There’s creativity on every corner in Maitland. Set halfway between Newcastle and the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, this charming town on the banks of the Hunter River has a rich history, emerging food scene, thriving arts community, boutique accommodation and packed events calendar.
Culture & heritage
Walk the pretty streets of Maitland to spot vibrant murals, see artists at work in their studios and pick up works from local creators. Maitland Regional Art Gallery hosts a superb range of touring exhibitions and shows thousands of artworks each year. For an immersive journey through the city’s street art, history, architecture and food, join Umbrella Event’s three-hour A Taste of Maitland walking tour.
From colonial philanthropist Caroline Chisholm to famous boxer Les Darcy, be captivated by Maitland’s history on the East Maitland Heritage Walk. Among the fascinating heritage buildings, you’ll see Chisholm’s cottage and the Maitland Gaol, which opened in 1848 and closed 150 years later. Join a guided tour of the gaol or even stay a night in the gaol. The night behind bars includes a torchlight tour of the former prison.
For the history of fashion from the 1860s to present, visit the Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles. Admire the striking 19th century Walka Water Works, a popular spot for picnics. A short drive away is a fashion icon and one of Australia’s iconic big things – the Big UGG Boots, at Mortels Sheepskin Factory and The Sheep’s Back Museum. There are factory tours where you’ll learn how the world-famous boots are made.
It’s a good idea to arrive in Maitland with an empty stomach. The riverside Levee is a good place to start, with an enticing mix of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and small bars. Then indulge with the decadent cakes and pastries from the nearby Icky Sticky Patisserie. Make the short drive to Morpeth to visit Boydell’s, a cellar door and restaurant inside an 1820s slab hut.
Boydell's, Morpeth - Credit: Maitland City Council
The Rigby brings a touch of Melbourne’s small bar scene to Maitland, set inside a heritage building and serving sophisticated drinks. Head to The Cabin Collective if you’d like to get a tattoo along with your flat white. Meet the growers and pick up the freshest seasonal fruit, vegetables, honey, eggs, olive oil and more at Earth Markets. Held on the first and third Thursday of the month, it’s Australia’s first accredited Slow Food Market.
Maitland is a two-hour drive north of Sydney or a 50-minute drive from Newcastle. Regular trains run from Sydney, via Newcastle, and the journey takes just over three hours. Or fly into Newcastle Airport and hire a car for the 45-minute drive. Accommodation options include motels, serviced apartments, pub rooms, cosy holiday cottages and farm stays.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.