Maitland (population 90,226 in 2021) is a city in the Lower Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. It's sometimes considered a part of Greater Newcastle, or even a northwestern suburb of Newcastle. Nevertheless, the state's fifth largest city is a destination of its own, and a very different destination from Newcastle.
Maitland sits on the banks of the Hunter River, a 30-minute train ride or 30-km drive from Newcastle. Since its foundation as a village at the tidal limit of the Hunter River, its use for the shipping of goods along the river has dwindled. Nonetheless, as is evident in Morpeth and the CBD, the Hunter River has maintained its connection to Maitland ever since West Maitland was founded in 1820.
Being a city built upon the river, Maitland is frequently inundated with destructive flooding. The flood of 1955 is one of the worst in Maitland's history, and flash flooding occurred again in 2007 and 2015.
From the Upper Hunter:
- Follow the New England Highway (A15) or the Golden Highway (B84) south-east towards Branxton, then either:
- Continue on the Hunter Expressway (M15) and exit at Kurri Kurri onto Main Road, then head north-east to Maitland
- Exit the Hunter Expressway at Branxton and head east on the Pacific Highway (A43) to Maitland
From Newcastle, either:
- Follow the Pacific Highway all the way to Maitland
- Follow Lake Road (A15) to the Pacific Motorway (M1) and head north, exit onto Weakleys Drive (straight ahead) at the end and turn left in Beresfield onto the Pacific Highway, then follow to Maitland
From the NSW North Coast and Brisbane:
- Follow the Pacific Highway to Hexham, and turn right after crossing Hexham Bridge. Go straight ahead in Tarro, onto the A43, and follow to Maitland
- Follow the Pacific Motorway. Exit at the M15 Hunter Expressway and take the "Main Road" exit. Then, turn right and continue straight until you hit Maitland.
|Origin||Distance to Maitland (km)||Estimated driving time|
|Gosford||91||1 hour, 8 minutes|
|Sydney||161||1 hour, 56 minutes|
|Port Macquarie||244||2 hours, 34 minutes|
|Dubbo||358||3 hours, 59 minutes|
|Canberra||448||4 hours, 45 minutes|
|Brisbane||774||8 hours, 13 minutes|
There are several options for getting to Maitland by train.
- From Brisbane and the NSW North Coast (e.g. Port Macquarie, Grafton, Casino), book a journey on a North Coast line XPT. There are typically about three per day, but some will not travel all the way from Brisbane.
- From Moree, Armidale or Tamworth, book a journey on a North West line XPT. There is one train per day (on both weekdays and weekends) from both Armidale and Moree.
- From Newcastle, catch a Hunter Line train towards wither Scone or Dungog – services to Maitland run every 30 minutes on average.
- From Singleton, Muswellbrook or Scone, catch a Hunter Line train - there are four every day.
- From Dungog, catch a Hunter Line train - these run five times a day.
- From Sydney and the Central Coast, book a journey on either a North Coast or North West XPT service.
For those arriving from Sydney who are not concerned about the journey time, trains on the Central Coast & Newcastle line run every 30 minutes on average. The faster trains take around 2½ hours to travel to Newcastle, the slower ones take almost three hours. In Newcastle, change at Hamilton Station for a Hunter Line train to Maitland Station (takes about 20–30 minutes).
Stations in the Maitland area are:
- 1 Maitland Station
- 2 High Street Station
- 3 East Maitland Station
- 4 Victoria Street Station
- 5 Metford Station
All trains will stop at Maitland, Victoria Street and Metford, but some will not stop at East Maitland or High Street. All five stations are served by both branches of the Hunter Line – Scone and Dungog.
Train travel can be planned – if using a non-Intercity train, they must be booked here.
The above five train stations are connected by the Hunter Line services which usually run every 30 minutes. Buses connect Rutherford, Stockton Green Hills, Morpeth, Thornton and East Maitland to the Maitland CBD.
- 1 Cintra House, 34 Regent St. A heritage-listed residence and former private hospital built in the late 19th century.
- 2 Maitland Gaol, 6-18 John St, East Maitland, ☏ . 9AM-4PM. A very, very freaky place to visit because whilst it is an old, imposing sandstone constructed prison, it has all the "mod cons" such as razor wire and CCTV mountings in place – it was still being used as a gaol within the past 15 years.
- 3 Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 230 High St Maitland, ☏ . 10AM-5AM, closed on Mondays..
- 4 Walka Water Works, 55 Scobies Lane, Oakhampton Heights (Turn into Sempill St at Maitland Court House, and follow Oakhampton Road until you reach Scobies Lane. Turn left here, then turn left at the end, and follow to the carpark.). 7AM to 7PM during daylight savings time, 7AM to 5PM otherwise. Walka Water Works is a recreation area in Oakhampton. You can visit the heritage-listed pumphouse, take one of the walking trails that surround the lake, or ride the miniature train that runs on Sundays. Free.
- Hunter Valley Steamfest. Held in the Maitland Railway Station Precinct each year. A must see for anybody who likes trains, otherwise it may be wise to give Maitland a miss while it is on-many streets get closed for the event.
- 1 Buttai Barn, Lings Rd, Buttai, ☏ . 9AM-5PM. A 20-minute drive out of town, for traditional bush dancing.
- Morpeth is a cute historical town on the outskirts of Maitland. Well worth visiting for a look at the cafes and boutique shops. Be warned though, Thursdays to Sundays are really the only days that are worth visiting- as many shops are closed at the beginning of the week.
- 2 Morpeth Jazz Festival, Roman Catholic Church Anglican Church Morpeth, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. New Orleans style jazz festival held annually in September in the main street. Free though you can donate, buy raffle tickets, tea, coffee, etc. to keep the festival alive.
- 3 Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival, 6-18 John St, East Maitland, ☏ . A festival celebrating good music, food and of course beer.
- 4 Maitland Park, Blomfield St, Maitland. Maitland Park is home to a large playground, netball courts, a cricket ground, a bowling club, and a hockey field. There is also an aquatic complex with an Olympic-size outdoor pool and a 25-metre indoor pool.
- Maitland Fair Markets, Maitland Showground. 1st Sunday of every month (except January) plus 15th Oct, 19th Nov, 17th Dec: 8AM-2PM.
- Molines Bistro, 266 Hermitage Road, Belford (7km west of Branxton on the New England Highway, left onto McDouall Street and on to Hermitage Road), ☏ . Molines is a small, careful rustic styled cafe serving lovingly prepared, delicious and subtle fine food. Outside in the sun is the best place to sit with a small group. Very limited choice for vegetarians. Entrees $25, mains $35.
- 1 The Old George and Dragon, 50 Melbourne St, East Maitland, ☏ . An old fashioned French or English menu. It does not look much from the outside and is located in a business or light industrial area but is well worth a visit.
- 2 Morpeth Woodfired Pizza, 173 Swan St Morpeth, ☏ . Th-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM, Tu-Su 5:30-9PM. Traditional Indian meals, vegetarian and seafood options. Traditional, gourmet and dessert pizzas, all cooked in a woodfired pizza oven. $15-17 for traditional pizzas, $22-27 for gourmet pizzas, $13-17 for Indian dishes.
- 1 Mercure Maitland Monte Pio, ☏ .
- 2 The Family Hotel Maitland, 607 High St, ☏ . Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 10AM.
- Newcastle is 30 minutes away