The Best Hikes & Walks In Newcastle
Newcastle, the second most populous area in NSW, is home to a world-class collection of trails and paths for those looking to explore the great outdoors. While many of the best hikes and walks in Newcastle are easier strolls fit for walkers and hikers of all ages, there are a few longer treks that will get your step count skyrocketing if you are looking for a challenge.
So, what are you waiting for? Lace up your walking shoes or boots, fill up your travel packs and water bottles, slap on the sunscreen and get ready to enjoy some of the most beautiful, rewarding and downright fun hikes and walks in all of NSW.
A stunning 6km path connecting a collection of NSW's best beaches
If the sun is shining and the temperature is creeping up, there's few better ways to spend the day than going on a beach crawl via the Bathers Way Walk. This is another iconic stretch of paved pathway that locals and visitors alike have fallen in love with over the years. It's nice and wide, so even if it's busy (which it often is, especially when the weather cooperates), you should have plenty of room to navigate.
In the winter months, the Bathers Way Walk can be your gateway to excellent whale watching possibilities. But stellar views of the city and harbour from the ANZAC Bridge and the chance to watch the massive coal loaders go in and out are on offer year round, making this a great option regardless of what the thermometer reads.
To walk the full length, start at the southern end, which kicks off at Merewether Baths. Beach hop your way north up the coast, finishing off at the scenic Nobbys Beach and its famed Nobbys Lighthouse. Outside of some slight inclined portions, there's nothing to be too worried about in terms of difficulty.
- Parking? Yes, at the start and end of the walk near Merewether Baths and Nobbys Beach and at other points along the route, including King Edward Park, Bar Beach and Dixon Park Beach.
- Distance: About 6km
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
A collection of walking trails ranging from easy to difficult, located about 9km west of the Newcastle CBD
This is one for all of those who want to get out and about with the kiddos in tow. provides an excellent backdrop for walkers young and old. Have a little animal lover in your midst? Looking for a way to burn off some youthful energy after being in the house together all week? Or perhaps the adults just want to escape the everyday and get amongst some gorgeous natural beauty.
Blackbutt Reserve and its 180-plus hectares of lush bushland is home to seven walking trails. None of these are too lengthy (the 2.6km-long Tall Trees Walk clocks in as the longest), which means you can easily tackle a handful of them in one visit. In addition to these great walks, there's a kiosk for ice blocks, drinks and other fun treats, and you can buy animal feed for the kids to give to livestock on site.
There are three main entry points into the Blackbutt Reserve walking trail network, all of which have parking. On the eastern edge there's one off Lookout Road, which leads to a lush rainforest area full of native wildlife. Another is off Carnley Avenue, on the southern end of the reserve, and a third is at the junction of Freyberg Street and Mahogany Drive. These latter two feature picnic and barbecue areas, toilet facilities and playground areas.
- Parking? Yes, off Lookout Road, Carnley Avenue and just off the corner of Freyberg Street and Mahogany Drive. Costs $4 per hour or $12 per day.
- Distance: 10.5km combined across the seven walking trails
- Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
A long, popular, paved walking path suitable for walkers of all ages and ability levels
Anybody who's spent even just a few hours in Newcastle is probably familiar with the famous Fernleigh Track. One of the greatest things about it is the great variety of natural and manmade features you'll come across as you make your way over its 15kms. Spanning an old railway corridor that connects Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, you'll stroll by relics from a time gone by and walk through the refurbished Fernleigh Tunnel. You’ll pass sandy seashores, bushland and wetlands, including the Awabakal Nature Reserve, Glenrock State Conservation Area and Flaggy and Little Flaggy Creeks. There's also a range of shops, cafes and beaches along on the route.
Another family-friendly walking option, this man-made track is paved and mostly flat. There are a range of entry points with parking along the way, so you can cover smaller section. But if you want to tackle the entire walk, start at Adamstown train station, a 7km drive west of the Newcastle CBD. Amble south until the end of track at Belmont in Lake Macquarie. Be aware that you will most likely be sharing this path with cyclists, as many use it to commute or as an avenue for exercise, so make sure to keep your head on a swivel while walking.
