Newcastle History and Heritage

There’s a whole lot of history on display in Newcastle on the NSW North Coast – if you know where to look for it. Did you know it’s home to Australia’s only coastal fortification to fire upon a World War II enemy vessel? And that you can swim in a rock pool built by convicts? The city has a seriously interesting past.

The time gun fires at Fort Scratchley Historic Site, Newcastle, NSW

Aboriginal history

Newcastle’s history is many thousands of years old. Learn about the local indigenous people’s deep connections with the land on an Aboriginal cultural heritage tours. The Yamuloong Centre offers a bush tucker walk in beautiful native gardens, or join Sand Dune Adventures for a cultural quad bike tour to ancient Aboriginal campsites.

Newcastle's Famous Tram stops at Newcastle Beach, NSW

Colonial heritage

Colonists from Sydney arrived in the area in the 1790s in search of escaped convicts. In doing so, they discovered rich natural resources and a fine natural harbour and the rest, as they say, is history. Begin your discovery at the Newcastle Museum where historical exhibitions include the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.

A range of tours delve into the city’s European heritage. For military history and spectacular views, the Fort Scratchley Historic Site is a must-see. The guns here shot at a Japanese submarine attacking Newcastle during WWII in June 1942 - check out the fort’s intricate tunnel system on a tour.

Discover the heritage-listed Bogey Hole, a rock pool carved out by convicts in 1819 for the personal use of Major James Morisset. For maritime heritage, join Nova Cruises, Spitfire Pilot Boats or Newcastle Kayak Tours and explore the port. Or hop aboard a Nova riverboat to historic Morpeth, where the Arnott’s family biscuit dynasty began in 1847.

It’s easy to travel between the city’s historical attractions on the Newcastle Coastal Explorer and Newcastle’s Famous Tram. Both tours include a stop at the historic King Edward Park, a city reserve with breathtaking ocean views.


Newcastle Airport

Fly into Newcastle Airport

Newcastle Airport is only 25km from the city centre. Choose from a range of transport services on arrival, including car rental, limousine and door-to-door shuttle buses. Public buses operate from the airport to the city, Stockton Ferry Wharf, Nelson Bay, Greenhills and Raymond Terrace. There are also public transport options to the Hunter Valley. Please check the timetable.

Newcastle Airport offers direct flights to and from east coast cities and Adelaide.

Jetstar flies direct to and from Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane. QantasLink operates direct flights to and from Brisbane. Virgin Australia flies direct to and from Brisbane and Melbourne. Link Airways operates direct flights between Canberra and Newcastle three days a week. FlyPelican operates direct flights to and from Adelaide, Dubbo, Mudgee, Ballina-Byron Bay, Canberra and Sydney. Regional Express also flies to and from Sydney.

Discover Newcastle Historical Attractions