Historic King Edward Park
The focal point of this historic park is a Victorian-era rotunda which highlights its spectacular ocean views. There are also Norfolk Island pines for shady picnics, a colourful sunken garden and the remains of the Shepherds Hill Battery and Gunner's Cottage, which were in regular use from 1890 to the mid 1950's.
Australia's second oldest city is rich with architectural heritage and fascinating historic sites. The most dramatic place to start is at Fort Scratchley Historic Site, the only coastal fort in Australia to have returned fire at an enemy vessel during a time of war (when a Japanese submarine attacked Newcastle in June, 1942). Join one of the regular tours of the underground tunnels to learn about the strategic importance of a hilltop overlooking the harbour.
Nearby, the historic Bogey Hole at Newcastle Beach is a hand-hewn ocean rock pool carved out of a cliff face by convicts in the 19th century. Located at the base of King Edward Park, it was originally built for the personal use of Newcastle's Commandant Morrisett; today it's popular with swimmers seeking a tranquil bathing spot close to the city centre. The art deco pavilion of Newcastle's Ocean Baths is another historic beachside location. Opened in 1922, it is still popular with swimmers and photographers!
Newcastle Museum is also well worth a visit, with a busy calendar of events and exhibitions. Three permanent exhibitions provide insights into the city's history, the steel industry plus there's a hands-on science centre for kids.
Christchurch Cathedral is probably one of the most recognisable landmarks in Newcastle's city centre, sitting atop Cooks Hill. One of the first places of worship built in Newcastle, the church graveyard is where many of the pioneers who shaped Newcastle are buried. You can even join an escorted ghost tour here with Newcastle Ghost Tours.
One of the best ways to explore Newcastle's many heritage attractions at your own pace is on foot. The Newcastle East Heritage Walk takes you to all the major sites - Customs House, the Convict Lumber Yard, Fort Scratchley, Newcastle Ocean Baths, Christchurch Cathedral, and several historic convict-era buildings.