Lifestyle & Culture

10 Things To Do Over Summer Break

Sun, sand, and surf…oh, and a few furry critters. Leanne Elliott looks at 10 things to do over the summer break.

Summer break is here, with Christmas and the New Year just around the corner. If you are anything like me, after all of the end-of-year festivities, you have an almost empty wallet and a lot of time to kill before Uni starts back. So here are 10 things to do in and around Newcastle at this time of year.

Stockton Sand Dunes

With all of the erosion which has damaged a lot of the coastline along Stockton, it is a good idea to enter the beach from Anna Bay. There is a small, flagged swimming area to the East and huge sand dunes to the West. But be warned, the sand dunes are scorching in summer, so make sure you take loads of water and sunscreen if you are going to explore the dunes. Make sure to take some cardboard or a boogie board to slide down the dunes – but a safety tip: make sure the dune is stable before sliding. Also, this area is a Worimi Conservation area, so please be mindful of your surroundings while you are there. [More info]

The Myall Lakes

The Myall Lakes is a National Park area and has loads of little spots for you to camp, swim, and bushwalk. However if you are keen to stay closer to your creature comforts, the Bombah Broadwater area has a Kiosk, paddle boat hire, amenities and even an old school ferry that you can take your car across the lake on. Just a warning though, I have used this area many times without incident, but if you are camping outside the main camping areas keep your food stored in containers, your campsite clean, and be on the lookout for goannas, snakes, and dingoes. [More info]

Day Trip to the Entrance

The Entrance is a cute little beach town on the Central Coast. It has lovely beaches, cafes, shops, restaurants, markets, and even an old school cinema. The area also boasts a number of huge shopping complexes and the Australian Reptile park is not too far away. If you are a bit of a nature lover be sure to check out the pelican feeding 3.30pm, 365 days a year at Memorial Park (get there early for a good view). [More info]

Little Beach

Because there are no waves, Little Beach is one of the safest beaches where you can take a dip in some of the clearest blue water in Nelsons Bay. It is also a great spot to do some fishing, snorkelling, and lazing around on your oversized novelty beach floaty. There is a nice (but pricey) fish and chips shop, and on the other side of the caravan park, there is another beach that does get some smaller waves which are good for boogie board riders, though this beach can get a bit of a rip at times so swim with care. [More info]

Caves Beach

Low tide at Caves Beach reveals a network of caves which beachgoers can explore. If you are lucky enough to make it to the other side of the cave you and find awesome rock pools, with loads of sea creatures to find. While the cave system is basic, it is a good idea to be vigilant of the tide and your surroundings when entering the cave. There is a beach canteen which has yummy hot chips and decent coffee, and a huge expanse of beachfront to walk along if you are keen on getting some salt air and exercise, and, the beach is patrolled during the day and has some pretty good waves for board riders. [More info]

Talk to the Animals

Get up close and personal with some cool critters over the holiday break by visiting one of the many animal parks around Newcastle. Blackbutt Reserve is close to town, free (except for parking) and has some nice walking tracks and a little animal exhibit which features wombats, emus, bats and a variety of Australian birds, though it gets super busy during kids school holidays. Oakvale Wildlife Park has some cool hands-on animal exhibits including feeding times for the baby lambs, and you can feed and hang out with the Kangaroos and see tones of other animals. A little bit further out of town, but definitely worth the trek, is the Hunter Valley Zoo, which has a more exotic range of animals including lemurs, lions, meerkats and monkeys.


Situated on Awabakal Land, Glenrock was the site of an old shooting range where they would shoot clay pigeons for sport. To us older Novocastrians it is aptly known as the Gun Club. You can go biking, hiking, swimming, or surfing in a true Australian bush to beach setting at Glenrock State Conservation Area. If you do plan on visiting Glenrock be sure to check out the link for maps and safety tips. [More info]

A Not So Newy New Years Eve

Yes the fireworks have been cancelled for New Year’s Eve 2020, but who needs fireworks to say a sweet goodbye to the nightmare that has been 2020, and hello the strange new world of 2021. Why not have a BBQ or Christmas feast at King Edward Park, then rinse off in the Bogie Hole, or have a BBQ at Dixon park, then a dip in the ocean. Not keen on getting wet? Why not drive to Mount Sugarloaf with that special someone and walk to the top of the lookout. Take a blanket, wine, and nibbles while you welcome the New Year in from afar. [More info]

Night-Time Dip

Those unbearable hot summer nights will be here before we know it. So, forget the sunscreen (unless you get moon burn) and grab your beach towel for a night-time dip at Merewether Baths. If you want to make your swim more festive, why not play a game of night-time water polo or Marco Polo with friends? [More info]

Feature Image: Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer


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