Things to do in Heatherbrae, Newcastle, the Hunter Valley & surrounds

things to do heatherbrae

Pacific Gardens Village is centrally located at Heatherbrae in the Lake Macquarie and NSW Hunter Valley regions. We are within a short drive of some of NSW’s most popular tourist towns including :

  • Nelson Bay & Port Stephens – 30 minute drive
  • The Hunter Valley – 30 minute drive
  • Newcastle – 20 minute drive
  • Raymond Terrace – 5 minute drive

QUICK LINKS : About the Hunter Valley | About NewcastleTourist Attractions | Beach and WaterwaysMarkets

things to do in hunter valley

About the Hunter Valley

Pacific Gardens Village » Hunter Valley = 30-60 minutes approximately. 

The Hunter Valley is probably best known as Australia’ premier wine growing region and is a food and wine connoisseur’s delight. With over 150 wineries, world-acclaimed restaurants and bountiful fresh produce that can be purchased direct from the grower’s farm gate dotted throughout the area, it’s a no wonder it’s one of Australia’s most visited tourist regions.

The region is also host to exciting music and arts festivals that run throughout the year and attract huge international stars of all genres including rock, pop, classical and opera.

But it’s not just the food and entertainment that attracts visitors each year, it’s also the magnificent countryside and stunning National Parks.  Bushwalking tracks meander throughout the region and walkers can explore UNESCO World Heritage wilderness and Yengo National Park where you might stumble upon ancient Aboriginal rock art. Volcanic flows created aeons ago shaped the beautiful Barrington Tops National Park which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

Pacific Gardens Village is the perfect base to explore the Hunter Valley.  We offer affordable holiday accommodation and caravan park facilities so you can stay longer and delight in this beautiful region for longer.

Scroll down for more information about things to do in the Hunter Valley.

things to do in newcastle

About Newcastle

Pacific Gardens Village » Newcastle =  20-30 minutes approximately. 

Newcastle is Australia’s seventh largest city and is bordered by a stunning coastline and beautiful beaches.  There is so much to see and do the list is almost endless.

Of course there is all that goes with the beach and waterways including surfing, fishing, boating and whatever water based adventures take your fancy. There is also an exciting and eclectic restaurant, cafe and bar culture that thrives in the various food precincts dotted throughout the city.  As one of Australia’s oldest cities, visitors can explore remnants of our convict past and the industrial revolution on walking tours whether self-guided or with a local expert.

Our village is only a 20-30 minute drive to all the delights that Newcastle has to offer. We are a convenient and central base so you can stay for longer and not miss a thing this exciting and beautiful region has to show.

Scroll down for more information about things to do in Newcastle.

Tourist Attractions

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Where : Heatherbrae (4 minute drive / 14 minute 1.2km walk)

The award-winning Hunter Region Botanic Gardens are managed and maintained by volunteers for the enjoyment and education of the people of the Hunter region and visitors from Australia and overseas.   The beautiful gardens cater for everyone from serious horticulturafordl enthusiasts to students undertaking educational school trips and families wanting to enjoy a day outdoors. The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 9am – 4pm. Entry is $2.00 per person for a full day or $5 for a family package. Parking is free. Visit website »

things to do hunter valley botanic gardens
Photo source Hunter Valley Botanic Gardens

Fighter World

Where : Williamtown (15 minute drive)

Located just 20 mins drive north of Newcastle, adjacent to the entrance to RAAF Base Williamtown at Newcastle Airport, Fighter World is a totally ‘hands on’ experience. Exhibited in two hangars, visitors can walk-around, touch and look into the cockpits of such famous aircraft as the Mirage III, the Avon Sabre, the Gloster Meteor, the first Vampire jet built in Australia and new in 2013 the mighty F-111. There is a Russian designed MiG-21 jet fighter, Hawker Hunter, WWII Spitfire replica, a Messerschmitt replica and much more. Fighter World also offers the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a Mirage interceptor and Macchi jet trainer and experience first-hand what it’s like to be one of Australia’s ‘Top Gun’ pilots in today’s hi-tech world. Perched on the Observation Deck you can witness the various aircraft of the RAAF’s premier Fighter Squadrons take-off and land while listening to all the action on the live audio feed direct from the Williamtown Control Tower. Fighter World is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 4pm.  Visit website »

things to do newcastle fighter world
Photo source Fighter World

Fort Scratchley

Where : Newcastle (30 minutes)

