Adventure, baby!

Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a 54.5 square kilometres protected area, on the fringe of Namadgi National Park in Canberra, Australia. Tidbinbilla is home to a wide range of wildlife including koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypus, wombats, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, water birds, echidnas, snakes and much more.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Located around 35km or 40 minutes drive from the Canberra CBD, Tidbinbilla is a fantastic spot to escape the city and enjoy wildlife and nature. 

Visitor Centre

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The first stop is the Visitor Centre, where you can pick up a map, shop for a unique gift or grab a coffee or light snack in the kiosk. There are many picnic and barbecue areas throughout Tidbinbilla however no proper cafes, so either grab a snack such as ice cream, hot pies and sausage rolls, cold drinks (vegetarian options available) or BYO food.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Pick up a map of the reserve and a kids nature trail. It has a list of animals to tick off and makes for a fun activity to encourage kids to keep their eyes peeled.

Tidbinbilla manages breeding programs for the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Tasmanian Bettong and the Northern Corroboree Frog, the last of which you can see at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. The Rock-wallaby is shy but may be glimpsed in the Rock-wallaby habitat. 

To enter the reserve requires passing through a gate and paying an entry fee. There are numerous walking trails throughout the reserve. The park rangers can advise on which is best for your individual needs and desires. 

We wanted to see wildlife and a not-too-long walk so were recommended parking at the Ribbon Gum car park to access two walks, the Koala Path and Sanctuary Loop.

Koala Path

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Koala Path is a 700m return walk that takes around 20 minutes and is graded easy. There are plenty of koalas to be spotted here, as well as wombats, potoroos and wallabies.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Sanctuary Loop

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Sanctuary Loop is a 2.1 km return circular track that takes around 90 minutes and is graded easy. It consists of a series of interconnected habitat zones which are linked by a wheelchair-friendly walking trail. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a predator-proof fence, providing a safe refuge for the wildlife within. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The trail takes winding turns through various habitats including wetlands and bush. Animals such as Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, platypus, echidnas, birds, and other animals can be seen here. We were lucky enough to spot platypus swimming and other visitors we ran into saw a large snake. We also saw beautiful swans and pelicans. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Nature Discovery Playground

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A last stop on the way out, the Nature Discovery Playground is perfect for kids. I would suggest this area for a picnic after seeing the animals on the other walks. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The playground is sprawling and features various zones with a nature theme. There are play areas for different ages including slides, a flying fox and climbing equipment.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Know before you go

There are no bins at Tidbinbilla so take your rubbish with you.

No pets allowed.

No camping in the reserve.

Fires only permitted in authorised places.

Drive carefully and observe the 35 km speed limit for the safety of the wildlife.

A vehicle is required to access Tidbinbilla with a 15km ring road taking you through the Reserve.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road,
Paddys River ACT

Access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek). An alternative route via Drakeford Drive, Woodcock Ave and Point Hut Crossing (Gordon) allows access via Tidbinbilla Road. Drive time is less than 20 minutes.

Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Parking: Entry fees are required to enter the park. A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Download the guide here.
tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

Find more things to to in Canberra here

Blasting Off Into Space At The Canberra Deep Space Centre

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is a working Earth station located in Tidbinbilla in the ACT. Housed within the complex, the Canberra Space Centre features exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex opened in Tidbinbilla, about 35kms southwest of the city of Canberra, in 1965 to track the Apollo Lunar Module. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Canberra Space Centre

Canberra Space Centre offer visitors the opportunity to learn about Australia’s role in the exploration of space. The centre is not extremely large – its basically two large rooms joined together, but the rooms are packed with exhibits and information. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Of particular note are the piece of moon rock over 3.8 billion years old, Solar System images, spacecraft models, space hardware and special items of memorabilia from across the years. We all found it fascinating reading about what astronauts eat in space, seeing their authentic clothing and space suits and reading about disasters, challenges and victories made in space.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Several of the exhibits are interactive, making it a fun spot to take kids, as well.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Space enthusiasts will particularly enjoy seeing the largest steerable parabolic antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The Moon Rock Cafe is an excellent spot to have lunch or afternoon tea. We really enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend dining in.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The cafe has an indoor and outdoor under-covered seating area. The outdoor area is next to the fenced playground, which has a shade cloth, and is next to the public toilets.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

I would suggest combining a visit to the Canberra Space Centre with seeing nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Together they make an excellent day trip.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

It takes about 45 minutes to drive from the Canberra CBD to Tidbinbilla. It’s a very remote area so please note that mobile coverage in the area is limited, the roads are rough and the nearest petrol station is 25km away. Please drive carefully as it’s an area with lots of wildlife.

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 

Visitor Centre
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Free
Moon Rock Café
Hours: Daily 9:30am-4pm. 
cdscc.nasa.gov

Find more things to do in Canberra here.

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures Australia

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Fly through the tree tops at Illawarra Fly, the highest zipline tour in Australia. Illawarra Fly is located 2 hours south of Sydney, and also includes a 1.5km Treetop walk.  

