Newcastle is a must-do day trip from Sydney
Planning a day trip from Sydney?
With a burgeoning foodie scene, picturesque coastline to explore, and a unique take on art and culture, Newcastle is a day-tripper's delight with lots to see and do. Only two hours drive or an easy, scenic train journey away, makes Newcastle the perfect day trip destination.
Here’s some of our top insider tips to get you started…
The Ultimate Foodie Hotspot
First things first, once you’ve arrived you’ll need to fuel up on the most important meal of the day...brunch.
Across the city, you’re spoiled for choice, try:
If you’re up for something a little more liquid, bottomless brunch at Ginger Meg’s is a local favourite on weekends - for everyone except the designated driver! Settle in for a session of delicious Yum Cha and cocktails.
Ginger Megs, Newcastle © Destination NSW
Signal Box, Newcastle © Destination NSW
For your afternoon caffeine fix, try Convoy Commune or Good Brother Espresso (both Newcastle main-stays when it comes to great coffee). For coffee with a view, keep an eye out for Newcastle Beach Kiosk or the Globetrotter Coffee Van found in the Bar Beach Bowlo car park as you take a stroll between Nobbys Beach and Dixon Park Beach.
Grab something deliciously sweet while you’ve got that hot coffee in hand. Stop in at Cakeboi for treats including lamingtons and red velvet cake with a distinctly fun approach. Or beat the heat with home-made gelato at Monella, or a classic cone at the retro-inspired The Hood Milk Bar.
Cakeboi, Newcastle © Destination NSW
If your day trip from Sydney starts a little later in the day, we’ve got you covered. Head to Modus Operandi Brewery or find a cosy corner at The Burwood Pub, both are located in Merewether and serve up good food, brews and vibes. If you’re in town, pop into Earp Distilling Co. in Carrington for a unique gin tasting experience.
Post-pub, get ready for dinner you won’t forget. For one of the best dining experiences in Newcastle, don’t look past Subo. With a six-course menu changing every six weeks, Subo offers a dining experience like no other. Jana at the recently-opened QT Newcastle offers a premium experience inspired by the local pastures and vineyards of the Hunter region. For fare that's refined, yet casual, Flotilla is a great spot located in the up and coming neighbourhood of Wickham. Be sure to check ahead for opening hours and book in advance so you don’t miss out.
Experience Newcastle's foodie trail on two wheels! Hit the saddle with Newy Rides on its Essentials x The 'Burbs tour and enjoy the best distilleries and breweries in the area in an afternoon. For those that want to explore on foot, Underground Epicurean’s foodie tour is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city while experiencing the best of the area’s hospitality scene.
The Great Outdoors
If nature and spectacular coastline is your jam, Newcastle has the perfect combination of both, as well as mild and wild adventures. On your day trip from Sydney, make your way into Newcastle via the Scenic Drive. Pit stop at Merewether Ocean Baths for a refreshing dip or catch some waves at Merewether Beach.
Merewether Ocean Baths, Newcastle
Feeling peckish? Merewether Surfhouse is a great spot for lunch with a view, or head to neighbouring Blue Door Kiosk for a caffeinated beverage or snack. After lunch, jump back in the car and continue driving towards the city. Make a stop at Strzelecki Lookout to take in the incredible views and walk along ANZAC Memorial Walk.
Continue along to King Edward Park — for a beautiful garden setting and views over to East Newcastle and the coastline from Shepherds Hill Cottage.
ANZAC Memorial Walk, Newcastle
King Edward Park, Newcastle
Visiting between May and October? Get up close to one of the thousands of humpback whales that journey the coastline each year on their annual migration. You can spot them for a variety of beaches and lookouts or for a unique adventure, jump on board CoastXP.
For adventurous types, Glenrock State Conservation Area is nature’s playground and a mecca for mountain biking with its variety of trails that meander the rainforest (so don’t forget to bring your bike). Those on foot can hit the Yuelarbah Trail and enjoy a picturesque hike to Burwood Beach. A highly active day needs a truly satisfying dinner!
Reward yourself at Lock’s Paddock with a mouthwatering cacio e pepe pasta, or for a no fuss but delicious dinner, book a table at Napoli Centrale for some of the best traditional Neapolitan pizza in town.
Creativity and Heritage
Newcastle is home to a variety of architectural gems and street art, unique to the city.
Art lovers rejoice! Wander into one of the many independent galleries dotted around town, like The Lock-Up, a former heritage-listed police station reimagined as an art gallery. As you walk around, keep an eye out for some of the murals, including the Inari mural on Newcastle University city campus and the Bronte Naylor mural on the exterior of Civic Theatre.
Bronte Naylor Street Art, Newcastle
As part of this, street art festival Big Picture Fest returns to town with muralists painting live on site for 3 days - it is the perfect excuse for a day trip from Sydney. Come and explore the city walking trails and see the new big and bold murals throughout the city for yourself.
Need to rest your legs? Enjoy a drink at one of Newcastle’s many heritage-listed buildings. The Customs House Hotel was built in 1887 in sandstone and served as Australian Customs offices. Today, the Hotel is the perfect place to eat, drink and play in the heart of Newcastle.
Bar Mellow on Hunter Street is a funky wine bar, housed in a historic corner bank building. The recently refreshed and sophisticated interior features warm natural tones to match their unique natural wine selection. The Well Bar is also well-worth a drink stop on your trip to Newcastle. You’ll find The Well Bar in a converted church on Watt St, decked out in luxe velvet furniture, with marble tables and a stage.
If you find that one day just isn’t enough to fit it all in, why not make it an overnight stay? The luxurious and recently-opened QT Newcastle has taken up residence in a century-old department store on Hunter Street Mall. The heritage property has been revitalised with a beautifully-designed interior. Experience the QT in all its glory by dining at the hotel’s newly opened restaurant Jana, or take in the sights with a drink at the rooftop bar. Quest Newcastle West is located in a historic former brewery building, and has retained some historical elements in its range of self-service apartments.
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