Built in 1882 to defend Newcastle from against possible Russian attack, Fort Scratchley is now an interactive museum.  The Fort is under constant restoration by our team of volunteers and is open to visitors 6 days a week, (closed Tuesday) from 10am to 4pm. Admission and self guided tours (excluding tunnels) are free. Paid guided tours through the extensive underground tunnel complex are run throughout opening hours. Visit website »

things to do newcastle fort scratchley
Photo source City of Newcastle

Oakdale Wildlife Park

Where : Salt  Ash (15 minutes)

Set on 25 acres, Oakvale Wildlife Park features an endless menagerie of Australian native, domestic farm and exotic animals such as koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, goats, sheep, rabbits, alligators and ostriches.  Splash Bay is a waterpark featuring wildlife themed water features. Visitors can also enjoy wildlife encounters such as holding dingo puppies, snakes, wombats and koalas. Visit website »

oakdale wildlife park

Sketchley Cottage Museum & Historical Society

Where : Heatherbrea (7 minute drive)

Sketchley Cottage is a rare timber slab colonial farm house circa 1840’s that houses the area’s Historical Society museum and various collections and is open to the public every fourth Sunday of the month from 10am – 2pm.  Visit the website »

sketchley cottage museum
Photo source National Trust

Tomago House

Where : Raymond Terrace (7 minute drive)

Tomago House is a gracious and elegant mansion built in 1843 for barrister Richard Windeyer, one of Australia’s leading politico-legal figures. Forming part of a vast  agricultural estate, Tomago House was the country residence and is admired for it’s fine verandahs looking over the pastoral lands and interiors that reflect the life and times of a family of status.  Visit website »

things to do raymond terrace tomago house
Photo source National Trust

Hunter Wetlands Centre

Where : Shortland (12 minutes)

There’s always lots to do and see and it changes with the seasons. Take a walk or ride your bike around the site; book a tour or go canoeing. Bring your camera and photograph some of our amazing wildlife. Kids can have fun at the Discovery Playground, try dip-netting and meet some of our birds and reptiles. There are also special events like School Holiday programs, Easter Fun Day and art exhibitions. There are picnic areas and BBQ facilities plus a cafe and onsite gift shop. It’s open to the public Monday – Sunday from 9am – 4pm (except public holidays). Entry is $5 for adults and children over 5 years. Family passes are available. Visit website »

things to do hunter wetlands centre
Photo source Hunter Wetlands Centre

whale watching newcastle

Beach and Waterways

Raymond Terrace

Distance from the Park : 5 minutes

Raymond Terrace’s riverbank is a great spot for waterskiing, boating and riverside picnics. There are two boat ramps in town: one off Riverside Park in Hunter St and another on the northern side of the Fitzgerald Bridge which is a good place to have a look at the river junction. The Oz Ski races (one of the world’s richest waterskiing tournaments) are held each March and the town’s Twin Rivers Festival in October.

Dolphin & Whale Watching Port Stephens

Distance from the Park : 30 minutes

There are dozens of whale and dolphin watching tour companies that depart from several locations dotted throughout Port Stephens.  Here you’re almost guaranteed to see bottlenose dolphins and, whale during the annual whale migration season between June and November. If a whale watching cruise is not to your liking then you can usually spot these majestic mammals from the headlands and lookouts dotting the coast.

Newcastle & Port Stephens Beaches

Distance from the Park : 30 minutes approx.

With miles of soft white sand beaches there is so much to do in and around the coastal tourist precincts of Port Stephens and Newcastle.

  • Visit Worimi Sand Dunes, the highest in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • 4WD and quad biking sand dune tours
  • Camel and horse riding on the beach
  • Sand boarding
  • Boat hire and marinas
  • Diving
  • Fishing

markets hunter valley


Slow Food Earth Market

Where : Maitland (23 minute drive)

Slow Food Earth Market Maitland is one of over 60 Earth Markets Worldwide and is the first of its kind in Australia. The Market is organised by Slow Food Hunter Valley members and community volunteers with support from the Maitland City Council. The market operates at The Levee Shared Zone on the first and third Thursday of each month between 2.00pm and 7.00pm during Summer, Autumn and Spring with adjusted hours of 2.00pm to 6.00pm for Winter trading. Visit website »

More markets 

Note: Whilst every attention has been paid to the correctness of the information on this page, events and dates may have changed. Please visit the following Visitor Information Centre websites for up to date information.