Get set for a Summer of fun: we’ve rounded up all the best activities and events on the Central Coast and beyond to enjoy these Summer school holidays.

From comedy stand-ups and puppet shows to the largest Christmas Lights display in the southern hemisphere, your calendar will be packed with things to do. School holiday boredom? That definitely won’t be a thing for your tots, tweens and teens!

Keep your eyes peeled to this feature (you should definitely bookmark it) over the coming weeks, as we’ll be regularly adding more fun events and adventures for you to discover.

Oh, and when you book or attend the below events, don’t forget to tell them that Playing in Puddles sent you!

Happy holidays!

Events to Book

Waterworld Central, The Entertainment Quarter Sydney

Slip, slide and splash your way through the heat this Summer at Waterworld Central! This mobile water park will be touching down at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter from 6th – 31st January and promises to be the coolest way to beat the heat this summer.

The water park has a whole heap of awesome slides and aquatic activities to enjoy. Younger tots and those who like a more relaxing paddle, will love bouncing around the igloos of Snow World and chilling out in the paddle boat pool, while the MASSIVE wave slide and 80m X-Treme Tuber slide will excite the daredevils among us!

And we’re very excited to share that this year you can purchase not only a two-hour pass, but also an all-day pass, so you can keep the fun going longer!

Plus, entry gift cards are available this year and make an awesome Christmas present (we recommend you flag this with the grandparents).

When: 6 January – 31 January 2023 (10am – 4pm).
Age group: All ages.
Entry: See website for all pass types. Spectators free. 1 free adult with a child 4 years and under. Tickets from $40.
Where: The Entertainment Quarter Showring at 122 Lang Road, Moore Park, Sydney.
More details:

The Christmas Lights Spectacular, Hunter Valley Gardens

The Hunter Valley Gardens’ Christmas Lights Spectacular has gone bigger and better this year, with 100 new installations and 1 million more lights! It was already the BIGGEST Christmas lights display in the southern hemisphere, and now it’s well and truly secured that gong by upping their tally from 3 to 4 million lights! How lucky are we that this stunning event is just a hop, skip, jump from the Central Coast!

This year, the Christmas Lights Spectacular welcomes several new additions including Mr & Mrs Claus, a 5-metre-tall snowman, 1.8-metre-tall dandelions, 3-metre-tall butterflies and a light-up classic Kombi van. There are also new walk-through installations that provide perfect photo opportunities, such as the Twinkle Tree Trail, Santa’s Arch & Candy Cane Tunnel. Photos with Santa will be available right up to Christmas Eve and kids can write a letter for Santa and post it in the special letterbox for express delivery to the North Pole!

Kids stage shows are making a return in 2023 and will be live November through to January, and the Gardens’ famous rides will be open every night throughout the event. There is an epic 35-metre-long Super Slide, an incredible Ferris Wheel for those who want to take it easy and take in the view, swing chairs, a traditional Venetian Carousel, and spinning teacups! For families wanting to visit on New Year’s Eve, there’ll be a fabulous fireworks display lighting up the sky at 9:00pm.

A visit to The Christmas Lights Spectacular is an annual tradition for our Playing in Puddles family. We absolutely love the beauty and magic of this event, and we just know that you’ll love it too. 

Playing in Puddles visited; click here to read our review.

When: Friday 3 November 2023 – Sunday 28 January 2024 (closed 25 December 2023).
Gardens open daily 9am-5pm; lights open 5.30pm-10.30pm (last entry 9pm). Rides are open from 6pm until 10pm.
Location: The Hunter Valley Gardens, 2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin.
Tickets and more info: Click here.
Price: Adult $38; Child (4-15 yrs) $28; Children 3 and under Free; Family Pass (2 Adults + 1 Child) $88; Family Pass (2 Adults + 2 Children) $94; Extra Child on Family Pass (4-15 yrs) $27. Rides can be purchased singly for $6/person or purchase a Bonus Pack and get 6 rides for $30 ($6 off). Ride passes cannot be pre-purchased; they are available at the ticket booth at the rides area in the Hunter Valley Gardens.

The Listies Make Some Noise, The Art House Wyong

If you’re looking for some gratuitous, ridiculous, hilarious fun with your school-aged kids these holidays, then we have found a show for you! 

The Listies are two Aussie comedians – Rich and Matt – and they are the maestros of kidult comedy!

