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What’s on this Australia Day long weekend in the Hunter?

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No matter what 26 January means to you, the long weekend offers an opportunity to rest and reflect as holidays come to an end, and we prepare to head into the working year of 2024.

Every Australian loves a public holiday, and this is the last one until Easter so go ahead and make the most of it.

The Hunter is brimming with an array of free and low-cost events to suit all ages.

Australia Day

Cessnock: 

Australia Day Awards/citizenship ceremony – Cessnock City Council will host its annual Australia Day Awards and citizenship ceremony to recognise community members who have made a significant contribution, demonstrated excellence in their field, or are considered role models for generations to come. Friday 26 January. Free. From 10am. Performance Arts Culture Cessnock (PACC). 

Lake Macquarie: 

Social Beach Volleyball – Hunter Volleyball welcomes teams to compete in its annual Australia Day social beach volleyball competition, with men’s and women’s pairs division, and a mixed 3s division on offer. BYO shelter, enjoy the views, play some ball, and then enjoy the players’ BBQ at Belmont SLSC. Friday 26 January 8am to 8pm, Free. Blacksmiths Beach, 118 Ungala Road. 

Valentine Australia Day at Alambee Park – Family-friendly activities, morning tea and music. Friday 26 January 10am to 2pm, Alambee Park.   

Australia Day At Harrigan’s Cameron Park – Food specials all day, Yabby Racing from 2pm to 4pm. Friday 26 January, 11am to 11.30pm. Harrigan’s Cameron Park 

Stress Free Splash Zone at Speers Point Park – The Lake Macquarie & Newcastle Suicide Prevention Network invite the community to a fun and engaging water park activity. Stress Free Splash Zone will dedicate an area of Speers Point Park to include an inflatable water slide and a water play arena with water guns, obstacles and play elements in a controlled environment. Other lawn games available too. All welcome. Saturday 27 January 10am to 3pm. Speers Point Park. 

Australia Day 2024 – Dive in Cinema Maitland.

Maitland:  

Dive in Cinema – Watch a film from the pool as Maitland Aquatic Centre hosts Dive In Cinema, a film night complete with entertainment, food, laser tag, lawn games, and free swim time. Enjoy the screening of Paper Planes (G) and Red Dog (PG) from your floating device. Friday 26 January. From 5pm. Tickets are $5 per person for an out of pool ticket and $10 per person for an in pool ticket. 

Australia Day at Maitland Park – Maitland City Council is hosting its annual Australia Day festivities at Maitland Park from 7.30am to 12.30pm. The family-friendly event will include games, activities, performances, food, art and craft, and live entertainment.  

Australia Day at East Maitland – East Maitland Aquatic Centre is also hosting a family-fun day out from 10am to 4pm, Free. 

Newcastle:  

Ngarrama – ‘to sit, listen and know’. An evening of reflection, reconciliation, performance and culture at King Edward Park, Thursday 25 January, 7pm to 9pm, Free. Family-friendly. 

Beach 5s Australia Day Festival 2024 – Fast-paced beach rugby, Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 January 2024, Nobbys Beach, Free entry for spectators. 

Newcastle Harbour Swim – The 27th annual Newcastle to Stockton swim. Single Crossing (700m) from Stockton to Queens Wharf, Double Crossing (1,400m) from Queens Wharf to Stockton and back. Friday 26 January, 10am to noon, Stockton, Free for spectators, swim entry fee $55 – $75. 

Port Stephens: 

Australia Day in Raymond Terrace – Citizenship Ceremony, BBQ, marching band, RAAF fly past, coffee, rides, markets, kids entertainment, demonstrations, dragon boat race and live music. Riverside Park, Raymond Terrace, 8am to 1.30pm. Free. 

Australia Day in Nelson Bay – Citizenship ceremony, live music, RAAF fly past, food and drinks, free flags and jumping castles for kids, sheep shearing demonstrations, dance shows, markets, a vintage and Classic cars display, entertainment, displays and workshops. Gold coin entry supports local charities. Friday 26 January. 9.30am – 3.45pm. Fly Point Park, Nelson Bay.

Australia Day in Tilligerry – Live music, a Great Aussie Breakfast and an Auto Car Club display, Friday 26 January, 8am to noon, Tilligerry Lions Club/Henderson Park, Lemon Tree Passage, Free. 

Australia Day in Karuah – A fresh produce competition and auctions with money raised donated to the local RFS, a thong throwing competition, bowls, entertainment and fireworks at 9pm, Friday 26 January, 10am to midnight, Karuah RSL. Free 

Singleton:  

Australia Day Ceremony & Awards – BBQ breakfast (for a gold coin donation) from 8.30am followed by an awards ceremony at Singleton Civic Centre. Singleton Council is also livestreaming the event to its Facebook page and website: Australia Day | Singleton Council (nsw.gov.au).

There will also be free entry into the Singleton Gym and Swim on Friday.

Singleton’s much-loved Twilight kicks on Thursday 25 January, with the annual sunset community get-together offering free fun and games for all ages. The Townhead Park precinct is set to showcase a host of entertainment including music, roving performers, food trucks, slip and slide, jumping castles, obstacle course, face painting and more from 5.30pm until 9.30pm.

For more on events and activities in our region:

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