There are lots of water-themed pop-up events taking place on the Coast in the coming months, to help kids (and adults) stay cool in the spring and summer heat.
Weíve compiled a list of whatís on, and included some aqua parks in Sydney and the Hunter region that are either a short distance from the Coast, or worth the extra driving time, for the fun youíll have when you get there.
Splash & Dash Festival - 19th November at Canton Beach Foreshore
Held from 10am to 3pm on the lake, this free family festival has lots of different water activities for kids to do, including an inflatable race, stand-up paddle boarding, the massive atomic drop water slide and kids obstacles courses. Register for the inflatable race here.
Obstasplash - 19th and 20th November at Mingara Athletics Centre at Mingara Recreation Club
This inflatable obstacle course is water play combined with a fitness challenge. There are two courses - one for people 13 years and over from 8am to 2pm, and a family wave challenge for anyone nine years or older, from 1pm to 3pm. Tickets start at $70 and guardian consent is needed for kids to participate.
AquaSplash Central Coast - 10th December to the 11th March 2017
Approved by the council just in time for summer, this inflatable aqua park will be located on Brisbane Water in Gosford, and open from 8am to 8pm for all of the summer school holidays (and a few weeks afterwards). The whole park is enclosed so you don't need to worry about kids getting swept out by the current. The park has features such as slides, climbing walls, trampolines and a swing.
It's open to anyone 5 or older but children aged 5 to 9 need to be accompanied by an adult, with a maximum of 2 children per adult. It's $13 per session for kids aged 9 to 13, and $16 for people 10 and over. Sessions run for 50 minutes every hour. Book tickets any time from 1st December onwards by calling 4304 2300.
Obstacool - 27th December to the 8th January at Mingara Recreation Club
Aimed at kids aged 4-15, this is another aqua obstacle course, but it includes a two for one child pass to the pool at the Mingara One gym. Tickets cost $15 per child and adults can run the course with their kids for $10. Itís running for 12 days during the summer school holidays from 9am to 5pm.
Waterworld Central at Bateau Bay Hotel - 27th December to the 29th January
Waterworld Central is setting up their mobile water park at Bateau Bay Hotel again for the second year in a row, for a whole month from 10am to 4pm every day (except for New Years Day). There are inflatable pools and slides for kids of all ages, and thereís no entry fee for spectators - you just need to purchase wristbands for anyone who wants to go on the rides. Tickets are on sale now.
Slideapalooza at Calais Estate - 26th to the 29th January
Held for four days, starting on Australia Day, this Hunter Valley event features one of the worldís largest waterslides, and lots of other smaller ones too, plus a kids obstacle challenge. There will also be live music on certain days, and two events on Saturday the 28th January for older kids - Slide n Sounds in the afternoon with unlimited sliding, and Slide n Lights in the evening with a DJ and fireworks. Puchase tickets here.
Wet n Wild Sydney
If you havenít been to Wet and Wild Sydney yet in the three years since it opened, itís definitely time to go. The kids zones have been extended with the Nickelodeon Beach area for younger kids with smaller versions of the big slides, and water features featuring Nickelodeon characters such as Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, the Ninja Turtles and Bubble Guppies. Theyíve changed the rules so that parents can bring some food in such as sandwiches, baby food and water bottles, and there is now Tap and Play to avoid having to queue up for the rides with impatient kids. Itís $70 for general admission, but if you want to save money season passes are available for the entire season from now until the park closes for winter in April.
Cables Aqua Park Penrith
Located an hour away when driving from Gosford, this aqua park within the Panthers Leagues Club complex is in a separate area to the wake park thatís used for water skiing and wakeboarding for people 10 years and up. Itís situated in the back lake and is suitable for kids aged six or older, and has interconnecting inflatable slides, runways and jumping pillows. You can take a picnic or have a BBQ while youíre there, and on shore thereís also water fountains for kids to run around in.
It costs $15 per person for a 50 minute session or you can pay $40 for a full day pass. The park will be open every day during spring and summer from 10am to 5pm.
Lambton Aquatic Centre
There are plenty of pools on the Central Coast but the Lambton Aquatic Centre near Newcastle is worth a visit because of the pool playground area, with water cannons, water jets, splash pad and a giant tipping bucket. They have a waterslide in the centre too, and inflatables to climb. Itís approximately 60 minutes away from Gosford and admission fee is only $4.40 per child, $5.40 per adult and free for kids under 3 (but you need to purchase tickets to ride the waterslide). They also hold family Dive In movie nights during the summer, call the centre on (02) 4952 5522 for more information on when they will be held.
For some easy wet play for little ones, there are a few playgrounds on or near the Coast with built-in water fountains, such as Speers Point Park in Lake Macquarie and Veraís Water Garden at The Entrance. Speers Point is only 40 minutes drive away from Wyong, and has a coffee cart and a Mr Whippy van that visits most days. Veraís Water Garden has just reopened after winter and has free wifi.