Explore our backyard

Explore our backyard


29 April 2020
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Hemmed by water, with a thriving arts culture, bustling café culture, hip boutiques and laidback locals, seriously how did Newcastle get so lucky?

So get out there and explore our wonderful backyard. 

Water, water everywhere

Australia’s coolest coastal city (yep, we’re claiming it) is girt by sea.

We’ve got a beautiful working harbour and a string of superlative beaches. Closest to the CBD itself you’ll find Nobbys and Newcastle Beach. Head south for Bar Beach, Dixon Park Beach and Merewether Beach, home to international surfing competition, Surfest and surfing legend Mark Richards. 

Did you know: Merewether Beach is a recognised Australian national surfing reserve and home to Surfest each March.

See beach guide

Bustling cafes

Novocastrians love their coffee. You can’t walk more than 50 metres in the CBD without stumbling across yet another café - often with tables on the footpath to enjoy your pour over or flat white alfresco.

Once only found in Beaumont Street or along the bustling Darby Street strip, Newcastle’s burgeoning coffee scene now extends to inner city suburbs of Wickham, Maryville, Islington, Hunter and King Streets in the CBD and along our sparkling coastline. Newcastle is also home to several coffee roasters too.

Tuck into acai bowls, smashed avo and moreish toasties along with your single origin latte.

See all Eat + Drink

Insta-worthy ocean baths

Watch the swimmers crawl through the water at Newcastle Ocean Baths, with its distinctive art deco façade or Merewether Ocean Baths, the largest in the southern hemisphere.

The iconic Bogey Hole is one of Newcastle’s most Instagrammable landmarks (access is from King Edward Park). This incredible ocean pool was hand-hewn by convicts for then Commandant of Newcastle, James Morisset in 1819.

*Newcastle and Merewether’s ocean baths are open year-round. Check out the cleaning schedule 

Cool Precincts

From bustling Darby Street to the historic East End, Newcastle’s precincts have a character and personality uniquely their own.

The beating heart of Cooks Hill is Darby Street with its cool boutiques, hip cafes and bars, Newcastle East is home to historic Fort Scratchley, the Newcastle Ocean Baths and Nobbys and Newcastle Beaches, while the city itself melds old and new.

Explore the steep vertical streets of The Hill behind Newcastle CBD where you’ll find Australia’s oldest school, Newcastle East Public School, the Obelisk and streets lined with Victorian architecture.

Down on the foreshore is Honeysuckle and Newcastle Harbour. Here you’ll see bossy tug boats hustle freighters several times their size on the broad briny harbour where vessels have traded goods for more than two centuries. Bars and eateries line the foreshore offering an ideal spot to have a glass of wine while watching the sunset.

Check out Newcastle's precincts

Coastal trails

Stretching from Nobbys Headland all the way to Merewether Beach at the gateway to Glenrock State Conservation Area, the 6km Bathers Way is one of Newcastle’s greatest assets.

Eye popping vistas across the sparkling Pacific Ocean abound. The Newcastle Memorial Walk forms part of the Bathers Way and its 450-metre clifftop span affords 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and out to the Hunter Valley.

From there the trail tumbles down to Newcastle Beach, past the Bogey Hole and skirts the coastline to Nobbys Beach where Nobbys Lighthouse (open weekends) stands guard on the headland. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales (in season).

Follow the walking trail

A rich and storied past

Australia’s second oldest city is chock-a-block full of history.

Many historic and landmark buildings have been converted into luxury apartments, hotels and hip whisky bars while warehouses now house gin distilleries, chic homewares stores and Pan Asian or Mexican eateries.

The old provides a clever juxtaposition against contemporary architecture like the University of Newcastle’s NeW Space building and Newcastle Local Court. The heritage listed Civic Theatre, with its striking baroque interiors, recently celebrated its 90th anniversary.

Take a stroll behind the CBD and admire Christ Church Cathedral on The Hill, explore the Convict Lumber Yard (Australia's oldest recorded place of industrial activity) and visit the Lock-up, home to Newcastle Police Station from 1861 until 1982 and one of Newcastle’s most significant heritage buildings.

Did you know? Australian biscuit manufacturer Arnott’s traces its humble beginnings back to Newcastle when the William Arnott's Steam Biscuit Factory opened in 1865.

Follow the walking trail

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