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Rainy Day Activities in Greater Newcastle


CoastXP guided eco-tours operate in light rain, but not when mother nature goes all out! It’s moments like this that demonstrate there are so many amazing things to do in Newcastle, even when it’s raining. Luckily Newcastle has something for everyone, whether you have kids, want to relax with a drink in hand, or are looking for an adrenaline hit – here are some ideas for how to spend a wet weather day in Newcastle.

Go rock climbing… indoors!

If you want to get the adrenaline pumping, why not try indoor rock climbing? The Pulse Climbing gym in Adamstown has top-notch ropes and bouldering available, as well as classes and coaching, catering to everyone from kids to adults, from amateurs to seasoned cliffhangers. Pulse Climbing is easily accessible from Newcastle and surrounding regions with a variety of locations including Gosford, Warners Bay, Maitland, and Adamstown.

A group of people enjoying a rock climbing wall

Photo: Pulse Climbing

Visit a local brewery

Newcastle has a thriving boutique brewing scene. Delve into the world of craft beers by visiting a local brewery. There are plenty of options – Foghorn Brewery, is conveniently located in the centre of town, Modus in Merewether, Method and Shout in Islington, Good Folk in Hamilton and Grainfed in Lambton, just to name a few. Take a tour, sample unique concoctions, and learn about the art of brewing. It’s a delightful experience for enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

A beer and food photograph at a brewery

Photo: Modus Merewether

Mix your own gin at Earp Distilling Co.

Ever dreamed of being a distiller? Now you can with a Gin Blending Class at Earp Distilling Co. Unlike beer and other spirits, the flavour profile of gin is added after it has been distilled, meaning you can add your own botanical wonders to create your own unique spirit! Take a blending class at Earp to do just that. If you’d rather leave that to the masters, guided tastings and distillery tours are also available.

Two women blending gin flavours in a class

Photo: Earp Distilling Co

Have lunch at an award-winning restaurant

The Hunter is famous for good food, and for good reason. If you’re up for an adventure, the Hunter Valley boasts five hatted restaurants. Muse at Hungerford Hill has two hats and lives up to the hype. Bistro Molines has some of the best food and the best view in the Hunter Valley (and the sparkling from Carillon Wines next door is outstanding). Yellow Billy at Pigg’s Peake will give you a hearty meal and the newly hatted EXP is modern and exciting. The restaurant at Margan Winery in Broke is a little further by worth the drive. While it hasn’t yet received a hat, we also tip our cap to Hunters Quarter at Cockfighters Ghost Vineyard. All of these restaurants are attached to vineyards with cellar doors, so do it like a local and go for tastings before your meal!

If you are looking to stay closer to the city centre, The Flotilla in Wickham is the place to be! Being the first hatted restaurant in the city and since gaining another, The Flotilla offers an elevated dining experience with an ever-changing menu. Humbug Newcastle has also recently received its first hat, offering an adventurous menu with flavour influences from around the world. Other restaurants worth checking out include Roundhouse, Jana and Elementa.

Three plates of impeccably well presented food

Photo: The Flotilla

Go wine tasting in the Hunter Valley Vineyards

Newcastle may be an up-and-coming destination for brewing and distilling but it is also the capital of the Hunter Valley, where wine is king. Less than an hour’s drive from the city, the Hunter Valley vineyards are the oldest and some of the best in Australia. There’s an almost overwhelming number of vineyards to choose from, all offering cellar-door tastings. It’s easy to self-drive but where’s the fun in driving? Taking a tour with Newy Tour Co. means you can get picked up and dropped off in Newcastle, taken to all the best spots and can relax as you watch the picturesque countryside roll by.

A nicely-set table full of food and drink overlooking a vineyard

Photo: Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association

Fall in love with ART

Discover Art, new and old at one of Newcastle’s famous art galleries. Did you know that Newcastle has more artists per capita than anywhere else in Australia? There’s always something happening from exhibitions to events. The Newcastle Art Gallery is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment, but there are some incredible smaller and independent galleries in Newcastle from The Lock-Up to Cooks Hill Galleries, Watt Space Gallery, Lighthouse Arts, and Mitch Revs Gallery to name a few. Annually, Art is celebrated in Newcastle with the TINA “This is Not Art” Festival, The Big Picture Fest and Sculptures at Scratchley. 

Two women looking at paintings at an art gallery

Photo: Andreas Prodromou for Mitch Revs Gallery

Shop till you drop on Darby Street

Stroll down Darby Street to explore a vibrant array of art galleries and charming boutiques. From contemporary art to one-of-a-kind fashion finds, this eclectic street offers diverse shopping opportunities and some of the best cafes in Newcastle. Discover clothing, vintage fashion, swimwear, ceramics, giftware, homeware, and fine jewellery all in one place. After a day of shopping till you drop, stick around to explore the exciting live music that Darby Street offers on weekends in venues such as Hotel Delany and 5 Sawyers.

Shirts for sale on a clothing rack

Photo: Steel & Anchor, Darby St

Spend the day at Charlestown Square or Westfield Kotara

When it’s pouring rain and you are forced inside, what better day for a shopping spree? Charlestown Square and Westfield Kotara are the ultimate wet-weather destinations. These expansive shopping centres feature a wide range of stores, eateries and entertainment options, from Time Zone arcades to movie cinemas. If the weather has got you down, exploring these centres might be just what you need! 

