Maitland in the NSW Hunter Valley is just a two-hour drive from Sydney or a 40-minute drive from Newcastle. Jam-packed with farm animals, history, and foodie delights, Maitland is a great place for families to base themselves on an NSW country minibreak. Here are our top 10, family-friendly things to do in Maitland.
1. Maitland Gaol
Having opened in 1848, Maitland Gaol once housed notorious criminals and is considered the most intact country gaol in NSW. So if you’re at all curious about Austraila’s colonial and criminal past, one of the best things to do in Maitland is to visit the Gaol.
Book a guided tour or download the self-guided audio tour Snitch’s Gaol Exploration to your smartphone. Designed for primary school-aged children, Snitch the Rat guides kids on an adventure through the gaol.
2. Maitland Regional Art Gallery
Designed for kids of all ages, Free Art Sundays at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery is a hands-on experience for budding artists to create their own masterpiece inspired by one of the gallery’s artworks. Junior detectives can try out the Code Breakers activity to locate hidden items throughout the gallery. Be sure to check the website for other special school holiday events.
3. Family-friendly festivals
One of the best times to visit Maitland is when a festival is on. Whilst there are great things to do in Maitland all year round, visiting during a festival adds that little something extra.
The city boasts a vibrant annual events program, with something for everyone in the family. Little foodies will love a feast for the senses at Maitland Taste on 20-22 May and mini train enthusiasts won’t want to miss Hunter Valley Steamfest on 30-31 July.
4. Farm experience
We love farm stays when travelling with the kids – especially primary school-aged kids. So consider sleeping on a farm when you’re looking at options of where to stay in Maitland. Hunter River Retreat offers family cottages set amongst bushlands. Spot local wildlife, feed the resident farm animals or take a bushwalk.
If a farm stay is too much animal exposure for your family, there are a couple of great farm experiences that you could fit into a morning or afternoon. Check out the fun, hands-on learning experience at Purple Pear Farm or Phoenix Park Farm Gate.
Spend the day exploring historic and picturesque Morpeth, only a short drive from Central Maitland. Little history buffs can spot the markers on the Morpeth Heritage Walk and see the historic bridge light up each evening. Sample the delicious homemade fudge, American candy or English sweets at Miss Lily’s Lollies, or watch cordial mixed on old fashioned equipment at the Morpeth Ginger Beer Factory.
Full disclosure here, I spent a lot of time in Morpeth as a kid visiting my cousins who lived there. My memories of the pastries from the Morpeth Bakery are some of my earliest foodie memories. My cousins don’t live in Morpeth anymore however, one of them went back for a visit with their partner recently and confirmed that the pastries are still as good as our memories from over 30 years ago!
6. Street art is a great thing to do in Maitland with teens
If you’re travelling with teens, then checking out the street art is one of the best things to do in Maitland. This Hunter Valley town has a renowned and happening local art scene and the locals will tell you that Maitland’s street art culture is the real deal.
Put your walking shoes on and hit the streets to spot murals like The New One and Welcome to Maitland.
7. The Levee
Located in Central Maitland, The Levee is a shopping, dining and entertainment precinct with plenty to explore. Head to their website for the program of what’s on in Maitland including events, live performances and art activations.
8. Maitland Park, a fun thing to do in Maitland with young kids
For a playtime pitstop, Maitland Park’s enclosed playground has a sensory Magic Flower Garden, perfect for toddlers. The inclusive playground includes a high-backed swing for the flying fox and a Liberty Swing. Bring bikes and scooters for a lap around the play road, throw the footy on the surrounding sports grounds, or take a dip in the adjacent Maitland Pool, with a water park for kids.
9. Dullboys Social Co
If you get stuck with a wet weekend in Maitland, Dullboys Social Co is a great place for families to have fun indoors. Dullboys Social Co in Rutherford is brand new and kids will love the bowling lanes, retro arcade games, mini golf and family-friendly dining.
If you’re worried that younger kids might not find enough to do here, I spent half a day at Dullboys in Lake Macquarie with 5 kids aged from 1 to 9 and (with the exception of the baby) all the kids had a great time and found that there was loads to keep them entertained.
Read more: A long weekend at Lake Macquarie
10. Ometto Pizza Bar
Wondering where the best place to eat in Maitland is? Well, after a busy day exploring, feed hungry little mouths with a tasty and authentic woodfired pizza at Ometto Pizza Bar. Their Bambini Menu is full of kiddie crowd-pleasers.
If you’re looking for a family getaway to Maitland in the next couple of weeks, check out exclusive Maitland accommodation deals for families on offer until the end of May 2022. Or take advantage of a Stay NSW voucher and be left with extra cash in your pocket to spend on local experiences.
Here are 7 other family-friendly regional NSW destinations
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.