Our Playing in Puddles family has seen them five times! Yep, five! We have their DVD, their chapter books, and their CDs are our go-to listening in the car. Our boys LOVE them, and we’re super confident that your kids will love seeing them on the stage too.

These guys are side-splittingly funny and they’re sure to become your kids’ favourite funnymen too. Their comedy is interactive, illogical and irreverent – and there’s as much silliness for adults as there is for the kids.

Their latest show, “The Listies Make Some Noise”, is a bonkers comedy extravaganza of epic proportions that sees The Listies singing silly and hilariously accurate songs about trying to leave the house with kids, baby’s bedtime, and those wacky arm-waving inflatable blow ups… don’t worry, you’ll know it and get it and love it when you see it! The show is jam-packed with magically silly skits that parents will relate to and kids will have an absolute chuckle at.

AND If you want your kids to fall in love with the theatre, The Listies will do it every time. Book your tickets here.

PS. For the Monday 6PM show come dressed in your cosiest, comfiest, and coolest pyjamas to add to the fun. *Mums and Dads are expected to join in too!

Age group: Kids aged 4 and above (and their adults).
Where: The Art House, 19-21 Margaret Street, Wyong.
When: Mon 15 Jan 2024 – 6PM *PJ Party | Tue 16 Jan 2024 – 10AM.
Phone: 4335 1485
Book online:

The Owl’s Apprentice + Shadow Puppet Workshop, The Art House Wyong

Little Wing Puppets is an Australian puppetry company specialising in children’s theatre that’s been touring the world since 2006, and this January, they’re bringing The Owl’s Apprentice to Wyong.  

The Owl’s Apprentice is an interactive show that uses shadow puppetry, hand puppetry and story-telling to delight audiences young and old. In a world that can sometimes feel a little too busy and high-tech, we absolutely love this gorgeously nostalgic play about “wisdom”.

The play follows a young owl named Poot Poot, who has been sent to Owl School to learn to become wise. Throughout the story, Poot Poot meets other animals who share wisdom with him. He meets a wombat who tells him to keep trying and not give up. He meets a Lyrebird who teaches him to listen very carefully to what he hears. He meets a Kookaburra who makes him laugh even when he’s sad. He meets an echidna who shows him how to protect himself and a platypus who shows him it’s okay to be different. On his journey, he finds that wisdom isn’t just one thing; it’s a collection of all the little things you learn every day.

The Owl’s Apprentice is a gorgeous show performed by Jenny Ellis, a puppeteer of more than twenty years, who weaves the whole story together with a single set of hands, playing multiple characters at once. 

Plus, Jenny Ellis will be extending her puppeteering wisdom to kids aged 4-12 in her Shadow Puppet-making workshops. Available as a workshop and show package, this hands-on experience will give children a range of skills to make their own shows as well as a puppet they can take home.

Age group: Kids aged 4-10 (and their adults).
Show duration: 40 minutes plus a post-show Q&A.
Where: The Art House, 19-21 Margaret Street, Wyong.
Show times: Wed 10 Jan – 6PM, Thu 11 Jan – 10AM, Thu 11 Jan – 1PM, Fri 12 Jan – 10AM.
Shadow Puppets: Playing with Light Workshop times: Thu 11th Jan 11.15AM + Fri 12th Jan 11.15AM.
Tickets: Adult $15 | Encore Members $12 | Child under 12, $12 | Family of 4 (2A,2C or 1A,3C) $50 | Vacation care $10 | Workshop & Show package $22 (*note: parents do not require a workshop ticket but will require an adult ticket for admission to the show).
Phone: 4335 1485
Book the show here.
Book the show + workshop here (note: the workshop can only be booked as part of a package with the show)

Summerfest Kids, Erina

The January 2024 Summerfest Holiday Program promises games, challenges, Bible stories, friendships, and a lot of fun for kids of all ages this summer.

This year’s program has been broken down into a series of exciting sessions that are organised according to age group, so you know your child will be among their peers and taking part in activities that are guaranteed to engage! Here’s what to expect:

Little Ones aged 6 months to preschoolers + their carers:
Toddlers aged 18 months+ and younger preschoolers will have their very own play-based program to explore! Parents must remain on-call in the cafe for this age group. Parents, have younger ones too aged 6-18 months and want some kid-free time? EV Church has a creche for babies from 6-18 months that you can book too. Places are limited, so make sure you book ahead.

Preschoolers and Kindy kids:
Young children will adventure under the sea with some fishy friends. There will be games, songs, crafts, and puppets!