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The perfect day trip for a special occasion, Illawarra Fly offers Australia’s highest zipline tour for adventure junkees, and a stunning accessible walk with views of the Southern Highlands and Pacific Ocean from an elevated treetop walk. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The zipline tour includes three flights, two suspension bridges and five cloud stations connecting them. The price for the zipline tour also includes admission to the self-guided treetop walk. 

I would recommend booking your zipline tour in advance as the time slots book out – plus the tickets are cheaper when you book them online. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Arrive at your time slot 15 mins early to check in, fill in the waiver forms, use the bathrooms and store your belongings in a free locker. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

At your allocated start time, a guide will give your group a 15 minute safety briefing which includes suiting up in safety harnesses and helmets, before walking down to the start of the zipline course, accompanied by two guides.

All loose belongings must be left behind. Cameras that are attached by a strap are allowed. I took my GoPro plus my DSLR with me on the course. Illawarra Fly offers GoPro hire for $30 and Dri-Pouches for $10 that you can put your mobile phone in to hang around your neck. Sunglasses or glasses are allowed to stay on. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The zipline experience from the start of the course takes roughly around 45 minutes – one hour and ends at the start of the treetop walk.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Participants must be over four years of age and over 105cm tall, have a reasonable degree of physical ability, be under 117kg and not be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy. Enclosed shoes are required.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Treetop Walk

After the zipline tour, we took a stroll along the treetop walk, a 1.5km walk that takes visitors through the rainforest including 500m of steel walkway nestled in the tree canopies 20-30m above the ground. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The best views can be found at the top of the Knight’s Tower, a spiral tower 45m above the forest floor. The tower is the only part of the treetop walk that is not accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

There are two swaying springboard cantilevers included in the walk, each suspended 25 metres above the forest floor which are pretty exciting to stand on, especially when the wind is blowing!

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

As a family who cares deeply about the environment, we were happy to read along the walk that the treetop walk was built on an existing fire trail so no trees being cut down during construction, and both the treetop walk and zipline were constructed without causing any damage to the trees they are attached to.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Magic in the Treetops

When we visited there were some incredible fairy and elf houses scattered along the rainforest floor. Pick up a kids’ activity guide at the front desk and fill in the letters at each fairy station to reveal a mystery word and receive a magic sticker when complete.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Rainforest Ranger Trail

Ask at the front desk for the Rainforest Ranger Trail booklet for kids who are budding junior rangers. 

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

There is a decently-priced cafe on site plus plenty of tables to enjoy a picnic meal brought from home. We ordered a kid’s honey sandwich which was made fresh to order for $4.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Getting to Illawarra Fly

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures is located on top of the Illawarra Escarpment, on the South Coast on NSW, about 2 hours drive south of Sydney. There are no direct public transport options to the Illawarra Fly.

FROM SYDNEY YOU CAN COME VIA CAR OR TRAIN.
If you are travelling by car – travel down the Hume Highway and take the Bowral turn-off, then drive through the lovely Southern Highlands to Robertson and follow the signs from the Famous Robertson Pie Shop. OR travel down the picturesque Grand Pacific Drive – take the Illawarra Hwy (Macqaurie Pass) towards Robertson. Turn left at the ‘famous’ Robertson Pie Shop onto Jamberoo Mountain Road. Travel 10 kms and turn left at Knights Hill Road. Alternatively drive through Albion Park towards Jamberoo, taking the turnoff at Jamberoo Mountain Road, and follow the signs to the Illawarra Fly.

FROM THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
15 minutes from Robertson, via Jamberoo Mountain Road, taking the turn opposite the ‘famous’ Robertson Pie Shop towards Kiama.

FROM KIAMA – SOUTH COAST
35 minutes from Kiama, via Jamberoo and Jamberoo Mountain Roads- 15 minutes past Minnamurra Rainforest – towards Robertson.

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

How to get the best value tickets to Ilawarra Fly

Book online to receive 10% off the treetops walk or 20% off the zipline tour.

The MYFLY pass option lets Illawarra and Southern Highlands residents revisit Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures free for 12 months after their first paid visit.

The absolute best value however is to buy an annual Merlin Pass which includes 12 months admission to Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, WILD LIFE Hamilton Island and Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium. 

Merlin annual pass details

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures
182 Knights Hill Rd, Knights Hill
Online 

We were hosted by Merlin Entertainment. All opinions are my own.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Top Tips For Visiting Caves Beach, NSW

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach is located on the Swansea peninsula between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean in New South Wales, Australia. It is named for the large number of caves at its southern end which can be explored at low tide.

