With beautiful beaches, artistic delights and thrilling sports, Newcastle is a wonderful destination two hours’ drive north of Sydney. Discover the world-famous Merewether Beach and enjoy fabulous events, from concerts and shows to motor racing and Surfest, the biggest surfing festival in Australia.
Enjoy tasty experiences, too. A delicious range of waterside bars, cafes and restaurants is on the harbour foreshore promenade, a stroll from fascinating cultural attractions such as the Newcastle Museum and the Newcastle Art Gallery , which curates one of Australia’s finest public art collections.
A great way to explore the spectacular coastline and spot whales is the Bathers Way, a scenic walk from the 1858-built Nobbys Head Lighthouse to Glenrock State Conservation Area. You’ll wander past the art deco Newcastle Ocean Baths and the Bogey Hole, a rock pool hewn by convicts in 1819.
Find out more about the city’s intriguing history and heritage on guided tours, including Aboriginal-led tours, heritage walking tours and harbour cruises. There are regular tours of the Fort Scratchley Historic Site, Australia’s only coastal fortification to fire upon a World War II Japanese submarine.
Two convenient ways to travel between the historical attractions and the gorgeous beaches are the Newcastle Coastal Explorer and Newcastle’s Famous Tram, a replica 1932 tram. Alternatively, bring your bicycle or hire one and pedal from the heart of the city to the beaches and along the coast.
For more outdoor adventure, soar on zip-lines at the TreeTop Adventure Park or learn to surf at the Surfest Surf School. For a wildlife experience, take the kids to Blackbutt Reserve for the koalas, emus and kangaroos and to the internationally recognised Hunter Wetlands for a colourful array of birds.
Accommodation options suit various budgets, from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. You can pitch your tent at beachside campsites in the Stockton Beach Holiday Park next to Stockton Beach, which is the longest beach in NSW. The beach begins on the northern side of Newcastle Harbour.
The city celebrates its creativity with events all year, such as the Newcastle Jazz Festival in August and the Olive Tree Market, a monthly contemporary art and design market. The sporting calendar is also jam-packed with events, from Surfest in February to the Newcastle 500 supercars in November.