Little Tackers (Kids in Years 1 – Year 2)
Join Milky the puppet, a puppet who loves to learn new things and solve clues. This year, Milky needs the help of an expert detective and a heap of kids to piece together clues about Jesus! Come help him solve the puzzles.

Dynamites (Kids in Years 3 – 4)
Kids who love fun, friends, and piecing clues together to discover something amazing – this one is for you! There will be arts and crafts, wild outdoor games, water fun and hang time with friends new and old!

Vortex (Kids in Years 5 – 6)
Tales are often told of the fabled ‘Golden Vortex’, and this year kids have the opportunity of a lifetime to learn the truth through sleuthing, chilling and games. As well as hearing about Jesus and who he is, there will be water games, creative activities, and time to hang out and make new friends.

When: Monday 8th January – Friday 12th January 2024, 9am – 11.30am
Who: Kids aged 18 months to year 6. (For teens, see our write up on Summerfest Nights below).
Cost: $7/child per day or $13 /family per day. Wow right!
Where: EV Church, 331 Terrigal Drive Erina.

Summerfest Nights, Erina

It can always be a little tricky finding great, affordable events that your older kids will enjoy during the school holiday break but if anything can tick all the tween/teen boxes, it’s Summerfest Nights! This great event features music, a late-night cafe, water games, Bible talks, and more! And don’t miss Friday night’s Pulp – a big finale celebration night with a DJ!

Entry it’s only $2 entry (or $5 for PULP on Friday night) so it won’t break the bank.

When: Monday 8th January – Friday 12th January 2024, 7pm – 9.30pm
Who: Kids in years 7 – 12. (got younger kids? See our write up above on Summerfest)
Cost:  $2 entry Mon-Thurs | $5 for PULP on Friday night. No need to register – just turn up.
Where: EV Church, 331 Terrigal Drive Erina.

Mada’s Magic Marvels, The Art House Wyong

Everyone loves a magic show, and we’re very excited to share that Australia’s very own Mr. Magic is coming to The Art House these school holidays!

“Mr Magic” (occasionally also known as Adam Mada) has been entertaining international audiences with his custom magic and illusion shows for more than 20 years. He has some serious brag-worthy credentials, including being the Magic and Illusions designer for The Metaverse of Magic, and the Magic and illusions coach for the global smash hit Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – Parts 1 and 2 in Australia.

Mada’s Magic Marvels” is an innovative and interactive magic show that’ll leave audiences young and old scratching their heads in disbelief. Objects will appear, disappear, and transform right before your eyes, and we guarantee kids will be left speechless and open-mouthed!

And if you’re really lucky, Mada may choose your child as his young apprentice to assist with a spectacular illusion on stage.

Age group: The whole family! Children 5+
Show duration: 60 minutes.
Where: The Art House, 19-21 Margaret Street, Wyong.
Show times: Wed 17 Jan 6PM | Thu 18 Jan 11AM | Fri 19 Jan 11AM.
Show tickets: Adult $20 | Encore Member $15 | Child under 12, $15 | Family of 4 (2A,2C or 1A,3C), $60 | Vacation care $15 (*note: parents do not require a workshop ticket but will require an adult ticket for admission to the show).
Workshop times: Thu 18 Jan 1PM | Fri 19 Jan 1PM.
Workshop ticket: $20.
Phone: 4335 1485
Book the show here.
Book Mada’s Magic Marvels Workshop here

The Vegetable Plot, The Art House Wyong

The Vegetable Plot is an ARIA-nominated Australian children’s band serving up a funky-fresh soundtrack that adults enjoy listening to just as much as the kids.

Aspara Gus, Ru Barb and Sir Paul McCarrotney (aka Luke Escombe, Luke Hoorweg and Paige Hoorweg) are The Vegetable Plot trio, and during their show they’ll play a selection of their catchy tunes that’ll have little ones dancing and adults toe-tapping. Their music is earthy and rootsy and delivered in bite-sized songs that encourage a healthy relationship with fruit and veg.

The Vegetable Plot first sprouted at the 2014 Sydney Fringe, winning the award for Best Children’s show, and they’ve since travelled across Australia playing their sweet harmonies and sharing their truly rotten vegetable puns.

Their music’s been streamed 2.5 million times on Spotify, and after you hear them you’re sure to stream it too.