It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to drive from Sydney to Caves Beach.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

The caves are a popular place to explore and also give much needed shade.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

There are plenty of rock pools around the caves as well, which are a lot of fun to paddle in like giant baths or search for sea creatures in.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

The caves are only accessible at low tide so plan your visit accordingly by checking when low tide is here.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Swim between the flags at the south end of the beach where it it patrolled by lifeguards.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

The Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club (also at the south end of the beach) has a small kiosk, toilets and showers. There is an external shower for hosing off sand, well maintained BBQ facilities and picnic areas.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

There is also a flat sand area with ankle-deep water near the Surf Club which is perfect for little kids to play in.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Park as far as you can down Caves Beach Road. The car park however fills up quickly on busy days.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

We dined and parked at the Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows. I would suggest reserving a table if you know you are going in advance as it is a very popular spot. The Restaurant is extremely family-friendly with a an indoor play area for kids and kids’ menu. The day we visited they also had a bouncy castle available for kids.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

The food was standard pub cuisine. We found it a bit pricey for what it was but the ambience was excellent and the location can’t be beat.

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia
Pumpkin and Sage Arancini ($15), Margherita pizza ($19), Rump Steak ($29), Salmon Fillet ($32), Kids Battered Fish and Chips ($10).

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach Road,
Caves Beach.
Get directions

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Fitzroy Falls Morton National Park NSW

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The spectacular Fitzroy Falls is located inside the Morton National Park, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, a two hour drive from Sydney or Canberra and 60mins from Wollongong. The 81-metre waterfall is easy to access and makes for a stunning day trip.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls are viewable from several lookout points, the first of which is only a short walk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre and is full accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Continue along the West Rim track to see the falls from more lookout locations. Continue the walk to the Twin Falls for another beautiful waterfall.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The entire West Rim track is 3.5km return, however the Twin Falls are located around halfway along this walk.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre has information on local history, wildlife and birdwatching plus a basic cafe with a kids’ play area and picnic tables and bathrooms outside.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

During spring, the East Rim Wildflower walking track offers beautiful blooms.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

There is plenty of wildlife to discover along the way. We came across a giant termite mound not far past the first lookout and a lyrebird in full song.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The bush blooms even in summer are beautiful to discover.

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

Opening times
9am to 5pm daily. Closed on Christmas Day. Opening times can vary depending on the season.

Accessibility
Disability access level – easy
This area is fully wheelchair-accessible
Toilets, elevated walkway to main lookout, visitor centre and cafe are wheelchair-accessible.
A wheelchair is available on request

Parking
Parking is available at Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, including several designated disabled spots. Bus parking is available. A daily motor vehicle entry fee applies at the visitor centre carpark. There are coin-operated ‘pay and display’ machines – bring correct change!

Get more info about Morton National Park here.

Get Directions

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive - Australia

The iconic Sydney to Brisbane drive is a breathtaking 920km, or 10 hour, road trip past some of the most beautiful towns and peaceful beaches Australia’s coastline has to offer. While you can do the drive in a single day, why not spread it out over a few days or even weeks, and soak up the pristine beaches, delectable cafes and fascinating history that is on offer throughout the Sydney to Brisbane road trip.

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive

Main Beach, Byron Bay

Central Coast

Avoca, NSW, Australia

The Central Coast is only an hours drive north of Sydney, and is home to beautiful beaches and delightful cafes. Set aside a few days if you can to visit beaches and seaside towns like Copacabana, Macmasters Beach, Terrigal and Avoca Beach. We loved visiting the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford, and have often enjoyed the daily pelican feeding at The Entrance.

Read more about things to do on the Central Coast here.

Newcastle

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The industrial and coastal city has so much to offer. We love Newcastle’s gorgeous beaches, delicious cafes and stunning ocean baths. You can also visit historic Fort Scratchley, the Newcastle Museum and Nobbys Lighthouse.

Read more about things to do in Newcastle here.

Port Stephens

Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Located 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, the area has a stunning 26 beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Port Stephens is renowned for whale and dolphin watching, sand dunes and gourmet restaurants.

Read more about things to do in Port Stephens here.

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Located four hours drive north of Sydney and six hours south of Brisbane, Port Macquarie is a seaside town at the mouth of the Hastings River. It’s a gorgeous spot to spend a few days enjoying the beaches, wildlife and penal colony history.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Visit the Port Macquarie’s Historic Courthouse that was built in 1869 and is located in the town centre. Read more about historic and cultural attractions in Port Macquarie here.

We loved the colourful graffiti rocks on the break wall that stretches down to the very popular Town Beach. Along the walk we spotted plenty of dolphins frolicking in the bay.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Town Beach has modern bathroom and shower facilities, grassy areas, picnic facilities, a skate park, kiosk, an outdoor gym and a modern playground.

We also loved Mrs York’s Garden, a peaceful spot with lovely water views. Read more about Mrs York’s Garden here.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Other popular attractions in the area include the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse, whale watching, Billabong Zoo, the Koala Hospital and the hand-painted giant koala sculptures on the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Dining at the Pancake Place is an absolute must. They serve up delicious pancakes and crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, making it a popular stop on the quintessential coastal road trip. While the mid north coast town might be just a convenient place to stay a night or two for those making the longer journey, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many things to do in Coffs Harbour, and would recommend it for a holiday destination.

Read more about things to do in Coffs Harbour here.

