School Holidays

Unleash your imagination these Autumn School Holidays


There are loads of opportunities to unleash your imagination these Autumn School Holidays as the City’s cultural attractions play host to a range of exciting events and workshops that will have you thinking like never before. Whether you want to write yourself the adventure of a lifetime, inspire your passion for poetry, or join us for fascinating science experiments, there's something to ignite the minds of curious kids of all ages!

Newcastle and Wallsend Library branches will be a hive of activity with ‘how to’ workshops on just about everything, while the Digital Library will have plenty to offer for those interested in unique interactive technology. Over at Newcastle Museum, get inventive at our Science Busking workshops or let your imagination run wild in our Poetry Workshops where attendees will use, but are not limited to, the Museum’s 1X4 exhibition as inspiration for writing.

Budding artists will love what’s on offer at Newcastle Art Gallery. Indulge in your love of food and art in the Illustrating Food Workshops, or get hands-on in local Aboriginal artist led bracelet weaving and dilly bag making workshops.

As the temperature starts to cool, Autumn is also the perfect time to enjoy outdoor adventures in our city. Explore Blackbutt Reserve and feed the friendly critters, or enjoy a picnic with a view and a bit of history at Fort Scratchley. While you’re out and about drop into our Visitor Information Centre to find more things to do in and around our great city!

You can start planning your holidays now with a range of free and bookable options from our cultural facilities. Read on for more ways to unleash your imagination these Autumn School Holidays.

Learn 'how to' do just about everything at Newcastle Libraries


Newcastle Libraries ‘how to’ workshops will have you exploring the depths of your imagination with activities for just about everything. Join Mel O’Dell, artist extraordinaire, and learn how to create an exciting paper illustration - here’s a chance to experiment, have fun and be guided in new techniques. Keep your creativity moving and get hands-on to create stupendous shadow puppets with Curious Legends, a workshop that will see you create unique coloured shadow puppets then bring them to life!

Keep the hands-on theme going and join local artist Clare Weeks for a cyanotype printing workshop where participants will use personal items, hands, feet, jewellery, ribbons or toys to create a photographic image utilising the process of Cyanotype (blue printing).

If storytelling is more up your alley, we have plenty to offer creative little geniuses. Write yourself the adventure of a lifetime with Newcastle based storyteller Karen Eastwood – be inspired, brainstorm ideas and refine your skills in this fabulous workshop, or let our dramatic and visual storytelling workshops transport you to another world. This is an ideal activity for those with huge and enthusiastic imaginations and is brought to you by the Scribble Sisters, Alex Wegner (Sketch it Live) and Karen Eastwood (Storyspot).

If you have ever wondered how to tame a dragon, catch a unicorn, be a lion or even a pirate, you should definitley join us for the practical and informative Story Stomp sessions where you can let your imagination run wild!

Have you visited the Digital Library at 12 Stewart Avenue yet? Whether it’s dancing with Pepper the Robot, making a short film with a green screen, VR demonstrations, or exploring space on our huge interactive screen, there’s something to keep everyone entertained.

Workshops are available for a range of ages, and bookings are required (costs vary). See more on the Newcastle Libraries website, and don't forget - your library is always open and available via your fingertips on the Newcastle Libraries app.

Opening hours

Library branches will be closed from Good Friday (2 April) to Easter Monday (5 April)

Open as normal all other days – opening hours

Customer return chutes will be open at all branches and customers can renew borrowed items online via the Library website or mobile app.

Inspire your passion for poetry and science at Newcastle Museum


These Autumn School Holidays will see the return of Science Busking at Newcastle Museum with a whole new line-up of fascinating science demonstrations to see and conversations to have, plus the return of a few old favourites! Come and have some fascinating science fun with Catherine and Emma on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the school holidays. No bookings are required and suitable for all ages.

Budding poets will be at home in our Poetry Workshops. Our Beginners Workshops is for those interested in an introduction to creating poetry, while the Advanced Workshop is for experienced writers. Workshop attendees will use, but are not limited to, the museum's 1x4 exhibition as inspiration for writing. The workshops will last 1 hour and 45 mins, and participants must supply their own writing materials and equipment. Suitable for ages 16+

These workshops are one of a series of free events celebrating poetry hosted by Girls on Key, a feminist poetry organisation representing women and gender diverse poets and spoken word artists through its monthly poetry readings around Australia and a small press, and Newcastle Museum. Workshops participants are also invited to perform their work at the free open mic event to celebrate the locally published books Fossilised Lightning, Intermittent Angels and Witted and Whispered later at 6pm as part of the launch event.

