It's only about two hours north of Sydney on the freeway, yet it's years since we have been to Newcastle. And my how it's changed.
We arrived about an hour before the younger travellers and discovered a cosy cafe adjoining the museum for a snack. The sounds of an orchestral recital taking place in the museum came wafting through the walls to entertain us - a lovely start to the weekend.
There's an eclectic mixture of old and new, with the inner city and mall retaining many of the old buildings while the waterfront area abounds in new and classy developments.
Children bring a new perspective to places visited, as they seek out areas an adult would perhaps pass by without a second glance.
Their imagination can turn the simplest objects into playgrounds full of adventure.
It's difficult climbing onto a giant hook when you are six ...
... so much easier when you are on the cusp of eight.
But when you are three, you just have to grin and bear it.
Our three year-old has us all puzzled. Is he right-handed or left-handed? His mother and great-uncle are certain that he's a leftie like them, but the rest of us are keeping an open mind.
Our weekend was complete when we returned home to find a couple of email messages that our daughter was featured on the Frankie Magazine blog. We were so happy for her.
However, her niece and nephews make sure she keeps her feet planted firmly on the ground.