Yamba

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Around 7.5 hours north of Sydney and 3 1/4 hours south of Brisbane, Yamba is a quiet little gem with beautiful beaches, fresh seafood and stunning national parks surrounding it. We loved the chilled out vibe in this little seaside town and its excellent cafes.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Take a dip in the usually calm waters of Main Beach, or try the ocean pool at its south end if the waves are choppy.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Stroll up a bit further to Turner’s Beach where you’ll find a rock shelf and the South Break Wall, plus a path and steps that lead up to the Lighthouse. We spotted pods of dolphins in the water from the break wall.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

The Lighthouse, built in 1955, offers gorgeous views up and down the coast.

Ballina

Ballina, Big Prawn, NSW, Australia

Located roughly 8.5 hours north of Sydney and 2 hours south of Brisbane, Ballina is an old school seaside town that’s a great base for exploring the local attractions. Check out the local beaches, take a river cruise or enjoy a kayaking tour if you like being on the water. The town is close to Broadwater and Bunjalong National Parks for nature-lovers.

We highly enjoyed Ballina’s Big Prawn, which was built in 1989 and given a $400,000 makeover in 2013. It’s located adjacent to Bunnings Warehouse in River Street.

While in Ballina we stayed at the Ballina Homestead Motel and highly recommend it.

Read more about things to do in Ballina here.

Lennox Head

Lennox Heads, NSW, Australia

A 10 minute drive north from Ballina is Lennox Head, a charming little seaside village with oodles of charm. We loved the beautiful 7 Mile Beach and strolling the main street with its boutiques and cafes. There’s a great playground for kids in the park near the beach.

Lennox Heads, NSW, Australia
We enjoyed the most delicious Italian dinner at the supremely kid-friendly Quattro Classic Lennox Head and homemade gelato from gelato from Lennox Gelato & Coffee Co. They had chilli gelato on the menu but we weren’t game to try it!

Byron Bay

Cape Byron

8.5 hours north of Sydney and 2 hours south of Brisbane lies the ever-popular Byron Bay. Once a hippy town Byron has of late attracted more of an upmarket, hipster clientele, and the hotels, restaurants and shops have started to reflect the new visitors. The vibe is still relaxed, but the town has started to get a whole lot trendier!

Main Beach, Byron Bay

Byron Bay has plenty of natural attractions on offer, including stunning beaches included Main Beach, Clarkes, Wategoes and Little Wategoes. The later is Australia’s easternmost beach. Main Beach has an excellent playground for kids.

Wategoes Beach, Byron Bay

There are also plenty of bushwalks in hinterland rainforest, coastal trails and loads of wildlife to spot.

Byron bay Hinterland

We love visiting Cape Byron, the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia and home to Australia’s most powerful lighthouse.

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Take the easy 4km Byron Bay Lighthouse walk (parking is available if you prefer to drive) and look out for marine life in the Cape Byron Marine Park below. Dolphins, turtles, rays and whales can all be spotted – we were lucky enough to see a few whales.

Cape Byron

The Cape Byron Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers cottages were built in 1901. Light food and drinks are available.

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

We highly enjoyed dining at Bayleaf Cafe, which really embodies how far Byron has come and what its future might hold. Delicious, fresh food, beautifully prepared and creatively presented, in a buzzy cafe with open windows and tables spilling out onto the footpath.

Crystal Castle, Byron, NSW, Australia

To get a real feel for the spiritual side of Byron Bay, visit the Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. The gardens are speckled with the beautiful crystals and statues that pay tribute to various spiritualities around the world, including the largest stone Blessing Buddha in Australia. Our daughter loves crystals, so we visited to see the world’s tallest geode pair. We really enjoyed the gardens but thought it was an extremely expensive outing for what it was.

We found the accommodation in Byron Bay to be double the price of neighbouring towns, so opted to stay in nearby Coolangatta instead.

Find more things to do in Byron Bay here.

Gold Coast

Queensland’s Gold Coast is a family-friendly stretch of coast lined with spectacular beaches, famous theme parks and lush hinterland rainforests.

Coolangatta

9 hours north of Sydney and 1 1/4 hour south of Brisbane, Coolangatta is the southernmost suburb of the Gold Coast, just over the NSW border. It was named after the schooner Coolangatta, which in 1846 was wrecked there.

Coolangatta is only a short drive from Surfers Paradise but it feels like a different world. The town has a relaxed vibe to it and a stunning beach so that when combined with its excellent restaurants and hotels, makes for the perfect Gold Coast destination in our opinion.

Kids will love the excellent, shaded playground just across from the main strip of restaurants and the wide path that runs along the beach for scooting.

Sunset at Snapper Rocks is incredible. If you visit during winter you might see whales passing by like we did.

We dined at O Sushi which had a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes including haloumi skewers. Gelato Messina is not to be missed.

While in Coolangatta we stayed at the Greenmount Beach Hotel, which was an excellent budget find.

Currumbin

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin is famous for the beautiful Currumbin Creek waterway that offers sheltered conditions for swimming and watersports –  Tallebudgera Creek is particularly popular with the locals.

