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Must do experiences in Newcastle

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Forget about what you think you know about Newcastle. The city is evolving at such a rate you can literally SEE CHANGE.
And to prove it, we have put together the ultimate Newcastle guide to the city's must-see attractions and must-do experiences.



Nightlife – Newcastle’s nightlife is not just for agrown-ups – there’s something for every member of the family. Every Saturday night the Blackbutt Reserve Spotlight Adventure will have the entire family on the lookout for possums, tawny frogmouths, owls, flying foxes, bats and spiders, under the watchful eye of grained guides. Downtown, everyone’s talking about City Evolutions, a new interactive lights display showcasing the history and stories of Watt Street – Newcastle’s oldest – in a fascinating self guided walking tour. For a unique experience why not join a Ghost Tour of the East End which will have you creeping along some of the city’s historic alleys and visiting the original Newcastle police station holding cells, The Lock Up Cultural Centre.

Eateries – Newcastle’s dining scene has exploded in recent years and two hatted restaurants are setting the bar for fine dining: Subo and Restaurant Mason. For a memorable breakfast, try Frankie’s Place on trendy Darby Street – famous for its indulgent toasted muesli, Eggs Benedict and delicious smoothies – or the Wickham Motorcycle Cafe, noted for its big brekky enjoyed amidst the cool collection of vintage bikes. Come lunch time, it’s hard to go past The Honeysuckle precinct, home to The Landing Bar + Kitchen and Silo Restaurant and Lounge boasting magnificent harbour views and well-stocked cellars packed with local Hunter Valley favourites. Take an Epicurean Excursion Food Tour to be introduce you to some of Newcastle's favourite eateries in just a few hours. Beer lovers won’t want to leave Craft and Co Burgers, where they’ve perfected the art of pairing gourmet burgers with boutique beers – heaven! 
Whales, Waves and Walks – You may be lucky enough to spot whales frolicking from the shoreline, but for a closer view, hop aboard one of the many Whale Cruises for a birds eye view of these magnificent gentle giants at their best. Ask any local and they’ll tell you Nobby’s Beach is a must-visit, whether to catch a wave or enjoy a swim. Energetic walkers will enjoy the five kilometre Bather's Way Walk from Nobby’s Head to historic Fort Stratchley – the only fort in Australia to have engaged the enemy in a maritime attack – which takes in original Art Deco architecture and the famous Bogey Hole. History buffs will love the Newcastle East Heritage Walk which winds through the city’s 200-year background via Customs House, the Cathedral, the Convict Lumber Yard and the Newcastle Ocean Baths.

ulture and History
– Newcastle is Australia’s second oldest city and overflowing with cultural activities for young and old. The Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre showcases Newcastle’s intriguing Aboriginal culture and has plenty of interactive exhibits including learning the art of playing the Didgeridoo, or watching indigenous artists at work. Why not catch a performance at the opulent 1920’s Civic Theatre, one of this country’s finest performance buildings. Shows on offer in 2013 include Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera.

Art – Recent years have seen an explosion in the Newcastle arts scene, with pop-up exhibitions, galleries and cultural centres opening throughout the city. The Cooks Hill Galleries is one of the district’s premier commercial art galleries, showcasing local and international artists; while The Lock Up Cultural Centre in the heart of the heritage precinct is the city’s original police station, now combined with an art gallery, artist in residence program and museum. At Newcastle’s Art Gallery you’ll find a comprehensive collection of Australian art from colonial times to the present day, as well as the most significant collection of modern Japanese ceramics in the Southern hemisphere.

Shopping – Divine Darby Street is the spot for chic boutique shopping. Popular picks include indie boutique Honey Bee and the ultra cool Abicus, where you’ll find everything from hip gear for guys and girls to retro vinyl and CDs. A short stroll away is Betty Mim, home to cute clothing and unique homewares, while High Tea with Mrs Woo is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Studio Melt – part of the hugely successful Renew Newcastle project – is where you’ll find beautiful jewellery for any occasion, while the Blackbird Corner in Cooks Hills stocks a funky collection of handcrafted clothes from boho designers. Leave time to check out one of the city’s terrific markets too, The Olive Tree Markets is renowned for its eclectic mix of stalls from original art to the latest threads and accessories.

– Taking a local tour is one of the best ways to discover the best kept secrets in Newcastle. The Newcastle’s Famous Tram runs weekdays (including school holidays) and takes in the must-see sites across the city and beach (including historical spots) in a jam-packed hour, with full commentary provided. For the adventurous, take a five-minute ferry ride from the city to the sand dunes of Stockton Beach for a quad bike experience like no other, driving past shipwrecks and visiting the famous Tin City from the Mad Max movie.

Live Music and  Entertainment –  Lizottes cabaret is synonymous with Newcastle and has been the birthplace of many a local act. It’s the ultimate spot for a tasty meal and something different to do on a Saturday night. The 5 Sawyers is a top spot to finish off a hectic week, cocktail in hand listening to the tunes at one of its Retro Sundays, while The Terrace Bar is an intimate arts venue playing cool jazz that offers the perfect winter’s hideaway. 

Events – Newcastle’s events calendar is jam-packed year round with hot tickets including Surfest (Feb/ March), The Winter Heat (June/July) and Newcastle Craft Beer Week (Jan) – check out the rest and time your stay to tie in with a special event which will see the city at its very best.

And this list is just the beginning. Why not see what you can add by checking out the transformation in Newcastle for yourself?