When it comes to recreation, Maitland is blessed with countless options. There’ s something for those who are up at the crack of dawn running, cycling and paddling, those who dabble in weekend team sports or are just after a place to take the dog to stretch their legs.
If you like nothing better than springing out of bed as the sun rises and slipping on the joggers, then the local parkrun is perfect to burn off some energy. The concept is pretty simple, head to Walka Water Works on a Saturday morning, take your water bottle and joggers and run a timed five kilometre loop. Parkrun attracts a couple of hundred people each weekend with a goal of beating their personal best.
Nudging the Hunter River at Berry Park, the Endeavour rowing shed is the only one on a site that is utilised by schools and the University of Newcastle. In fact, it was the founders’ children’s participation in rowing that got Endeavour off the ground.
Established as mainly a masters club, for people in their late 20’s onwards, the club will take anyone of any age and ability, whether they’re just interested in a bit of exercise or wish to row competitively. A warning though to lovers of sleeping in, most mornings the club meets at 7.00am as the early morning is the best time for a paddle. The water is nice and flat and the sunrises are particularly spectacular.
Another low impact exercise, which can be done any time of the day, is cycling. For lycra clad, long rides there are plenty of main roads and highways that will take cyclists in and around the Hunter Valley, across to Newcastle or over to Port Stephens.
For the recreational rider, Maitland has a growing cycleway network with further expansions currently underway. The cycleway already takes in areas around Maitland Park and the Hunter River, extending out towards Thornton and Rutherford. Aside from the formalised routes, rural roads around Duckenfield and South Maitland are quiet places to take a scenic ride.
Sitting on the other side of the New England highway to Central Maitland is Maitland Park. Apart from being a hub for quite a few of the city’s organised sports – netball, hockey, cricket, soccer, tennis, touch football, lawn bowls and croquet all take up some form of residence there – Maitland Park boasts an accessible playground and the city’s main aquatic centre, complete with a kids’ pool and splash pad.
Opened in 1940, the Maitland Aquatic Centre is an outdoor pool consisting of a solar heated 50 metre pool, an outdoor splash pad and a circular toddlers pool. The second centre, the East Maitland Aquatic Centre was opened in 1977. It is also an outdoor heated 50 metre pool with an oval toddler’s pool. Swimming unfortunately is available all year round as both pools close over the cooler months. Construction of an indoor facility for Maitland is due to be complete by mid 2017.
When it comes to recreation in Maitland, there is truly something for the whole family, even the dog. Off leash areas for Rover, Rex and Fido already exist in Telarah, Raworth and Thornton, while more dog parks are on their way in Lochinvar, Gillieston Heights, East Maitland, Rathluba and Lorn.
Whether you are visiting Maitland for a day, staying for a week or for a lifetime you certainly won’t be short on things to do. Recreational options are always a big attraction to tourists, as well as current and future residents and Maitland has plenty to choose from.