This week Teena, one of our wonderful teachers from our Rutherford centre shares some of the things she does with her family on the weekend in the Rutherford and wider Hunter area.

Ever since I had my little girl, we have gone on adventures on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong, we do love spending time lazing around at home but I like to take opportunities with her to show her the world around her.


  1. Phoenix Park farm. Looking for a wonderful weekend adventure? Head on out to Phoenix Park farm, it is open to the public on the weekend selling fresh produce and the cafe is open too. Now and then they open the farm up to allow you to go into the fields and pick your own corn. On this day it was $10 a bucket and we were allowed to fill up our bucket. It was a fun outing, seeing how corn was grown and picking it ourselves. Finding small creatures in the corn field and meeting the animals was a highlight too. Phoenix Park farm also does educational programmes with the children all ages. My family and I follow The farm on Facebook so head on over, check out their website or even better head out to the farm as they are very welcoming. Remember to take a bucket and sometimes it is best to wear old clothing and gumboots as you never know what the fields will be like.   Phoenix Park Farm located -101 McFadyens Rd Phoenix Park, New South Wales 2321
  2. Hunter Valley Sunflower fields. We have been to a few sunflower fields which is such a lovely sight to see. At Hunter Valley Sunflower fields you can stroll among the flowers, have a picnic, pick some flowers and take photos with the scarecrows. Entering the fields do have a cost as well as collecting flowers, however all proceeds go towards the farm as well as the Cancer council. You can follow them on Facebook     Hunter Valley Sunflowers located-28 King Island Rd, Largs, New South Wales 2320
  3. Shark and Ray Centre. My family and I recently headed out to Bobs Farm to the Shark and Ray Centre. Something different to do as my little girl loves the beach so we thought we would go somewhere for her to learn more about marine life. At the centre you are allowed to feed the sharks and rays and if you are brave enough you can hop in with them and let them swim around your feet. Not too sure about getting in the water? Not a problem the centre also has an underwater cafe so you can see all the beautiful creatures from underneath and also be among butterflies and other amazing insects whilst you enjoy light refreshments. You can book your tickets online or purchase at the door. If you have a discovery voucher they also accept these. Check out their website for pricing as well as terms and conditions with entering the centre and what clothes you need to wear.    Shark and Ray Centre located- 686 Marsh Road, Bobs Farm, New South Wales 2316.
  4. Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter. My family and I have also ventured out further to Anna Bay to the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter. This centre advocates for marine conservation and has a hospital attached to the facility. We were brave enough to hop in with magnificent creatures to pat them and feed them. Every section of the facility had a volunteer or staff member informing us of educational information about the animals. They also do shows for you see the big shark come up from the bottom of the big tank to greet. You could stay all day. There is a playground, a picnic area and the souvenir store is amazing too! The Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter does cost, but all proceeds goes back into helping the marine life. The centre is currently upgrading and expanding, there is information regarding this at the facility and on their website. Go to the website to see encounters that you can do. Discovery vouchers are welcomed.    Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters located- 2 Jessie Road, Anna Bay, New South Wales, 23165.
  5. Bunnings. We always enjoy a great weekend trip to Bunnings. My little family and I created a ‘frog hotel’ for our garden as we have many green little friends who visit. This was a brilliant experience and didn’t cost much either. All you need is a pot with no holes, a couple of different sized pipes, rocks and a plant that will grow to keep coverage. This was such a good family project to do and was simple for everyone to be involved. Bunnings have lots of things for you to do too. On weekends they are back with their BBQ’s. They have a childrens area for children to engage with and often there might be a free activity for children to learn and create. My little girls favourite thing is pushing her own trolley and paying for her items.    Bunnings – Various Locations

6. Hunter Valley Wildlife park. Are you interested in going to the zoo but not interested in traveling too far with little ones in the car? Fear not, the Hunter Valley Wild life park is brilliant for little ones for a family experience. The zoo has a lovely lunch area, you can bring your own picnic or order from the cafe. You can even purchase food to feed the animals. The zoo offers close up encounters too. There is admission price but the zoo does takes discovery vouchers. For more information see the website.

Hunter Valley Wild Life Park located- 148 Lomas Lane, Nulkaba, New South Wales, 2325

7. Kidsworld Greenhills. Do you want to find something indoors? Greenhills shopping centre has an indoor play centre just near the food court- Kidsworld. It has a giant inflatable slide, cannon ball battle zone, 3 story climbing structures and a designated under 5s area for little ones. It cater for children up to the age of 11, it does have an entry cost however parents are free. Just remember to take your grip free socks. The play centre caters for birthdays too with private function rooms.

Kidsworld play centre located-  Stockland Green Hills, 1 Molly Morgan Drive,  East Maitland 2323. There are other play centres at Charlestown and Westfield Kotara.

8. Pick your own oranges- Dooralong. What a fun adventure heading down to the Orange farms. The farm opens up to the public once the oranges are ready for picking. Picking your own oranges is a lot of fun as you reach up to the highest point of a tree and fill your bags or buckets. At the end of picking you bring your oranges down to the owner and they weigh them for you and you can purchase them. They are most delicious oranges we have ever had. It is a drive, but definitely worth it for family time. Take a picnic with you and enjoy some time under the orchards. We found the farm on Facebook where they keep you up to date on whether or not the farm is open for the public.

Pick your own oranges Dooralong located- 48 Dittons Rd, Dooralong NSW 2259

9.Live Theatre. Live theatre has been apart of my life for many years. My background is actually musical theatre with dancing and singing and it is actually where I met my husband. Theatre is the heart of the creative arts. There are so many things children can learn from acting, singing, dancing, learning instruments, costuming, hair and make up, creating sets, lighting and sound. Introducing the arts to children will allow them to explore a world through different eyes. Lots of shows are actually performing right under your nose, Maitland Repertory Theatre, Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Young Peoples Theatre Newcastle and of course our most majestic theatre in Newcastle-Civic Theatre. There are many community theatre groups that have shows on all year around. For children a lot of the performances are weekends or school holidays.