- Parking? Yes, at multiple points along the track including at the start at Adamstown train station, Burwood Road, the junction of Station Street and Hudson Street, Cowlishaw Street, Railway Crescent and Railway Parade near the end of the walk in Belmont.
- Distance: 15km
- Difficulty: Easy
A bunch of bushy hiking and walking trails sitting just outside of Newcastle
While Newcastle is home to some of the best beaches in New South Wales, its incredible inland attractions shouldn't be ignored. One shining example of the bushland beauty awaiting you is Glenrock State Conservation Area, home to some of the very best Newcastle hikes and walks. Near the top of this list is the excellent Yuelarbah Walking Track, which sits about 10km southwest of the Newcastle CBD.
This 6.8km return hike is part of the enormous, 250km Great North Walk. On this humble section of the iconic trek you'll enjoy a wonderful collection of natural beauty, from creeks and rainforests to waterfalls and, at the end, a piece of the glorious Newcastle coastline from which you can hop in for a cooling dip. The Leichhardt Lookout and its view of the Glenrock Lagoon are a highlight in all senses of the word.
While not terribly taxing, this Grade 3 outdoor adventure is probably better suited for those who like their hikes to be a shade on the challenging side. Make sure you're rocking some boots or other solid footwear and a day pack with some water and snacks (and your swimmers!) so you can get the most out of your day on the trails.
- Parking? Yes, at Yuelarbah car park
- Distance: Just under 7km return
- Difficulty: Moderate
ANZAC Memorial Walk
A short but incredibly rewarding stretch that honours the city's heritage and thousands of brave ANZACs
Built in 2015 to honour the 100-year anniversary of Gallipoli and Newcastle's history as a vital steel production centre, the ANZAC Memorial Walk is a gorgeous boardwalk that honours a momentous history, and offer views of the city and the Tasman Sea.
Start at the top at the Strzelecki Lookout and walk over the 160m clifftop bridge. You'll see steel silhouettes of soldiers on each side of you, with thousands of names soldiers from the Hunter region who fought in WWI. While short in distance, this walk is deep in meaning and worth your time, whether you visit it on its own or roll it into your journey on the Bathers Way Walk.
Similar in sentiment to the ANZAC Memorial Walk is the Newcastle at War walk, a route that's been put together by the city of Newcastle to give walkers a peek into how battles at home and abroad shaped this proud city. Spanning about 4.5km of Newcastle East, it includes forts, museums, libraries and other locales full of primary documents and subject matter experts that can transport you back in time. Pick and choose from the 12 planned stops on the walk, or visit them all for an incredible, eye-opening experience.
- Parking? Yes at the top of the hill near Strzelecki Lookout (limited) or at Bar Beach and King Edward Park car parks.
- Distance: About 450m
- Difficulty: Easy
Warners Bay Foreshore
Venture outside the city for a stroll around part of the massive Lake Macquarie
While covering the entire perimeter of the 110 square kilometer Lake Macquarie would take days, you can get a taste of one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Southern Hemisphere courtesy of this much more manageable 9km (one way) walk that connects Eleebana on the lake's northeast and Booragul on the lake's northwest.
While the sprawling lake to your left is lovely in its own right, there's plenty of other eye candy dotting the landscape as you make your way around in the form of amazing art from local creators. It's the fruit of the Creative LAKE initiative that was launched a few years ago. As with many of these great Newcastle hikes and walks, there are plenty of opportunities to grab a coffee and a snack on the way, and there are several parks at which you can stop if the kids get tired of staying on the walkway.
Drive around 30min (19km) southwest of Newcastle on the Pacific Highway/A43. You can begin your trip at either endpoint, but we suggest starting in Eleebana. You can park there at Lions Park and set off.
- Parking? Yes, at Lions Park car park in Eleebana
- Distance: About 9km
- Difficulty: Easy