Sprocket celebrated his first birthday on August 4th so naturally we had to do something special as a family. We decided to head north to Maitland, one of the most dog-friendly country towns in NSW.
Maitland is only an hour’s drive north of the Central Coast and two-hours’ drive north of Sydney. Follow the M1 and take the Hunter Express Way exit, following the signs for Maitland.
Things to do
Once arriving in Maitland, our first port of call after spending an entire hour in the car was the off-leash dog park, just along the Hunter River at The Esplanade in Lorn.
There were a couple of other furry friends for Sprocket to play with but he was more interested in the park’s resident horse and the water. The park has a number of dog waste, general rubbish and recycling bins, as well as public toilets and plenty of parking.
From here, we crossed the river on the Belmore Road bridge and enjoyed lunch at the dog-friendly pub, the Belmore Hotel. The outdoor seating area provides both covered and uncovered tables and chairs, raised bar stools and tables and larger picnic tables. The staff at the Belmore Hotel were even kind enough to provide us with a container for Sprocket’s water bowl as we’d accidentally left ours behind at home. The best part about the hotel was their considerate menu which included a delicious gluten-free schnitzel!
After a tasty birthday lunch, we strolled along the river to Jubilo Gelato, Maitland-made gelato with vegan and lactose-free options. I highly recommend the vegan Turkish Delight flavour!
We strolled back through the streets of Maitland to see the colonial buildings and churches before climbing back into the car for a scenic country drive. We headed to Bolwarra Lookout where there are public toilets, a playground and plenty of grass for your pooch to have a final run around before settling back into the car.
From here we drove through the countryside in Largs and Morpeth before getting back on the M1 and heading home.
If you have the time, explore more of Maitland’s history and the towns of Largs and Morpeth. We headed home in the early afternoon so we weren’t affected by the bushfire that had been burning in Lake Macquarie that was threatening to close the M1.