Newcastle Destination Guide
Oft-overlooked for its southern rival Sydney, the beachside city of Newcastle is the second largest city in New South Wales and a popular tourist destination in its own right. Boasting kilometres of golden beaches, a thriving city centre and some of Australia's most famous vineyards in its temperate Hunter hinterland, Newcastle tourism has helped transform the city from a gritty former coal mining town into one of Australia's hottest destinations. Explore the beaches, hop on the ferry across to Stockton or simply soak up Newcastle's historic charm in this ideal holiday town.
Newcastle is surrounded by 8 city beaches so needless to stay the city's natural environment is one of its biggest drawcards. Bar Beach is considered by many to be Newcastle's best, though Nobby's Beach is equally popular and is close to Newcastle's train station. The city's famous Ocean Baths are a great place to while away an afternoon, particularly when the hot Newcastle weather rolls in during the summer months. Exploring the city's charming suburbs is another of the most popular things to do in Newcastle, with fashionable Beaumont Street in Hamilton and the nearby leafy suburb of Islington popular with locals and visitors alike.
Once regarded as a culinary backwater, Newcastle restaurants are rapidly gaining a reputation for fine dining. The inner city suburbs of Cooks Hill and Hamilton boast countless casual options, including the popular Darby Street Takeaway and the Asian-inspired Oriental Kitchen. For a higher-end dining experience head to Subo in the heart of the city, which has earned rave reviews for its exotic flavours since opening in late 2011. As a former coal mining town with a lively student population, Newcastle is not short of venues in which to tip back a tipple. The Clarendon Hotel is one of the city's most popular drinking haunts, while the Queens Wharf Brewery enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the Newcastle foreshore.
Where to Stay
Newcastle accommodation makes the most of the city's waterfront location, with many of Newcastle's most popular hotels boasting beach views. Noah's On The Beach conveniently overlooks Newcastle Beach, while the Crowne Plaza Newcastle not only enjoys a waterfront location, it's also one of the most centrally located accommodation venues in the city. The Clarendon Hotel is another sought-after option, particularly with those looking to enjoy its informal ambiance and casual dining opportunities. Outside the city centre, the Quality Hotel Apollo International in Charlestown is a perfect choice if you're after a peaceful bushland setting in close proximity to the Newcastle CBD.
Like much of the city, Newcastle shopping is undergoing a resurgence. While the heyday of the Hunter Street Mall is long gone, new shopping precincts have sprouted up in Hamilton and Cooks Hill, where boutique fashion stores vie for attention alongside funky art galleries and furniture and decor outlets. Australia's second-oldest city also plays host to numerous antique stores, with most located in the historic suburbs of Islington and Mayfield. The Newcastle City Farmers Markets take place on Sundays in the suburb of Broadmeadow and are a great place to pick up some produce or locally made souvenirs.
Newcastle Like a Local
With an abundance of sunshine and boasting some of Australia's best beaches, Newcastle locals are quick to make the most of the city's prime location. Surfing is a popular local pastime and the Newcastle Surf School offers classes to surfers of all levels. An iconic ferry traverses Newcastle's working harbour from Queens Wharf in the centre of the city to the picturesque seaside suburb of Stockton on a regular basis. With its leafy parks and laidback atmosphere, why not pack a picnic and enjoy Stockton's quiet serenity after spending the morning enjoying Newcastle's sunshine and surf?