NEWCASTLE: THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Located about 160km north of Sydney, Newcastle is a coastal city rich in industrial history, beach culture and natural beauty.
Among the quintessential Novocastrian experiences to be had is a visit to the city’s world-class sandy beaches, including Merewether Beach – home to the international Surfest surfing competition, and the largest ocean baths in the southern hemisphere. Many of Newcastle’s beaches are also interlinked via a coastal walk called Bathers Way, which takes about three hours to complete.
For a slightly shorter walk and to discover a slice of the area’s past, there is the Newcastle East Heritage Walk, which features coastal views and historical landmarks.
For those looking for some retail therapy, Darby Street is a must. Lined with shops and boutique stores, there are also plentiful cafes and restaurants on offer.
But for a truly indulgent day trip, the Hunter Valley is only a short drive inland from the city, where there is a range of wineries, restaurants and other local producers worth a visit.
However one of Newcastle’s defining features is its busy harbour port. As the city is the biggest exporter of coal in the world, giant 300m freight ships are a regular sight, as are freight ships, fishing boats, ferries and private vessels, making for a chaotic but exciting scene.
For more information, contact Visitnewcastle.com.au
Diamond-standard food from the city of coal – no one saw this one coming. Tatyana Leonov is pretty chuffed all the same Newcastle is in. It’s fresh. It’s hip. It’s full of surprises. More than just pristine beaches and top views, there’s been a resurrection of a different kind here. In 2010 Lonely Planet listed Newcastle as one of the top 10 cities to visit. Then The Seattle Globalist declared it as one of the five global meccas cooler than Seattle. Just what is going on? I’m actually in town to check out newly-relaunched Novotel Newcastle Beach (not a bad spot...
Where is it? 200km north of Sydney, just above Newcastle How to see it for yourself? The sand dunes cover 32km and can be accessed on foot, horseback, quad-bike or 4WD. There are many local operators that offer services to enhance visitor experiences of the area, including Port Stephens 4WD Tours (portstephens4wd.com.au), Sahara Trails Horse Riding (saharatrails.com) and Quad Bike King (quadbikeking.com.au). Why I love it “When you look across these dunes you feel like you could be in Saudi Arabia! The southern hemisphere’s largest moving sand mass, the windswept patterns on the dunes and the hills are just awesome.” – Kim MacDonald, The Legendary Pacific Coast Image by Legendary Pacific...
A couple of hours north of Sydney, the city that was previously known for its steelworks and harbour has taken on a new life of its own, blending cafe culture and boutique shopping for a good old girls' weekend away. Virtual intern Ashleigh Green reports on a Newcastle hot spot Newcastle. Australia’s second oldest city. But ‘old’ and ‘dated’ are no longer the first words that come to mind as you enter Newcastle CBD. Actually, quite the opposite. With FairTrade cafes and boutiques lining the city streets, Newcastle is paving the way in sustainability... with style. Before you read on,...
Now you can fly from Sydney to the Hunter Valley in around 45 minutes Sydney to the Hunter in 45 minutes In a brand spanking new 12-seater plane (called a “camel”, unless I heard that wrong), Sydney Seaplanes is opening up the Hunter Valley like never before. Direct charter flights from Rose Bay in the Harbour-hedging eastern suburbs to the wine and golf-soaked Hunter are now flying in a new, slick Cessna. Being amphibious is helpful; you take off from the Harbour and land at Cessnock airport, in the heart of wine country. Ours was a very smooth flight up...
Explore a real historic gem...drive the Great North Road. Explore a real historic gem by roaming the Great North Road. Around 700 convicts built this road metre by painstaking metre in a mere decade from 1826, some parts so steep that it’s unthinkable how they managed it without modern machines. Built to connect Sydney and the Hunter Valley, the Great North Road is one of only a few worldwide that maintain some original features, including stone retaining walls, culverts and the oldest bridge on mainland Australia. As you walk, cycle or drive on parts of the 264km route, imagine hundreds...
The Bogey Hole in Newcastle is not just your average rock pool. Convicts carved it from the ocean rock wall in a stunning effort in the 1820s. James Thomas Morisset, Commandant of Newcastle from 1819 to 1822, ordered the construction but decided he didn’t want to share and had it made as his personal rocky ocean bathtub – which was why it was called Commandants Baths for many years. “THIS WAS MY LOCAL SWIMMING HOLE GROWING UP. FANTASTIC WITH THE WAVES CRASHING OVER THE ROCK WALLS AND AWESOME ON NEW YEARS DAY WITH A BEER.” – Michelle Hespe Luckily for...
A Detours & Diversions piece about sand boarding on the dunes of Stockton Bight, northern NSW. Sand boarding at Stockton Bight, NSW As anyone who has attempted to run on a beach knows, plodding through sand – even flat sand – is hard work. Trudging uphill on a large dune with a steep gradient, therefore, is absolutely murderous. More so when you’ve just face-planted into the bottom of that dune and have been spitting out sand like a hyperactive llama, nursing a seriously bruised ego. If it all goes horribly wrong, or you get a bit cocky, that’s the fate...
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