Things To See and Do
Nestled in the heart of the Hunter Region is the beachside city of Newcastle. A top ten city in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2011’ guide, Newcastle has a rich history, quirky arts culture and a thriving dining and shopping scene. Newcastle is a city that is always changing, a city with world class business, research and industry, and a city of hardworking genuine people.
There are few cities in the world beyond Newcastle that can say their city centre is surrounded by eight beaches. Merewether, Newcastle, Nobbys, and Bar Beach in particular are popular surfing and fishing locations, and are conveniently located close to the city centre. Ride the wave of surfing culture that characterises the city and join the locals for an early morning dip. Swim in the art deco Newcastle Ocean Baths (opened in 1922), and have fish and chips at the Canoe Pool, built in the late 1930s for young swimmers. Look out for whales and dolphins, a common sight off Newcastle’s beaches.
Take a moment to sit and watch the port in action and be amazed as giant 300m freight ships, close enough to touch, are guided into the Harbour by comparatively tiny tugs and a pilot flown out to each ship by helicopter. Sharing the harbour with coal ships are freight ships, fishing boats, ferries, yachts, kayaks and private vessels, making for a chaotic but exciting scene. Dine at one of the restaurants at Honeysuckle and enjoy front row views of all the action.
Newcastle is the ideal place to catch some culture, with a cluster of galleries and boutiques along Darby Street, Newcastle East and Cooks Hill. Watch a performance at the spectacularly-restored Art Deco Civic Theatre, which presents an amazing, diverse range of shows. Or visit Newcastle Art Gallery, one of Australia’s leading regional galleries with a magnificent collection from local, national and international artists and a full schedule of impressive travelling exhibitions.
For a walk through Newcastle’s history tour Fort Scratchley Historic Site, with its commanding position guarding the Hunter River Estuary. Overlooking Nobbys Beach and lighthouse, the Fortress has a long and interesting military history. Another famous historic site and a survivor of the Japanese submarine attack of WWII and the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, Christ Church Cathedral is a short car ride away. The city’s ‘Castle’ boasts exquisite architecture, beautiful grounds and wide views of Newcastle harbour. Revisit Newcastle’s convict past with a visit to the convict-hewn Bogey Hole, built around 1820 for the personal use of Commandant James T. Morriset. Located beneath a rocky prominence at the foot of King Edward Park, the Bogey Hole gets battered during heavy seas.
To satisfy your appetite Newcastle offers a diverse range of dining. Sip cocktails at a one of the many harbourside restaurants with bustling maritime views by day and glittering shores by night. Dine in cosmopolitan Beaumont Street home to a range of Mediterranean restaurants and quirky sidewalk cafes. Check out the live music at one of our many local pubs around the city and finish up with late night coffee at funky inner city Darby Street. For those who prefer fine dining go no further than Newcastle city centre, a busy business precinct with a smattering of first class restaurants. Newcastle East also boasts a range of first class restaurants with sweeping views of the harbour and beaches.