Fun and sun all summer long
Summer has finally arrived and the days are sunny and warm. It’s the time of year when we ready to get outside and have a bit of fun.
Whether it’s keeping the kids amused during school holidays, a catch up with friends or a chance to discover something previously unexplored, the Hunter has plenty going on over summer to keep you all entertained.
The valley comes alive with the sound of music over summer and there are concerts and live music on at venues all over the place. From the world’s biggest stars, to loved locals, head to Bimbadgen to see Kylie Minogue, John Butler and Bryan Adams, while Roche Estate is hosting Jimmy Barnes at the Red Hot Summer Tour. The mighty Red Hot Chilli Peppers will be rocking Hope Estate or go for something a little more laidback with classic Aussie favourites Icehouse and Mental as Anything at By the C in Newcastle.
From fresh produce, to arts and crafts, clothing and more, there are great markets showcasing the Hunter’s best artisans and growers on almost every weekend. Try Dalwood Markets or Handmade in the Hunter if you’re near the vineyards, head to Sacred Tree Markets at Nelson Bay, or Maitland Markets and Newcastle City Farmers Markets where the farm gate comes to you. The Olive Tree Market and Hunt and Gather are a couple of the most popular. Don’t forget the range of local regular markets in your area.
On the water
It wouldn’t be summer without time in and on the water. And living in the Hunter, we’ve got access to great beaches, beautiful lakes and running rivers. While a day at the beach is a summer tradition, you could also try kayaking in Newcastle harbour, stand-up paddling boarding in Throsby Creek, catching the ferry from Nelson Bay across to Tea Gardens for the day or trying a surfing lesson at Nobbys. If you prefer keeping your toes dry, there are a range of lake and ocean tours you can check out, or hire a boat for the day and see if you can catch dinner.
We are fortunate in the Hunter to have plenty of bushland, parks and state forest to enjoy. Try heading for the Watagans, Glenrock Lagoon or Barrington Tops for some bushwalking. King Edward Park and Walka Water Works are great places to take a picnic rug, lunch and a ball to kick around afterwards. With the daylight lasting longer, you could make it an alfresco dinner as the sun sets. Don’t forget Cinema Under the Stars in Nelson Bay, Maitland, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie too.
There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with animals. Try Blackbutt Reserve and see the koalas and wombats and if you’re brave enough, watch the reptile show. Hunter Valley Zoo is home to cute meerkats, regal cheetahs, lemurs, exotic birds, monkeys and more, and you can even pat a marmoset. See kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and alligators at Oakvale Wildlife Park and cool off in their new water area – Splash Bay.