Sunday 11 April

Beginners Workshop: 1pm - 2.45pm

Advanced Workshop: 3pm - 4.45pm

Launch event including Open Mic event: 5 -6.30pm

McIntyre Theatrette, Newcastle Museum

If you haven’t yet checked out our exhibitions Colour and 1X4, the Autumn School Holidays present the perfect opportunity. See colour as you’ve never seen it before in the Colour exhibition developed by Questacon, on until 2 May, or discover the many stories each object can tell in 1X4, on until 31 May.

Entry to the museum is via QR code registration upon arrival. See more on the Newcastle Museum website.

Opening hours

The museum will be closed on Good Friday (2 April) and is open every other day in the NSW school holidays from 10am – 5pm (9.30am start for visitors to the Colour exhibition)

Indulge in your love of food and art at Newcastle Art Gallery


Budding artists will love using their imagination at Newcastle Art Gallery these Autumn School Holidays with a range of hands-on activities to choose from. Taking inspiration from Newcastle Food Month, little artists in the making can participate in the Illustrating Food workshop where you will draw bowls of fruit and food specimens. Learn tips and tricks to create your own work of art full of fruity wonder! Suitable for ages 5-12 years.

Aboriginal artist Michelle Napanangka Earl will join us for some hands-on workshops that will get your creativity flowing. Learn traditional weaving techniques in a workshop that will guide you through step-by-step instructions to create your own unique bracelet (suitable for ages 5-12 years), or learn how to create your own string and weave a dilly bag (suitable for ages 13+). Set within the exhibition VOID, you’ll be guided through a combination of weaving techniques in these creative workshops that are suitable for all skills levels. All materials will be supplied.

Bookings are required for all workshops and costs vary, see more on the Newcastle Art Gallery website.

Coinciding with Newcastle Food Month and in celebration of the closing weekend of the exhibition VOID, Newcastle Art Gallery invites you to Tastes of the Bush, a gallery-wide, family-friendly, celebration of Aboriginal art, food and culture. Experience the unique flavours of Australia with Oz Tukka who will be offering free tastings of food flavoured with Australian native spices. Enjoy a special dance performance by Catapult Dance and explore traditional and contemporary craft through artmaking activities and live demonstrations. Bookings required.

Opening hours

The art gallery will be closed on Good Friday (2 April) and is open every other day in the NSW school holidays from 10am – 5pm

Enjoy the changing season at Blackbutt Reserve


The mild autumn weather makes for an ideal time to explore Blackbutt Reserve as the leaves turn from green to red and the landscape changes. Make the most of your Autumn School Holidays by stopping by and getting to know the local residents.

Get up close and personal feeding the emus with cones available from the kiosk, or grab an activity pack and follow the trail around the boardwalk to explore the animal exhibits. There are wombats, koalas, reptiles and so much more. You can also book a private reptile or critter encounter with our Blackbutt rangers.

There’s also 10km of walking trails and plentiful picnic and playground facilities to enjoy. Drop into Richley Reserve and experience the adventure playground with rope courses, bridges, swings and slides, and an adventure tower, or swing by the playground at the Carnley Avenue entrance ideal for children aged 6-10 years with interactive musical instruments and activities.

Opening hours

Picnic facilities – open 7am to 7pm daily

Wildlife exhibits – open 10am to 4.30pm, closed on Good Friday

Kiosk – open 10am to 3pm, closed on Good Friday

Visit the Blackbutt Reserve website to find out more.

Enjoy grassy green hills and history at Fort Scratchley


With spectacular vistas across Newcastle’s coastline, Fort Scratchley is not only home to one of the best views in Newcastle but a great place to discover more about the history of our city. Make the most of the grassy hills for a family picnic, or book in for a tunnel tour where you will learn about this history of this amazing site. Stick around for the daily gun firing at 1pm (weather permitting)! For more details visit the Fort Scratchley website.

Opening hours

Fort Scratchley will be closed on Good Friday (2 April)

Open as normal all other days: 10am – 4pm

The Fort is closed on Tuesdays.

Explore our city from the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre


Discover something new about Newy by dropping into the Visitor Information Centre these school holidays. From its new home in the former Civic Railway Station, the Visitor Information Centre is the place to source information about the latest offerings and sights to see around our great city. Pop in and say hi to the team who are passionate about sharing local stories and showcasing product from local makers.

Opening hours

The Visitor Information Centre will be closed on Good Friday (2 April)

Open as normal other days:

Monday to Friday - 9.30am to 4.30pm

Find out What's On

What else is on during the school holidays and beyond in our city? There’s so much to see and do - stay in the know at