You’ll also find the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in this peaceful beach suburb. Arrive at8am to participate in their daily free lorikeet feeding.

Read more about visiting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary here.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads, Qld, Australia

The relaxed vibe in Burleigh, as the locals call it, gives it an entirely different feel to its neighbouring beaches to the north. While you can see the Surfers Paradise high rises in the distance, it feels like a whole world away.

Burleigh Heads, Qld, Australia

The beach is protected and calm, making it popular with families. We loved climbing rocks and trees at the south end and sitting on the headland and watching surfers showing off their moves.

Paddock Bakery, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

We dined at the excellent Paddock Bakery in the neighbouring suburb of Miami. With its relaxed vibe and pretty, tasty food, it’s an iconic Gold Coast cafe well worth the visit.

Broadbeach

Gold Coast With Kids via christineknight.me

Getting further into the bustling centre of the Gold Coast, Broadbeach has a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and accommodation choices, with a family-friendly vibe. It’s a great base for a Gold Coast holiday if you’re after plenty of things to do and see. Broadbeach also has a beautiful beach, large playground for kids, and the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Surfer Paradise, which was located halfway between Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Read more about our stay at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise here.

Surfers Paradise

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Surfers is a hotspot for tourists visiting the Gold Coast. The iconic Surfers Paradise Beach and its sign draw in overseas visitors while the nightlife attracts school leavers. There are loads of attractions in Surfers Paradise that make it a great spot to stay if you’re keen to do and see the sights, especially with older kids. Attractions include SkyPoint Observation Deck,  Infinity Attraction, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Timezone.

Surfers Paradise is also where you’ll find all of the Gold Coast’s theme parks.

Read about things to do on the Gold Coast with kids here.

The Sydney to Gold Coast drive is one of our favourite holidays trips to make, and often we will stop here rather than proceeding on to Brisbane. The Sydney to Gold Coast road trip is around 9.5 hours drive, or 848km.

Brisbane

Brisbane

The capital city of Queensland, Brisbane is a 10 hour drive from Sydney. It’s a vibrant city, filled with art, music, restaurants, man-made beaches and the beautiful river that runs through the middle.

In Brisbane, we stayed at the Novotel Brisbane, which we highly recommend.

Read about our stay at the Novotel Brisbane here.

Read about things to do in Brisbane with kids here.

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia

And thats it! The Sydney to Brisbane drive is an epic journey through some of Australia’s most beautiful scenery. I highly recommend taking your time to see the sights along the way.

The Best Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids

Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids: Qld Australia
 

Things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

Queenland’s Gold Coast is a family-friendly stretch of coast lined with spectacular beaches, famous theme parks and lush hinterland rainforests. It’s no wonder families return year after year to holiday in this paradise, there is just so much to do on the Gold Coast with kids!

Gold Coast With Kids via christineknight.me

Beaches

Coolangatta, QLD

The number one attraction on the Gold Coast, and it’s FREE! Take a sun shelter, sand toys and plenty of sun screen. Main Beach and Surfers Paradise are the glitzy attention-hogs of the coast, with Broadbeach a close third, but we prefer the quieter beaches like Burleigh Heads, the supremely family-friendly Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek and Coolangatta Beach. It’s no surprise that with so many gorgeous spots to choose from, that the beaches rate number one for our fave thing to do on the Gold Coast with kids.

Theme Parks

Dreamworld

Dreamworld, Australia

Dreamworld is a theme park and zoo. The park features thrilling rides, kid-friendly rides, WhiteWater World (which is a water park area), live shows and entertainment, Tiger Island (part of Dreamworld’s Sumatran tiger conservation program), ABC Kids World, Wiggles World, Troll Village and Dreamworld Corroboree, which is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, culture, wildlife and stories. We’ve visited Dreamworld many times over the years and the tigers are always our favourite.

dreamworld.com.au

Image courtesy of Dreamworld

Sea World

Sea World via christineknight.me

Sea World is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, and theme park located on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It includes rides, animal exhibits and other attractions, and it promotes conservation through education and the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.

Sea World via christineknight.me

Out of all the theme parks, this was the best for little kids. Lots of animals exhibits and shows like the seals pictured above, a few rides such as the carousel and the Viking Revenge Flume, and great character shows and meet and greets with Dora The Explorer and Spongebob Square Pants.

seaworld.com.au

 
 
Warner Bros Movie World
 

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Warner Bros Movie World is Australia’s only movie-related theme park. Best suited to older tweens and up, Movie World features lots of thrilling rides, character meet and greets and live shows.

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Movie World does has a great section for younger kids with smaller rides and a splash area for hot days. Several of the rides require kids to be over 100cm still, so for kids age 3 and under the ride choices are limited. The character shows and parade however are a lot of fun for littles, and run all day long.

movieworld.com.au

Wet’n’Wild

Wet'n'Wild Water World, Australia
 
This popular water park features rides and slides for thrill seekers and families. Their Wet’n’Wild Junior precinct is especially designed for kids aged under 10 and under 140cm tall, and features eight kid friendly water slides including miniature versions of the larger thrill slides, a shallow children’s pool and multi-level interactive adventure play area with a tipping bucket.
 
