Every time I make the trip from Newcastle to Maitland, I’m so inspired by everything there is to see and do. Pilates classes, , essential oils and op shops, The Levee is packed with options for every budget and taste. It has exquisite Japanese cuisine right up the road from creamy iced coffees, or walk a little further to browse for a new bike while sipping lattes. You don’t even need a car to explore The Levee, as it’s just a five to ten minute stroll from the Maitland train station.
STREET ART SURPRISES
If you do drive to Maitland, the Maitland Riverside Plaza is a great place to park and enjoy a new bright mural recently painted by local street artist Jordan Lucky. Keep the theme going and see the Bourke Street Link with the surreal ‘New One’ mural by Maitland based artist Patricia Van Lubeck. Then check out the immersive Preschool Lane on High Street with the ’Passing On’ mural by Sydney based artist. There is also the amazing Maitlanes program which is running from February to April 2023 where seven laneways across The Levee have been transformed into vibrant and unique play spaces defined by splashes of colour and creativity. From outdoor dining and live performances to augmented reality and interactive experiences, each laneway space will boast its own distinctive aesthetic and play host to a diverse program of ideas designed to entice and entertain both night and day. For more information on activations and workshops visit here.
One of the first places worth trying is The Hatch, where Maddy Birch of Birch and Coffee Co. started her business two years ago, with the help of Maitland City Council. The Hatch is a small kitchen venue in the middle of High Street which has served as a launch pad for a few different local businesses. Maddy makes her coffees with Floozy Coffee Roasters (a Newcastle based bean supplier).
Alongside Birch and Coffee Co. there’s plenty of other lovely coffee shops to try, including The Bikesmith Espresso Bar which brings together those who love coffee and those who love cycling. Come for a cold brew and browse bikes frames and accessories while you’re at it. Or swing by Lavender’s Cafe for luxurious coffee along side the Hunter River – they even have doggie ice cream if you choose to bring your canine. For the coffee connoisseurs, you’re in for a real treat at Black Label Espresso who are the masters of an espresso.
If you’ve never been to Maitland you might not know it is a place where multiculturalism thrives; but you’d be incorrect. Visit the annual Riverlights Multicultural Festival in October to see how big our multicultural community is, and try the variety of restaurants including Japanese and Korean, Beud, Aloi D for Thai food and Sudania Cafe for Sudanese cuisine. Pinot and Picasso isn’t exactly dining, but I reckon summoning your inner Spanish artist while drinking French wine can fall in this category as well.
Get your day going on the Maitland Riverside Walk for a stroll, scooter ride or picnic. The Levee has several different yoga and pilates classes to keep you moving and entertained, too. Visit Maitland Yoga Studio for a range of yoga classes, from beginner to Kundalini to prenatal. Or be spoilt for choice with Pilates classes available from Alestre Pilates, Muse Pilates and Bend and Balance.
The Levee is packed with eclectic shops of all kinds, and a few worth naming include Tomcat Books and Comics for books old and new of every genre; it’ll be sure to make you purr. Check out Preah Ko for all kinds of healing crystals, loose leaf teas, magic books and incense. And for the sweet teeth among us, don’t forget the cute little Darrell Lea shop, great for chocolate treats and pretty aromatic parcels for yourself and your loved ones. Support local creative shop Peace Warrior for quirky locally designed tees for adults and kids, and Liberty Co for curated clothing and accessories for women and kids.
If you have little ones, they will have a ball at Maitland Toyworld, EB Games Maitland, Boom Technology or Good Games Maitland. Try Mod Bodz for trendy kids boutique clothing, and top off the day and tire them out at the jungle themed gym at Maitland Riverside Plaza.
Keep in mind, the above are just a fraction of all there is to experience at The Levee. High Street and its surrounds are flowing with so many options it’s easy to get swept away.