Maitland offers some fantastic accommodation options to suit all kinds of families. Escape to the country with a farm stay the kids will love at Hunter River Retreat. Or, in the heart of the city, stay in a one or two bedroom serviced apartment with self catering facilities at Quest Maitland.
Book a special Autumn school holiday activity at Maitland Gaol, which first housed prisoners in 1848. See the Chapel glass painted by prisoners on the Workhouse Woes – Chapel Craft tour and make your own pattern. Or learn some prisoner slang on the Junior Sleuth – Slammer Slang tour.
For primary school aged children, download the self guided audio tour, Snitch’s Gaol Exploration, and let Snitch the Rat tell you the secrets and stories of the criminals it housed.
Book a spot at Free Art on Sundays at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Designed for all ages, kids will have a hands on experience of the gallery, as they create their own artwork inspired by a piece on display. Book ahead via the website for a 10.30am or 11.45am session.
Mini detectives can pick up a clipboard from the front desk and try out the Code Breakers activity. There are four art trails, like the Treasure Code Breaker or Search for the Golden Poo. Use clues to locate hidden items throughout the gallery.
Science fiction and fantasy fans will be in awe of Terminus, a virtual reality exhibition that transports you into an imaginary realm of colour, patterns, sound and movement.
End your visit with brunch at Seraphine Café, located within the gallery. The popular café offers a sophisticated and delicious menu, with a few options just for kids.
Look to the outdoors with a visit to the historic Walka Water Works, built in 1887. It’s just a five minute drive from Central Maitland, past historic houses and pretty farmland with plenty of cows and horses on the way for the kids to spot. Pack a picnic lunch, or use the BBQ facilities, and relax in the tranquil parkland. There’s a small playground with all the essentials.
For older kids, bring bikes or walking shoes and explore the 12 kilometres of surrounding trails through native bushland. Budding birdwatchers can download the app before starting off, with more than 140 species of birdlife to look out for.
Centrally located, a visit to Maitland Park is the perfect family activity that doesn’t cost a cent. It’s pretty Victorian landscapes make it a great spot to gather friends and family. Set up a marquee on the lawns, or snag a picnic table and use the BBQ facilities.
Its enclosed playground suits all abilities. Big kids will agree, you’re never too old for a flying fox. Littlie will love the Magic Flower Garden for a sensory exploration. There’s a Liberty Swing and a seat for the flying fox for kids with disabilities.
Bring bikes and scooters and take a spin around the play road, complete with road signals and a petrol station. The surrounding sports grounds are ideal for a family game of footie, or take a dip in the adjacent Maitland Pool, with a water play area for kids.
A 10 minute drive from Central Maitland, spend the day exploring historic and picturesque Morpeth, with its Autumn foliage on the Avenue of Trees. Little history buffs can marvel at the heritage listed Morpeth Bridge, spot the markers on the Morpeth Heritage Walk, or learn the local families’ history at the Morpeth Museum.
Just try to resist the 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. Stop in for a baby chino overlooking the river at Common Grounds or Savannah on Swan. Save your visit for later in the week though, as many Morpeth shops are closed earlier.
Feed hungry little mouths with a host of family friendly dining options around Maitland. Kids love pizza, right? Look no further than Ometto Pizza Bar for an authentic woodfired pizza. Their Bambini Menu is full of kiddie crowd pleasers.
Keen to spice things up? Head to the popular Mexican taqueria, El Chapos, with their Lil’ Chaps menu for kids, or sit in the colourful courtyard at Muchos Mexican, both located on Maitland’s High Street.
A pub with a play area is a winner for all and The Whistler has a cute playroom. They offer a tasty breakfast and pub lunch menu, with plenty of choice for kids. Their craft beers and delicious cocktails will keep Mum and Dad smiling.
With lots of options to entertain little kids and big kids, get out and explore Maitland these school holidays and see what adventures you can uncover.
Story by Angela Thompson