Get more info about visiting Wet’n’Wild here.
Image courtesy of Wet’n’Wild.
 
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
 
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia
 
The iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Australia’s Gold Coast is a heritage-listed zoological garden, built in 1947. Set on 27 hectares of Currumbin rainforest, you’ll need to dedicate a full day to exploring. Be sure to arrive early for the 8am free lorikeet feeding.
 
Read more about our experience at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary here.

Aquaduck

Aquaduck via christineknight.me
For a short outing (it goes for an hour, departing from the middle of Surfers Paradise), the Aquaduck is great for for kids.

Aquaduck via christineknight.me

The duck takes a drive along side the beach, and then takes to the water to give a tour of the glam houses on the lagoons. The best part for Cheese was getting to drive the boat.

aquaduck.com.au

Tamborine Mountain

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

I’ve heard locals call Tamborine Mountain the “green behind the gold”, which is a beautiful way to look at it. The third oldest National park in the world, the Tamborine Mountain features 12 walking tracks, each one no longer than around 3km.
 

Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Cave

Mount Tamborine Glow-worm Caves , Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

 

Did you know that glow worms are only found in Australia and New Zealand? Get a glimpse at these tiny, illuminated creatures at the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Tours at Cedar Creek Estate, in a purpose-built cave filled with thousands of glow worms. The cave was built to take some of the attention off other areas of the mountain where the glow worms are found naturally and were attracting large amounts of tourists.

 
The cave ensures that visitors levels and interaction with the glow worms is kept at a level safe to the glow worms while also ensuring that their cousins in the wild are able to live with less tourist traffic damaging their habitat. As a bonus, you can see these glow worms from 10am-4pm year-round, whereas glow worms in the wild can only be viewed at night.
 
 

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Mount Tamborine Skywalk, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

A 1.5km rainforest walk, the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk includes a 40 metre Skywalk Cantilever (steel-structured) and Cedar Creek Viewing Platform, which both give excellent views of the rainforest from the treetops.
 
Mount Tamborine Skywalk, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
 
The walk then continues on a winding path on the canopy floor. The walk takes around 45 minutes. Note: this is a paid experience. We thought it was a bit expensive for what was offered.
 
 

Curtis Falls Track

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

This is the perfect family-friendly waterfall walk through a eucalypt forest and lush rainforest.

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

The walk is short but when you stop to examine the intricate strangler figs and look inside hollow tree trunks, it can take a while to reach the waterfalls at the bottom. There are no bathrooms nearby!

Gallery Walk

Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

Stop by the “Gallery Walk“ where over 60 art, craft, gift and nick-knack shops line the street.

Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

We enjoyed getting lost inside Flights of Fancy, the most beautiful fairy shop we’ve ever seen, and sampling the many incredible flavours of fudge at Fudge Heaven.

Getting to the Gold Coast

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

 
We booked a cheap flight online (try Webjet or Skyscanner) and had a very easy, fast trip to Gold Coast airport. Pros: it’s fast. Cons: if your hotel isn’t walking distance from everything you want to see, you’ll need to shell out a lot of money in expensive shuttle buses or take public transport. There is a tram service that links many of the popular destinations – get info on where the tram stops and pricing here.
 
You can also do the traditional driving route from your home city – ours is Sydney. Read about the best places to stop on the Sydney to Brisbane drive here. Pros: you have a car at your disposal when you get there. Cons: you might have to pay for parking at your hotel, and the drive up is loooooooong if you come from somewhere as far as Sydney.
 

Family Accommodation on the Gold Coast

 
Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa
 
Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me
We loved the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa. Situated between the beach and a lagoon, it’s surrounded by water on all sides. The two excellent pools, one saltwater with a waterfall and fish and the other chlorinated with a whirlpool feature and cave, make it hard to leave the resort
 
Read more about our stay at the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa here.
 
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise
 
Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is a large, older grand dame of a hotel, consisting of two towers, connected by an undercover walkway. We loved the two giant pools and heated spa.
 
Read more about our stay at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise here.
 
 
Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids: Qld Australia
 
 

Eight Awesome Things To Do In Port Stephens

Eight Things To Do In Port Stephens

Located 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, the area has a stunning 26 beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Port Stephens is renowned for whale and dolphin watching, sand dunes and gourmet restaurants. There are so many thing to do in Port Stephens that I suggest staying for at least three days, more if you can.

I’m reluctant to write about Port Stephens in a way because it’s a little gem that has been off the tourist radar so far, and it’s kind of nice that way! Both hubby and I have spent a lot of time of the years at Port Stephens and it’s an area very dear to our hearts.

Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay Marina, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Nelson Bay is the heart of Port Stephens. The beautiful marina is a popular spot for waterfront dining, cycling and scooting, as well as being the location for departing water tours. Nelson Bay is the main township in the area so has the best selection of accomodation, restaurants and other facilities.

