Discover why Newcastle is the perfect coastal escape to enjoy and explore at any time of year.
Newcastle is a thriving city by the sea. With fine dining and pub eats to fill your belly, live music, theatre, arts and architecture to keep you entertained, and beaches and boutique shops to explore, there’s enough to keep you busy for a weekend – or longer!
An iconic coastline
A trip to the city, flanked by eight golden beaches waiting for surfers, sandcastles, sunrise snaps and sunset picnics, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to at least one. Set off on the city’s iconic coastal walk, Bathers Way, where the paved track hugs the coastline for six kilometres, linking to the Newcastle Memorial Walk and offering stunning views of the sea, historic ocean baths and beach pavilions. Popular with the locals, the trail promises fresh air and exercise with a side of beach views, and plenty of caffeine stops along the way.
One of Newcastle’s most spectacular vantage points, Fort Scratchley, is a unique, nationally significant heritage site. The canons here took aim at a Japanese submarine in 1942 during World War II, firing what are still the only shots fired at an enemy vessel from the Australian mainland. Standing sentinel above Nobbys Beach, you can explore the barracks, ponder the sight of canons standing guard over the sea, take in the 360-degree views and embark on a guided tour of the fascinating wartime tunnels.
If you’re an art and culture enthusiast, history buff or theatre lover, Australia’s seventh largest city has got you covered. Newcastle offers a range of unforgettable experiences, most within easy walking distance in the city centre.
Newcastle Art Gallery, the nation’s first purpose-built regional gallery, is nestled between the green splendour of Civic Park and popular shopping and dining strip of Darby Street. Presenting a dynamic range of exhibitions and events, and nationally recognised for one of the finest public collections in Australia, the Gallery houses around 6,500 works of art and stages events, workshops, tours and talks. The gallery even plays host to a number of activities especially for kids. From Torchlight Tours to workshops and art trails, art has never been so accessible and fun.
Close by is one of Australia’s great historical theatres. Dating back to 1929, the Civic Theatre offers a broad program of concerts, musicals and plays from national and international greats underneath a grand ornamental dome. Outside, the building takes a Georgian Revival style with a flourish of Italian Renaissance while inside you’ll find a Spanish Baroque theme. Recessed arches and statue-containing Alamo-style parapets add to the effect. Time your visit to allow for a pre-show meal, drink or coffee with friends at the theatre’s contemporary bar and café, Civic Digest.
For a dose of history, add the Newcastle Museum to your itinerary; home to permanent and visiting exhibitions that offer insights into the city’s past, present and future. Housed in a converted railway building, Newcastle Museum offers a great insight into the city’s industry and people. Permanent exhibit, Fire and Earth, takes you to the centre of the coal and steel industries that have dominated the identity, landscape and people of the hunter, while A Newcastle Story charts the evolution of the city from early Aboriginal life to present day, showcasing the changing environment, people and places that have made the city what it is today.
Forage and feast
If it’s green spaces and nature that you seek, Blackbutt Reserve is a must-visit. Just ten minutes’ drive from the CBD, and accessible via public transport, Blackbutt is a nature-lovers dream. With a boardwalk animal sanctuary, over 180 hectares of bushland and a new kids’ adventure playground at Richley Reserve, there’s fun for all the family.
As the sun goes down, whether you’re after fine dining or casual eats, craft beers or cocktails, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The harbourside area of Honeysuckle overlooks the working harbour, while Darby, King, Hunter and Beaumont Streets all offer restaurants among quirky street art and boutique shops.
With so much to do and see, why not set a date and explore this vibrant harbour city.
Wherever you’re coming from, Newcastle is within easy reach. Located just two hours drive from Sydney, the city also has regular inter-city train services that connect to Sydney and Brisbane, via many regional towns. Direct flights are available from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and the Gold Coast, as well as regional cities including Ballina, Byron, Dubbo and Taree. Newcastle Airport is just 25 minutes’ drive from the city centre.