This year’s Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest, on 18 & 19 April, promises to deliver a fun and family friendly look into days gone by. With additional train journeys and activities planned well into the evening on Saturday, there has never been a better time to Make It Maitland for a weekend.
Check out the Steamfest program and choose from our suggestions below to make sure your weekend goes down in history, for all the right reasons!
A printable version of the itinerary below can be found here
YOUR WEEKEND JOURNEY
THE EARLY ARRIVAL
If you are making a weekend of it, Maitland has you covered. First head to the Riverlink Building at The Levee to catch this month’s LIVE at The Levee performance.
Follow this up with dinner at any of Maitland’s fine dining establishments, with something to suit every palette. The Rigby, located in a character filled heritage building on High Street, offers a great menu coupled with genuine hospitality. Right next door, Fratelli Roma offers Italian cuisine, showcased by daily fresh pasta, and an extensive menu offering quality fresh seasonal local produce. COQUUN, Maitland’s latest destination offers fine dining with a native twist. Situated in the Riverlink building in The Levee shared zone, visitors the opportunity to sample a menu selected predominantly from local farms and wineries whilst taking in the picturesque views of the Hunter River.
MORNING IN MORPETH
With a fascinating history, beautiful position on the river and a diverse range of boutiques, cafes, and galleries, Morpeth is a popular escape.
Browse through boutique stores, including Campbell’s Store which is a destination in itself. The original sandstone building has been restored and is the place to buy antiques, art, local produce, ginger beer and more. Get your sugar fix with a wide range of lollies and stock up on hard to find treats from across the globe at Miss Lily’s Lollies. Pop into the famous Morpeth Sourdough Bakery at the historic Arnott Bakehouse, or any of the cafes along Swan Street where you will be sure to find delicious savoury and sweet foods and a great coffee.
Before you leave the world of yesteryear, make sure you squeeze in a visit to the Morpeth Museum.
TIPPLE AT TRANQUIL VALE
A short drive out of the CBD to Luskintyre is Tranquil Vale, the only working vineyard in Maitland. Nestled on a peaceful bend of the Hunter River, the former cattle farm has been producing award winning wines since 1999. Organise a tour with their resident wine makers and make this is a truly interactive wine experience.
VIBRANT CITY NIGHTLIFE
If you still have some energy to burn after a long day at Steamfest, Maitland’s vibrant nightlife is sure to have something to suit your needs. If it is craft beer you crave, then The Pourhouse has a wide range of local and premier craft beers and the bar staff specialise in a range of cocktails. Are cocktails more your scene? RAMA Bar, an amazing neo tiki neighbourhood bar is the newest addition to Maitland’s nightlife. If live, original music ticks the box, The Grand Junction Hotel also known as the Junkyard is unmissable.
Did you know the Sunday of Steamfest is the perfect time to visit Walka Water Works? Home to a miniature railway experience, the whole family can take a 3km ride around the picturesque reserve for a small fee, between 11.00am and 2.00pm.
Steeped in history with its striking chimney and ornate brickwork, the pumphouse is part of one of the largest and most intact 19th Century industrial complexes in the Hunter Valley.
It is also a great place for a relaxing picnic or a walk along one of the four walking tracks available.
Maitland Gaol housed some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals and has a fascinating history spanning more than 150 years. Be sure to book a spot on the 11am Escapes Guided Day Tour to hear stories of amazing escapes, from the unbelievable to the outright ludicrous.
In addition to the tour, visitors can view the Gaol’s current exhibition ‘Punishment Period’. This exhibition explores the punishments used throughout the state and touches on the effects this had on prisoners incarcerated during the period 1867 and 1905, which saw some of the harshest punishments introduced since the convict era.