock wall and so much more! Make sure you allow a day here because there really is so much to do!

Check out the website for more info.

5 things to do at home these school holidays

Staying at in doesn’t have to be boring. Make some time and memories at home these school holidays.

Make an A-Z scrapbook

Using magazines see if you can find a picture of something that begins with each letter of the alphabet. To make it more difficult, try to choose a theme ‘animals’ or ‘places’ beginning with every letter of the alphabet. If you get stuck you could draw some of the things in.

Have a living room disco

Crank the music and get dancing! Pick your favourite tunes and dance around the living room. Close the curtains for a darker, more ‘disco’ atmosphere.

Listen to audio books

There is nothing better than curling up with a good book, so we know the kids will be enthralled by a good audio book. Why not pull the mattresses off the beds and make a cosy corner to listen in.

Write a letter to a friend

Get out the paper and pens (no devices, that’s cheating!) and handwrite a letter. If the kids are too little, draw a picture instead. Then next time you are out, get them to post it in a postbox.

Do chalk drawing

Take out the coloured chalk and get drawing on the driveway. This is also a great way to meet your neighbours and for the kids to make new friends.

Theatres with kids shows on in Newcastle these school holidays

Nothing beats a good kids show for entertainment. Take a look at our suggestions to add to your school holiday list.

The Civic Theatre Newcastle

This grand theatre showcases live performances in a spectacular setting. Kids will not only be impressed with the show, but also with the beauty of the theatre. With regular shows throughout the year, take a look at what’s happening these school holidays.

Find out what’s on here.

The Heddon Greta Drive In

For something totally different, spend a night at the drive in! It’s likely the kids won’t even know what a drive in is, so this is sure to delight. One of only three drive ins left in NSW, bring the blankets, pillows and popcorn for a truly unique night out.

Find out what’s on here.

Newcastle kids holiday ideas

If you’re looking for more things to do in New South Wales, click here.

Soooo…. what do you think? Plenty of Newcastle days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays? These Newcastle holiday ideas are updated every term, so remember to bookmark this page.

Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!

Even more NSW school holiday ideas:

If you are heading north these school holidays check out our other articles:

If you are heading south these school holidays, these holiday ideas might help:

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