Little Beach

Little Beach Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

One of the best family friendly spots in the area is Little Beach, tucked between Nelson Bay Beach and Shoal Bay Beach. The flat water is calm and perfect for littlies, and there is loads of soft sand for building sandcastles. We have spent many hours here floating in the water and relaxing. It’s heaven!

Nelson Head Heritage Light House Cottage and Reserve

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens

You can drive or walk up to the Nelson Head Lighthouse Cottage and Rescue Station Reserve.

Nelson Head

The headland was chosen as the perfect spot for a lighthouse in 1875 thanks to its unparralel views of Port Stephens. It’s a great spot for tea and scones in the Tea Rooms, kookaburra spotting and taking in the view.

Tomaree National Park

Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Get some easy exercise with the Tomaree Head Summit walk. A short, invigorating (read – steep uphill!) walk 161 metres above the entrance to Port Stephens, the reward from the lookout at the top is a stunning view of the coast as far as Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands. From the south platform you can see Box Beach, Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse.

Fingal Bay

Fingal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

This beach is a near-perfect C-curve and is a popular spot to set up for the day with a picnic to just relax. BYO shade shelter as there is no shade on the beach! Walk north to the sand split that links Fingal Island.

View of Fingal Spit looking towards Mount Tomaree, Port Stepens.

Our fave secret spot is to walk over the dunes when the tide is too high to pass over the sand split to the secret beach on the other side.

Additional image of Fingal Split courtesy of Destination NSW.

Stockton

Stockton Beach, Newcastle, Port Stephens

Famous for its length, Stockton Beach is 33km long, making it the longest beach in NSW. Known for its magnificent sand dunes which, at 100 metres tall are the longest mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, Stockton is a sleepy seaside town with some beautiful 19th century cottages. It’s secret gem we love to visit.

One Mile Beach / Anna Bay

A popular beach spot, One Mile Beach is a small town located between Boat Harbour and Nelson Bay. It has basic amenities and a small kiosk, plenty of parking and shady picnic areas.

Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay, Port Stephens

Families love visiting Shoal Bay for a very good reason. As well as being stunningly beautiful, it’s a quiet town with a relaxed vibe. Shoal Bay Beach stretches 2.5lm between Nelson Head and Tomaree Head, protected by both to offer calm swimming waters lapping against the white sand. Kids have been jumping off the jetty for generations!

With so many things to do in Port Stephens it’s hard to spend only a few days in this gorgeous slice of paradise.

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens

8 Fun Things To Do In Newcastle, NSW

Things to do in Newcastle, NSW, Australia

8 Fun Things to do in Newcastle

Australia’s eight largest city is a coastal stunner, surrounded on both sides by beautiful beaches. Newcastle is also a city steeped in history and has becoming a gastronomical mecca of late, with a plethora of cute cafes to choose from. There are plenty of things to do in Newcastle, so plan to spend at least a few days in Steel City!

Fort Scratchley

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Located in Newcastle East, Fort Scratchley was built in 1882 to defend the city against a potential attack from the Russians. Now a museum, Fort Scratchley is a popular spot to check out the old building which is now a museum and take in the spectacular view on all sides. Kids will love rolling down the hill to the playground below.

Nobbys Lighthouse

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

A Newcastle icon, Nobbys Lighthouse was built in 1858. The grounds are open from 10am-4pm every Sunday, offering spectacular views of Newcastle, Stockton and beyond.

Get more information about Nobbys Lighthouse here.

Newcastle Memorial Walk

Newcastle Memorial Walk, Newcastle.

A picturesque 450m long boarwalk and bridge, the Newcastle Memorial Walk was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 which also coincided with the commencement of steel-making in Newcastle.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Swim at the many beautiful beaches

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Newcastle has plenty of beaches to choose from. Stockton Beach is the longest beach in NSW and has giant sand dunes that are popular for “surfing” down. Dixon Park Beach, Nobbys Beach, Newcastle Beach and Mereweather Beach are all beautiful options – you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Newcastle and Merewether Ocean Baths

Newcastle Baths, NSW, Australia

These popular swimming spots are also a piece of Newcastle history. Newcastle Ocean Baths was opened in 1922 and Merewether Baths in 1935. We particularly loved the Art Deco-style bathing pavilion at the iconic Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Newcastle Ocean Baths, Newcastle.

Families will love the large, shallow Canoe Pool that sits adjacent to the Newcastle Ocean Baths, on its southern side.

The baths are open year ’round.

Additional image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A small museum excellently executed, the Newcastle Museum is a top spot to learn more about the local area through interactive and engaging exhibitions.

The Supenova Hands-on Science Centre including a Mininova area for kids under 115cm are particularly fun for families to drop in and see, as is the full-sized vintage tram that is just beckoning to be climbed.

Read more about our visit to the Newcastle Museum here.

Shop and eat on Darby Street

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Darby Street is the place to shop, eat and people watch. The street contains cafes, restaurants, galleries and gift stores.

