Our review of Newcastle vacations and the family friendly things to do and accommodation.
Newcastle is one of the destinations on our road trip where we had an idea to sty at as a place to live. This had the impact of heightening anticipation of staying in the area. We set up our tent at Stockton Beach Tourist Park A park run by the city of Newcastle and according to all the reviews we had looked at.
What was all the fuss about? There wasn't much in the way of facilities for kids although the camp kitchen was reasonable. We pitched our tent in a sunny spot by a trail to the beach. Newcastle Harbour is the busiest in Australia and camping right by it quickly emerged as the best reason to stay at Stockton Beach.
Large ships would regularly leave the harbour and often when a more notable ship was leaving the entire young contents of the caravan park would spew our of the sand trails and onto the beach to see the large vessels cruise right by in front of their noses – seemingly close enough to almost touch. The Rhapsody of the seas and the Queen Elizabeth made entries and exits from the harbour as well. You could usually could count on caching a large ocean liner come out about every half an hour. Our child is not of the age where cycling is a good option but if you do carry bikes with you I would recommend the cycle path that makes its way out to long jetty and along the harbour shore on both sides.
Easily the most attractive thing about staying at Stockton was how easy it was to get to the city of Newcastle. A ferry crossed the harbour about every half an hour or less, and for a minimal charge you could lodge yourself on the Newcastle harbour front. From where the ferry lands you can also make your way to quite a few of the family friendly attractions.
The Newcastle museum is one activity easily walked from the ferry with a sponsored kids science wing - of the best I have seen anywhere. Our toddler could lift a small car by only using leavers and had a great time staking the enormous blocks, and playing with the dozens of interactive exhibits.
From there walk down to the Hunter Mall towards the beach. The city baths are located within walking distance and there are some excellent toddler friendly and kid friendly pools.
The contrast of these man made protected areas on the beach and the large surf beyond was quite spectacular on the sunny day we arrived there. How nice for the people of Newcastle to have a salt-water swimming area that is readily accessible. A few kilometres south of there are the TK Merriweather baths known as the largest constructed rock pool in the southern hemisphere.
We did a few more activities while we were lodged at Stockton. The day trip we took up to see the Stocton Sand Dunes and the Nelson Bay areas proved one of the most rewarding day trips of our entire summer of travel. Another trip down to Caves Beach and the Lake Macquarie area was also spectacular.