Best city parks

Best city parks


06 January 2020
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While visitors to Newcastle typically make a beeline for our wonderful beaches and bustling harbourthe city’s historic green spaces are well worth a visit too. Pack a picnic, find a shady spot under a tree and pack a frisbee for some good ol’ fashioned family fun.

King Edward Park

Mirror, mirror on the wall, is King Edward Park the city’s fairest of all? This spectacular historic park with its gorgeous Victorian rotunda is a real head turner. Wide green open spaces tumble down to the rolling Pacific Ocean. A section of the popular Bathers Way runs through the sprawling park where the trail offers walkers expansive ocean vistas and the chance to spot migrating whales in season. The park features majestic Norfolk Pines, a sunken garden and a fascinating remnant of our penal past - the iconic Bogey Hole (indigenous word for bathe). This ocean pool hewn out of rock by convicts lies at the foot of the eastern cliff face and is one of Newcastle’s most Instagrammable landmarks.  

 While you’re there: 

  • Let the kids loose on the playground with swings and climbing equipment 
  • Dogs can play on the leash free area at the park’s summit  
  • Catch a free outdoor movie over summer 
Civic Park

At the heart of the city’s cultural precinct, Civic Park sits proudly between City Hall, the Newcastle Art Gallery and Newcastle Regional Library. Flanked by historic buildings including the Baptist Tabernacle, Presbyterian Church and Newcastle City Hall, this urban green space offers large shady trees, tiered garden beds, war memorial and expanses of lawn perfect for impromptu picnics. The park is also home to the monthly Olive Tree Markets, a contemporary handmade art and design market. 

Once coal mining land, the 2.5-hectare space was passed into public hands and opened for community use in 1937. On her visit to Newcastle in 1970, Queen Elizabeth opened the Captain Cook Memorial Fountain designed by the late modernist sculptor Margel Ina Hinder. Some claimed it was “too modern”; others “her finest work”. With its arresting parabolic arcs of water, the fountain was later adopted as the city’s emblem. 

 While you’re there: 

  • Visit the Olive Tree Market (monthly) and meet local artisans 
  • Browse the Newcastle Art Gallery, located directly across the road on Laman Street 
  • Take a stroll on the wide paths at dusk, gelato in hand 
Centennial Park

At the heart of inner city Cooks Hill, the charming Centennial Park offers a Victorian rotunda, modern playground, fragrant flower beds and expansive grassy spaces shaded by Norfolk Pines and fig trees. A popular spot for families, the recently upgraded playground is a drawcard offering swings, climbing equipment, slides, monkey bars and more. There are picnic tables and benches throughout the manicured park inviting visitors to spread out a blanket and soak up the enticing green space.  

This 2.2-hectare urban oasis was a centennial gift to the city in 1888 by the Australian Agricultural Company (a coal mining company). It’s also home to the city’s only public lawn tennis courts while next door is the Lowlands Bowling Club, which opened in 1892.  

 While you’re there: 

  • Have a mosey through the shops along nearby Darby Street 
  • Stroll the tree lined streets of Cooks Hill with its historic homes, sandstone kerbs and even a Victorian-era post box 
  • Refresh and unwind at a café on Darby Street, or one of Cooks Hill’s historic watering holes 
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