Blackbutt Reserve

Blackbutt Reserve Newcastle

A favourite with families, Blackbutt Reserve contains nature trails, playgrounds and wildlife exhibits. With plenty of barbecue and picnic facilities, it’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day in nature.

Entry to the park is free, and animal feedings run daily (except for Christmas Day, Anzac Day and Good Friday). The current schedule is 10.30am Wombats, 10.45am Lorikeets, 1.30pm Nocturnal Animals and 2pm Koalas, however please visit Blackbutt Reserve Facebook page for cancellations and changes. The new playground at Richley Reserve is also worth checking out.

Get more info on visiting Blackbutt Reserve here.

Image courtesy of the City of Newcastle. 

Where to eat in Newcastle

Napoli Centrale Pizza Bar

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

While you are guaranteed a good meal trying any one of the many chic restaurants on Darby Street, we particularly enjoyed dining at Napoli Centrale Pizza Bar, a Newcastle pizza institution.

Popolo Gelateria

Popolo Gelateria, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

I also highly recommend the excellent handmade gelato at Popolo Gelateria.

Goldbergs Coffee House

Goldbergs Newcastle
Another Newcastle institution! Goldbergs is worth visiting for the ambience and vibe, which is still the same laid-back feeling it’s had for decades. No kids’ menu but some plain options kids will eat. Lots of vegetarian choices.

Monella Gelato

Monella Gelato Newacstle

An outstanding gelato spot with creative flavours that takes like heaven. Highly, highly, highly recommend Monella Gelato! I had pavlova and dulce de leche and they were fantastic.

Coco Monde

Coco Monde Newcastle

Coco Monde is a chocolate cafe specialising in delicious chocolate desserts and high teas, but also offering a savoury menu.

Three Monkeys Cafe

Three Monkeys Cafe Newcastle

A popular cafe, Three Monkeys serves delicious breakfast dishes and smoothies. I loved my breakfast dish here – a smashed avocado and egg dish with slash of zesty beetroot. 

Mockingbird

Mockingbird Cafe Newcastle

The gorgeous Mockingbird cafe is located in the suburb of Hamilton, so a bit out of the city centre. It is highly worth the drive however as the food is incredible! The kids’ red velvet pancakes were so pretty, and the avocado dish superb.

Bistro Dalby

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

Bistro Dalby at the Novotel Beach Hotel is an excellent choice for a nice evening meal (they have an incredible kids’ menu!). Plenty of options for all dietary requirements and amazing service.

How to get to Newcastle from Sydney

We drove our own car from Sydney via the M1 and Pacific Highway. It takes about 2.5 hours (168km) to drive. You can catch the train to Hamilton or Broadmedow Stations and then hop on a connecting shuttle bus to central Newcastle until the light rail is complete. Regular Newcastle and Central Coast services depart from Central Station, Strathfield, Epping, Eastwood and Hornsby. Greyhound bus services also take passengers from Sydney’s Central Station. Get more info on taking public transport to Newcastle here.

Where to stay in Newcastle

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

We highly enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel. It was in an excellent location, had extremely friendly staff, and the brekkie was fantastic!

Read more about our stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel here.

Things to do in Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Newcastle Museum: Trams, trains and science, oh my!

Visiting the Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A visit to Steel City isn’t complete without stopping by the excellent Newcastle Museum. The free museum highlights the city’s industrial past, cultural highlights and has an excellent hands-on science centre.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

The Newcastle Museum is a gem and not to be missed. It’s not too big, so you can easily drop by for an hour or two, and as it’s free there’s no reason not to! Inside the museum you’ll find excellent permanent exhibitions as well as new rotating ones depending when you go.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

The permanent exhibitions include Fire and Earth, exploring the industrial roots of the Hunter, A Newcastle Story, which focuses on the character of the city through featuring its beauty, character and the lives that have been led here, the Link Gallery, which sits between the Boilershop and Erecting Shed and houses a working 1890 pipe organ formerly installed in St Augustine’s Church, Merewether, and an 1870 J&A Brown Locomotive No4.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

It was fascinating to learn more about Newcastle’s history and some great inventions, businesses and citizens who hailed from this seaside town. Arnott’s, for example, opened as a small bakery in Newcastle in 1865 on Hunter St.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

We also loved the vintage tram that is just begging to be climbed on, with original ads that made us all laugh out loud when we read them.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A big drawcard for families is the Supernova Hands-on Science Centre. Jam-packed with hands-on science experiments, it’s the perfect spot enjoy science in a safe and fun environment.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

Highlights of the Supernova include the lifting a car experiment, making your own tornado, playing with magnets and Mininova, the area where kids under 115cm can climb, solve puzzles and tunnel through a maze.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

There is a cafe at the exit where you can sit down and enjoy light snacks, and a really fun street art wall around the side that is just begging for selfies.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle, NSW, Australia Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Newcastle Museum
6 Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW
(02) 4974 1400

Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (open 7 days during the school holidays)
newcastlemuseum.com.au

 

Visiting the Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia