Beaches & Nature
With 14 km of coastline to itself, Newcastle lays claim to several unspoiled beaches and ocean baths that each offer sun seekers something a little different.
Merewether Beach is arguably Newcastle’s most famous beach thanks to its annual international surfing competition, Surfest. But it is actually three beaches in one, with Dixon Park and Bar Beach also sharing the same strip of sand.
Cool off in the Merewether iconic ocean baths and refuel at one of the many beachfront cafes, wander up to Bar Beach, meander along the Anzac Memorial Walk (part of the Bathers Way walk that extends from Merewether to Nobbys Beach), or settle on the sand with the kids followed by a swim in Bar’s calmer waters.
Tucked just below Shortland Esplanade, out of sight and bordered by mounds of rocks intermittently covered by the rising tide, you’ll find the historic Newcastle Ocean Baths. Swimmers have flocked to the baths since 1922, basking in its art deco façade. Take a dip here in the baths, duck next door to the Canoe Pool or make your way around the bend to Newcastle Beach to take advantage of the cityscape it backs onto.
Follow the coast around to reach the crescent-shaped Nobbys Beach, which is patrolled year round. Its headland is home to the famous Nobby Lighthouse.
Swap the sand for bush trails through Blackbutt and the Hunter Wetlands. Tackle one of the many walks, set up a picnic or head to Glenrock State Conservation Area to experience the region’s best mountain biking trails, while the harbour beckons water-sport lovers to partake in a day of paddle boarding and kayaking.
Embrace a night of entertainment at the heritage-listed Newcastle Civic Centre. The historic building has played host to an rotating roster of dance, theatre, comedy and musical performances for nearly a century.
Meanwhile, you can get your art fix at the Lock-Up. The former goal, now a contemporary art space and creative hub, is located in the heart of Newcastle’s heritage precinct and showcases a diverse range of art exhibitions that are sure to pique your interest. Alternatively, the Newcastle Art Gallery has a collection of over 6700 works of art that are curated and exhibited not only here but also around the country.
Motorheads should plan their visit to coincide with the annual Newcastle 500 Supercars Finale, while the international surfing competition Surfest draws the crowds to Merewether Beach to watch the professionals charge the waves.
Spend the better part of a weekend hitting the market trail in Newcastle. The Olive Tree Art & Design Market draws a crowd to Civic Park on the first Saturday of each month. Treat yourself to a range of gourmet treats and pick up a handmade, one of a kind gift from the best emerging and established designers, artists, makers and producers in the region.
Sunday mornings are made for visiting the Newcastle City Farmers Market for the freshest local produce, meat and seafood bought direct from the farmers – which means you get to ask them not only where and how the produce is grown but also cooking tips and how to store it.