Stunning beaches, towering towers, museums, secluded swimming spots, killer cafes – Newcastle, a two-hour drive north of Sydney, has it all. Here are the top attractions in Newcastle to add to your to-do list when you visit this booming beach town.
Nobbys Beach and Breakwater
Newcastle Harbor may lack the aesthetic appeal of Sydney, but it retains the distinction of being the largest coal exporter in the world. Gawk at giant container ship with front row seats on Nobbys Breakwater, jutting out into the Pacific Ocean to guide ships into the Hunter River. Golden sands and picturesque lighthouse also make Nobbys Beach worth a visit.
Coal is not the only black substance Newcastle peddlers; coffee has now become the city’s obsession in the 21st century. At the heart of the cafe scene is Darby Street, a hub for clothing stores, home appliances, music stores, trendy restaurants and comfortable cafes link the city center to Bar Beach. Three Monkeys is an institution and it is surrounded by lots of other great places to play cuppa.
The Hunter Valley
Australia’s second oldest city also has the country’s oldest wine region on its doorstep. The Hunter Valley – just 45 minutes’ drive from Newcastle – is home to more than 150 world-renowned Semillon wineries, as well as quality Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. And that was before we talked about the delightful Hunter restaurants, relaxing day spas, gourmet chefs, and more.
Built by convicts in 1820, this heritage-listed ocean pool is considered to be the oldest surviving European structure in Newcastle. Two centuries later, the Bogey Hole was one of the city’s favorite swimming spots, with bathers concentrating on the ocean bath next to King Edward Park to bounce around as waves rushed into the rock.
Another must-visit area just a short drive from the city center is Port Stephens – a pristine area of 26 sparkling beaches, lush national park, home to 140 nosed dolphins. Australia’s largest bottle and dune system. The Worimi Reserve stretches over 32 km (20mi) along the coast and the tower is 40 meters (130ft) high on the beach, best settled with a 4WD, four wheeled bike or on the back of the board if you prefer risky.
McDonald Jones Stadium
The rugby league is the religion of Newcastle and the stadium is the church. Newcastle International Sports Center – now known as McDonald Jones Stadium for sponsorship reasons – is in full bloom with more than 20,000 Novocast residents as their beloved NRL club, Newcastle Knights, runs around in winter . The stadium is also fertile ground for football, and the city ranks right behind the Newcastle Jets team in the A-League in the summer.
Stroll along the Newcastle Monument Walk along a rugged coastline to Merewether, a beach populated by swimmers and surfers. You don’t want to stick with sand? So sweet. Stick to a picnic at Dixon Park, take a dip in the recently renovated kid-friendly ocean baths or indulge in a glass of cold water at the Beach Hotel.
Originally built by the British in the 19th century to defend against a possible Russian attack, then called on to practical duty against Japanese submarines during World War II, the fortress calendar. This history is currently a fascinating museum located on Nobbys Beach in the middle of Newcastle. Its location offers an unrivaled vantage point over the ocean, especially when whales are making annual migrations along the east coast. History buffs should also visit the nearby Convict Lumberyard.
Starting life as an old brewery in 1988, then moving to the old Honeysuckle Railroad in 2011, this vibrant museum will take you through the history of Newcastle. That journey goes from original Aboriginal life to British settlements, coal and steel production, and to today’s life – all in beautifully maintained Victorian railway architecture. . Vulture culture should also visit the Newcastle Art Gallery to see its 5,000 collection.
Take in the harbour views
Newcastle has one of the busiest ports in the Southern Hemisphere, with large ships coming and going throughout the day. Head to Honeysuckle and take a walk (or bike ride) along the water’s edge to take it all in. For a view of the harbour, city and coastline from the water, CoastXP offers daily trips departing from Honeysuckle’s foreshore. There’s something for the foodies as well, with numerous cafes, restaurants and bars lining the water’s edge. Stop by The Landing, MoneyPenny or The Dockyard for a cocktail while you watch the sun go down and the harbour light up.