Age group: Kids aged 4-10 (and their adults).
Show duration: 1 hour – no interval.
Where: The Art House, 19-21 Margaret Street, Wyong.
Show times: Tue 23 Jan 2024 – 6PM | Wed 24 Jan 2024 – 11AM | Thu 25 Jan 2024 – 11AM.
Magic Garden Music and Songwriting Workshops: Wed 24 Jan 1PM and Thu 25th Jan 1PM.
Tickets: Adult $15 | Encore Members $12 | Child under 12, $12 | Family of 4 (2A,2C or 1A,3C) $50 | Vacation care $10 | Workshop & Show package $22 (*note: parents do not require a workshop ticket but will require an adult ticket for admission to the show).
Phone: 4335 1485
Book the show here.
Book the show + workshop here (note: the workshop can only be booked as part of a package with the show)

There’s something truly special about outdoor theatre productions! And we couldn’t think of a more perfect production to see in the Royal Botanic Gardens than “Wind in the Willows”. This classic tale is one that has been told for countless generations, and now The Australian Shakespeare Company are bringing Kenneth Grahame’s story of life on the riverbank to Sydney’s stunning Royal Botanic Garden from 5 to 28 January 2024.

We’re very excited to be giving away a Family Pass to this fabulous family show. For your chance to win, simply subscribe to Playing in Puddles’ FREE newsletter. It’s that easy.

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Click here to read our full feature on the show.

See here for terms and conditions.

Sport School Holiday Camps on the Central Coast

All Sports Days at Kincumber Indoor Sports

What: One-day sports camp. They’ll get to play a whole heap of ball games including dodgeball, soccer, bull rush, volleyball, and more. They’ll even get to do rock climbing!
Where: Kincumber Indoor Sports.
Ages: 5-14 years old.
To learn more: Check out our feature here to learn more (please note that the dates listed are not current). For current dates and to sign up, email [email protected] or call 4368 3197.

Motiv8Sports Central Coast

What: Two- and three-day sport camps plus 4-on-4 football tournaments.
Where: Multiple locations across the Coast. These can vary so check website for details, but generally Erina and Warnervale.
Ages: 5-15 years old.

Brazilian Soccer Schools, Central Coast

What: Three-day soccer camps (half day and full day available).
Where: Tuggerah.
Ages: 5-16 years old.

Mighty Mariners Holiday Clinics, Central Coast

What: Three- and two-day soccer + activity camps (half day only).
Where: Tuggerah.
Ages: 6-14 years old.

Skateboard, Scooter, BMX and Rollerskating school holiday camps at Slam Factory

What: One- and three-day camps in specific disciplines: skateboarding, rollerskating, BMX or scootering.
Where: Slam Factory, Tuggerah.
Ages: Kids aged 5+.

Horseriding and Animal School Holiday Camps on the Central Coast

The Outlook Riding Academy horseriding holiday camps, Terrigal

What: One-, two- and three-day horseriding and activity camps (full day only).
Where: Terrigal.
Ages: 5-16 years old.

Glenworth Valley Horseriding camps

What: Half-day junior beginner horseriding camp and full-day level 1 beginner horseriding camp. (This is a 1-day camp)
Where: Glenworth Valley.
Ages: 5-16 years – different ages for different camps.

The Australian Reptile Park’s Little Kids to Keeper, Big Kids to Keeper and Inclusive Kids to Keeper experiences

What: One-day experience. A fully escorted workshop offering exclusive behind-the-scenes access and hands-on animal experiences.
Where: The Australian Reptile Park, Somersby.
Ages: Little Kids 2 Keeper: ages 7-12 years. Big Kids 2 Keeper: ages 13-18 years. Inclusive Kids 2 Keeper: ages 7-18 years.

Adventure and Active School Holiday Camps on the Central Coast

Glenworth Valley Adventure Max School Holiday Camp

What: One-day adventure camp. Activities vary depending on the season, but may include horseriding, quad biking, laser tag, kayaking, abseiling and team games (full day only).
Where: Glenworth Valley.
Ages: 7-16 years old.

Roundabout Circus school holiday camps

What: One-day, half-day and 1.5-2 hour camps are available in everything from aerial silks, trapeze and lyra to tumbling, juggling and hula hooping.
Where: Wyoming.
Ages: All ages. Different ages across different classes.