A busy shopping centre dining area

Photo: Charlestown Square

Unwind with a yoga class

Embrace tranquillity on a rainy day by attending a yoga class. Newcastle offers a variety of studios where you can unwind, stretch, and find your centre, regardless of your skill level. There are lots of studios to choose from in almost every suburb. In the city, Yoga Loft offers casual visits for people who just want to drop in and join a class!

A man practicing a yoga position

Photo: Yoga Loft

Learn and have fun at Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum has a variety of permanent and special exhibitions, including “A Newcastle Story”, about the city’s history and culture and “Kuueeyung”, about the Awabakal and Worimi heritage of the region. And yes, “Supernova”, the hands-on science centre might *technically* be for kids but you wouldn’t know that from all the adults enjoying the exhibits. The museum also has a variety of programs and events for all ages. Entry is free and it is conveniently located in the city close to restaurants and bars!

The entrance to Newcastle Museum

Photo: Newcastle Museum

Take a Tunnel Tour

Fort Scratchley is Newcastle’s iconic defensive fort and is an important part of Australia’s WWII history, as it is the only fort in Australia to return enemy fire (during a submarine attack in 1942). But its history goes even further back. Built in the 1880s in anticipation of a Russian attack during the Crimean War, the fort complex includes a network of secret tunnels. When the weather is bad, why not go underground? Tours of the site and tunnels run daily (except Tuesdays).

A tour of WWII tunnels in Newcastle

Photo: Fort Scratchley

Entertain the family with a film

Escape the rain by snuggling up with some popcorn and enjoying a good movie at one of Newcastle’s cinemas. For the latest blockbusters and gold service, try Hoyts at Charlestown, Event Cinemas at Kotara or Reading Cinemas in Charlestown Square. For something different and an old-world experience, try Lake Cinema at Boolooroo. Open on weekends, Lake Cinema offers a mix of foreign, indie, cult classic and Hollywood films.

A couple watching a movie at the cinemas

Photo: Event Cinemas

Try ice skating at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium

Beat the rainy day blues by hitting the ice at Newcastle’s ice skating rink. It’s a fantastic way to stay active and have a blast, even when the weather isn’t cooperating. All ages and skill levels are welcome for public skating sessions with frames provided for beginners. To relax and refuel after a skating session, Hunter Ice Skating Stadium also offers a cafeteria with a variety of hot/cold snacks and beverages.

Lots of people enjoying ice skating at an ice rink

Hunter Ice Skating Stadium (Photo: The Esplanade Motel Warners Bay)

Curl up with a good book at the library

On a rainy day in Newcastle, there’s no better place than the library. With its welcoming atmosphere and diverse range of events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Let the kids have fun at rocking rhymes (English or Spanish!) or drag queen rainbow story time, while you curl up with a good book or sit in on an author talk. You can even learn a new skill like sewing or 3D printing. There are nine branches throughout Newcastle and the two biggest and busiest branches are the City branch opposite Civic Park and Wallsend, both are open seven days a week.

Test your problem-solving skills in an escape room

Looking for an exhilarating indoor adventure? Gather your team and head to one of Newcastle’s escape rooms. Solve puzzles, crack codes and work together to beat the clock and “escape” from themed rooms. There are several options close to the city centre, including Escape Reality, Unexpected Exit and Escape Zone.

A group of people enjoying an escape room activity

Photo: Escape Reality Escape Rooms

Bounce your blues away at Inflatable World

It’s raining, it’s pouring and the kids are bouncing off the walls… literally. Inflatable World is a playground like no other, where everything is a bounce house! You can slide, play blow-up gladiators and bounce until your heart’s content. Immerse yourself in the vibrant variety of obstacle courses and towering slides, suitable for the whole family to enjoy. This high-energy playland will ignite the thrill-seeker in everyone. And yes, adults are welcome to join the fun!

Enjoy some friendly competition at ten-pin bowling

On a rainy day, ten-pin bowling is a great place to keep the family dry with various locations across Newcastle and surrounding regions. Whether it’s wholesome fun with friends or friendly competition against your siblings, bowling will provide hours of indoor entertainment. Strike Bowling, located at Charlestown Square, features 8 bowling lanes in addition to a laser tag arena, karaoke, and mini golf with Holey Moley to keep people of all ages entertained all day or night. Dullboys, located in Warners Bay and Rutherford, will take you back in time to a classic American diner experience. Dullboys has 24 lanes of bowling available, an arcade, dodgem cars, mini golf, and karaoke. All these activities can’t be done on an empty stomach! The Diner and Bar Cadia allow you to unwind and enjoy some Palm Springs vibes.

Two children playing ten-pin bowling

Photo: Dullboys Social Co

Get active with Sports Parc @ Howzat

A rainy day doesn’t mean you can’t have fun getting active and playing your favourite sports! Sports Parc @ Howzat is the perfect place to experience the thrill of playing netball, basketball, and soccer indoors. Court hire is available for free-play with your friends and family or if you have a competitive edge, weekly competitions in each sport may appeal to you. If classic sports isn’t your forte you can still have fun at the high energy Ninja Parc, an all ages indoor obstacle course that offers rock climbing, ropes, and much more. Sports Parc @ Howzat is located on the popular Darby St, right in the centre of Newcastle.

A child jumping over blocks on an obstacle course

Photo: Ninja Parc Newcastle