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Newcastle: fun for the young and the young at heart this Easter

April 5, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Newcastle has family time covered this Easter.

With a raft of cultural activities and action-packed events, including school holiday workshops at the Newcastle Museum and The Newcastle Art Gallery, the super-fuelled, water inspired Fuelarama festival, Fort Scratchley’s ‘big guns’ cannon firing on Anzac Day, and more.

The City of Newcastle’s Manager of Tourism and Economic Development Services, Ms Jan Ross, said: “Accessibility, affordability and an incredible range of activities position Newcastle as the ideal location for a family holiday, group getaway or romantic weekend over the Easter break. The growth in popularity of the city as a destination – for both Australians and international visitors – is demonstrated through our ever increasing visitor numbers, with visitation rising by 25 per cent
over the past four years – and Easter is the ideal time to enjoy all our city has to offer.”1

For the young Combining kids and culture can often seem a challenge – but not in Newcastle, where the city’s Museum and Art Gallery put on school holiday programs designed to bring history and art to life in fun and engaging ways.

Commencing 14 April, Newcastle Museum will host a raft of free children’s events themed around its special Colosseum exhibition – from creating Roman coins to learning the secrets of ancient Roman buildings, and even building your own, activities have ancient Rome covered. While at Newcastle Art Gallery, ARTCART – the popular hands-on art creation class – will be back in swing throughout the period (check the Newcastle Art Gallery website for full details).

In celebration of National Youth Week (4-13 April), Newcastle will come alive with a host of events, more than 80% of them free, including a Zombie party at Newcastle Regional Library, Red Frogs Skateboarding Workshops and a movie and pizza night at Merewether Surf Club. For full listings, click here.

For those that prefer outdoors action and adventure, not to be missed is Blackbutt Reserve’s Junior Ranger Fun Day (15 April) including educational talks, wildlife encounters, craft activities, games and more. Free for all children – including free sausage sizzle (adults sausage sizzle $1).

For the young at heart Kids of all ages will go crazy for the revved-up action taking place in Newcastle on April 26-27, when the fastest power boats in the world descend on the harbour for Fuelarama. Incorporating round one of The 2014 Offshore Superboat Series, Newcastle’s car-centric Hi-Octane Festival – think hot-rods, muscle cars and ute musters – and a Boat and Leisure show, the two day event is jam-packed with high-speed, high-energy activity.

For those who enjoy a trip down memory lane, Newcastle’s chequered past – as Australia’s second oldest city – holds a wealth of secrets waiting to be revealed. Uncover the region’s raucous history with Newcastle Ghost Tours (day and night tours both on offer), or venture into the cavernous tunnels at Fort Scratchley – built in 1882 to defend the City from the threat of a Russian invasion. Coincide your visit to Fort Scratchley with Anzac Day (25 April) and you will find yourself in the
midst of World War, with re-enactments, military vehicle displays and the firing of cannons.

Or, why not leave a legacy this ANZAC Day? The City of Newcastle and Newcastle RSL have united to invite Novocastrians of all ages to create a series of filmed portraits connecting current generations to Australia’s historical past. Participants have been invited to be filmed holding a photograph, object or other artefact that connotes Australia’s war efforts abroad – from
World War One until present day. The Anzac Day Portraiture Project is a public art project by Esem Projects. Esem’s artworks will be beamed in a large format at Newcastle’s 2014 Anzac Day Morning Dawn Service and then every night on Watt Street as part of the innovative City Evolutions Public Art Project, running until the end of June 2014.

Nova Cruises

Address: Lee Wharf Pontoon, Newcastle

Hot deal: On 19 April, visit historical Morpeth aboard a Historic Morpeth Cruise along the Hunter towards Morpeth, once at the kernel of the State’s sea trade and gateway to inland Australia. Or, for the romantics, take the Newcastle Harbour Dinner Cruise.

Cruise, dine and dance aboard The Princess. Take in the iconic harbour by night as you feast on the locally sourced buffet. On 20 April, why not soak up the highlights of Newcastle Harbour by boarding the Newcastle Harbour Luncheon Cruise? See the coal loading facilities, tug boats and cargo ships as you indulge in the freshly prepared buffet.

Rates: Historic Morpeth Cruise – $54 for children, $84 for concession, $89 for adults. Newcastle Harbour Dinner Cruise – $45 for children, $74 for concession, $79 for adults. Newcastle Harbour Luncheon Cruise – $35 for children, $49 for concession, $54 for adults.

For more information: Phone 0400 381 787 or visit 

Newcastle Kayak and Fishing Tours

Hot deal: Enjoy a 10% discount on all kayak tours during the Easter school holidays. Or, new to Newcastle, Newcastle Fishing Tours. Why not get out your fishing tackle, rod and long johns and join the crew in searching out tiddlers in the tepid waters of the Hunter?

Rates: Newcastle Kayak Tours – 10% discount throughout school holidays apply. Prices start from $30 for children and $45 for adults. Newcastle Fishing Tours – tours start at $80.

For more information: Phone 0468 929 152 or visit 

Fort Scratchley

ANZAC Day 2014

Come and see the 6-inch Mk VII guns fire and undertake a tour of the amazing underground tunnels for only $8.00 (children admitted free of charge). Gates open at 12.00pm with Firing of the 6″ Mk VII Guns at 1.00pm and 3.00pm and throughout the day, firing of the 2 Pound Cannon, military re-enactments, military vehicle displays and raising and lowering of flag ceremonies. Gates close at 4.00pm.

Easter School Holidays

The Fort is open 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Be on site at 1.00pm to see the recently reinstated seafaring tradition of firing a gun at one o’clock to coincide with the ball drop. The event is best viewed from the parade ground at Fort Scratchley with Customs House in the background.

Before or after, why not undertake a guided tour of the amazing cavernous underground tunnels?

For more information: Phone (02) 4974 5033 or visit 

Maitland Gaol and Around Maitland

During the school holidays all daytime tours will be priced that adults are at children’s prices. Guided escape/history tours are on offer during the week and visitors are advised to check the website for dates. Three self-guided audio tours 7 days a week between 9am to 4pm, which includes a children’s specific tour, will also run throughout the Easter holidays.

Maitland Gaol Open Day will be held on 17 April. This incorporates heritage week, school holidays and the book launch of Dr Pamela Harrison’s book Life and Death in Maitland Gaol: The first 20 years 1849 – 1869. There will be free access to the site (never before done), a free jumping castle, and a sausage sizzle from the local Lions club. Coffee will be available from a local coffee cart

For more information: Phone (02) 4936 6482 or visit 

Hunter&Gather Markets

Hunt&Gather Markets is a fashion, art and design markets held on the third Saturday of every month at Pacific Park, Newcastle East. The Easter Markets will be held on 19th April. At Hunt&Gather, you will find an eclectic mix of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, jewellery, art, photography, homewares, flowers, pop up shops and quality preloved clothing. Whilst shopping the creative stalls, enjoy the live local music, pull up a rug on the grassy knoll, enjoy a pot of Devonshire tea or grab some fresh grub and a hot cup of char.

For more information: visit

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