Art and Digital School Holiday Camps on the Central Coast

Central Coast Creative Hub

What: One-day art camps (full days and half days available). From Water bead Puffy Slime and Picasso Mixed Media wall hangings to Clay pot Fairy Houses.
Where: Point Clare.
Ages: 4.5 years old – 15 years old.

Luna and Co art classes

What: One-day art camps. From air-dry sculpture to acrylic painting.
Where: Niagara Park.
Ages: Different ages across different classes.

Coding camps

There are multiple businesses that run online and in-person digital camps – from coding and website building to DJ and youtube workshops. These businesses sometimes run camps in person on the Central Coast. Check their websites for details.
CIY Club
Code Camp

School Holiday Workshops (camps that run for just a couple of hours)

The following venues run school holiday workshops that kids can attend for a couple of hours. It’s a great way to give kids the opportunity to learn a new skill or gauge their curiosity in a different activity.

Ice skating at Erina Ice Arena: 1.5-hour ice skating workshops for children aged 7-15 years old | Erina.

Ninja classes at Australian Warrior Fitness: 1.5-hours of “Australian Ninja Warrior”-style obstacle training for children aged 6-12 (split into age groups) | North Gosford.

Ninja classes at Obstacle Course Racing School: 30-45 minute classes of “Australian Ninja Warrior”-style obstacle training for people aged 3-14+ (split into age groups) | Tuggerah.

Art classes at Gosford Regional Gallery: 2-hour art classes in everything from jewellery making to expressive drawing. Different classes for different age groups from ages 6-adult | East Gosford.

Roundabout Circus: 2-hour classes in anything from silks and trapeze to tumbling and juggling. All ages (classes are split into different age groups) | Wyoming

Other Central Coast school holiday camps to look out for!

From time to time the following venues run school holiday camps and workshops. Check their website for dates.
Marine Discovery Centre
Charmy Indoor Sports

More Activities to Enjoy these School Holidays

Christmas Carols and Festive Events

Check out all the Christmas events happening this December across the Central Coast, Hunter and Sydney!

Find carols, Santa high teas, Christmas markets and more in our feature here.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve Fireworks at The Entrance

Say farewell to 2023 and welcome in 2024 at The Entrance this New Year’s Eve.

Discover all the details in our feature here.

Have you visited the Central Coast’s 68 Attractions?

Be a tourist in your own town! We have animal and adventure parks, farms to visit, go-karting, laser tag, family entertainment centres and more. Start planning your visit! Check everything out here.

Indoor Adventures on the Central Coast

Escape the sun! Find fun play centres, trampoline parks, and indoor sports here.

Discover a NEW Playground Today

We have more than 100 playground reviews on Playing in Puddles. Click here to discover a new playground near you.

NSW School Holiday Dates for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

We know it’s tricky to plan vacations in advance and to get school holiday camps sorted so parents can continue to work. To make it that little bit easier, here are the school holiday dates for NSW public schools in 2023 and 2024.

2023 NSW school holiday dates and terms

  • Summer 2023 school holidays (Eastern division; Central Coast) – Wednesday 20 December 2023 to Monday 29 January 2024.
  • Summer 2023 school holidays (Western division) – Wednesday 20 December 2023 to Monday 5 February 2024.

2024 NSW school holiday dates and terms

  • Autumn 2024 school holidays – Monday 15 April 2024 to Friday 26 April 2024.
  • Winter 2024 school holidays – Monday 8 July 2024 to Friday 19 July 2024.
  • Spring 2024 school holidays – Monday 30 September 2024 to Friday 11 October 2024.
  • Summer 2024 school holidays (Eastern division; Central Coast) – Monday 23 December 2024 to Thursday 30 January 2025.
  • Summer 2024 school holidays (Western division) – Monday 23 December 2024 to Thursday 6 February 2025.

2025 NSW school holiday dates and terms

  • Autumn 2025 school holidays – Monday 14 April 2025 to Thursday 24 April 2025.
  • Winter 2025 school holidays – Monday 7 July 2025 to Friday 18 July 2025.
  • Spring 2025 school holidays – Monday 29 September 2025 to Friday 10 October 2025.
  • Summer 2025 school holidays (Eastern division, Central Coast) – Monday 22 December 2025 to Monday 26 January 2026.
  • Summer 2025 school holidays (Western division) – Monday 22 December to Monday 2 February 2026.

This feature was created in partnership with The Art House, Hunter Valley Gardens, Summerfest and EV Church, Raw Challenge, and Waterworld Central.

This feature may also contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.