WELCOME TO MAITLAND
The city of Maitland is nestled perfectly between the beach and the vineyards, encompassing a stunning riverine landscape and a rich and valued history. The charming city is renowned for its superior hospitality and lush variety of gourmet food, fine wine and locally grown produce. Not only cherished by the local community, Maitland’s heritage has an allure of its own with the historic Maitland Gaol and the city’s many antique buildings attracting tourists from around the globe.
- Population: 69,646
- Annual average rainfall:
- Average Daily Temperature:
January: 17.6 - 30.7
July: 5.8 – 16.5
150 years of criminal history lie within the barbed wire walls of the iconic Maitland Gaol. After serving as a high security prison, housing some of the country’s most infamous felons, the gaol’s heavy gates swung closed for the final time in 1998 - paving the way for one of Maitland’s premier tourist attractions.
Open seven days a week, Maitland Gaol is the only former correctional facility in Australia offering guided tours by genuine ex-inmates and ex-warders. Hear the stories from those who know them best as the reformed criminals walk you through their former cells and the ex-warders disclose uncut stories of disciplining some of the country’s darkest crims.
The gaol also offers guided tours focusing on the escapes and history of the gaol, along with world-class audio tours tailored to appeal to both adults and children.
Pocketed away on the banks of the Hunter River is Maitland’s most enchanting attraction, Morpeth. Established in 1821, this boutique retail and dining destination has been built on what was once a thriving river port. Today locals and visitors alike flock to the heart of the township, Swan Street, to indulge in decadent treats and meals, and browse the unique shopping scene.
A relaxed atmosphere can be witnessed, as visitors meander down the historic stone pathways and explore over 25 stores, cafes and galleries featuring everything from home wares to exclusive art, distinctive fashion and inspired jewellery designs.
Walka Recreation and Wildlife Reserve
The 125 year-old water works station at Walka is a common backdrop for families picnicking in one of Maitland’s most peaceful reserves.
Fully equipped with picnic and barbeque facilities, as well as a children’s playground, this lakeside reserve is home to more than 300 species of birdlife waiting to be discovered on one of the many walking trails.
At the centre of this vibrant river city rests a variety of the finest dining options, funky bars and traditional pubs along with a distinctive retail scene and a modern art gallery to rival any in Australia. With a full revitalisation of the city underway, a night culture is emerging to complement the relaxed atmosphere of the Maitland City Mall which runs parallel to the robust Hunter River. The roads that wind around the city centre are dotted with beautiful heritage buildings, best explored with one of the many historical walks available. Brochures and tourist advice are available from the Maitland Visitor Information Centre.
Visitors can retire in style in Maitland with an assortment of accommodation options including romantic guesthouses, contemporary and historic B&Bs, farmstays, country retreats, apartments, motels and pubstays. The Maitland Visitor Information centre is available to help with enquiries and bookings.
Each year Maitland plays host to a number of successful community and tourist events, showcasing the town’s heritage, rural background and food and wine culture. The region’s most popular event is the Maitland Toyota Steamfest, drawing up to 80,000 people each April. For two full days the air fills with steam as heritage steam trains roll into town. Along with the train rides, the Steamfest Rally Ground is filled with mini train rides, vintage farm machinery and family activities.
On the first full weekend in November the focus turns to beer, food and music as Maitland Gaol hosts the Bitter and Twisted International Boutique Beer Festival. The country’s best boutique brewers converge on Maitland to showcase their brews, while some of Australia’s most talented alternative musicians take to the main stage to entertain crowds in their thousands.
Other popular events include the Maitland Taste: Food, Wine and Jazz Festival, Maitland Aroma: Coffee and Chocolate Festival, Tocal Field Days, Maitland Mercury Supershow, Maitland Hunter Valley Caravan Camping 4WD & Boat and the Maitland Garden Ramble.
The Maitland Markets are Australia’s biggest regional market with over 600 variety stalls displaying a items from old fashioned homemade preserves to gourmet foods and fine quality art. Held the first Sunday of each month except January.
Images courtesy Desination NSW