Two hours north of Sydney you will discover the second largest city in New South Wales: Newcastle. Due to the location by the mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle is known as the gateway to the Hunter Valley, however, it has so much more to offer than that. The city is rich in culture and heritage, yet it has come a long way from its roots as a coal and steel town to transform into the modern, chic, lively city that it is today.
You won’t be short of things to do in Newcastle, however, one of the things it is best known for is stunning beaches. Relax on the sand or take advantage of the exciting waves and patrolled swimming areas. Explore the sensational coastline on Bathers Way, a scenic 5km coastal walk, learning about the city's history as you wander.
Indulge in Newcastle’s rich culture on guided or self-guided walking tours. The CBD is home to plenty of historic buildings. Take in Fort Scratchley, Newcastle Museum, and Newcastle Art Gallery, as well as plenty of architectural wonders. Get better acquainted with the local wildlife at Blackbutt Reserve and Hunter Wetlands, or take a whale-spotting cruise.
When the sun begins to fade, enjoy a fantastic meal at one of the many excellent waterside cafes, bars, and restaurants that line the foreshore. Be sure to check out Newcastle's vibrant events calendar before you book your trip – with regular concerts, markets, and sports events, there's something fun for everyone.
The Newcastle Memorial Walk is a scenic 450-metre cliff top bridge and boardwalk built in 2015 to commemorate 100 years since the ANZAC’s landing at Gallipoli, and the 100th anniversary of the steel industry beginning in Newcastle. Dedication to the steel industry is represented by the large amounts of steel used to manufacture the bridge. The walk is lined with steel soldiers, engraved with the names of thousands of locals who served in the First World War, and panels featuring fascinating information about the war. It’s a powerful commemoration to the war, and many people leave flowers by the names of their relatives.
Multiple lookouts and viewing platforms along the walk offer breathtaking 360-degree views of Newcastle, Hunter Valley, the pristine coastline, and the Pacific Ocean. Begin at picturesque Strzelecki Lookout, and end at Bar Beach by Bathers Way and Memorial Drive, where you may choose to continue your walk.
Previously a coastal defence installation, Fort Scratchley is now a fascinating interactive museum, and one of Newcastle’s most popular tourist attractions. Immerse yourself in Newcastle’s rich history with an array of historic buildings and installations, as well as five museum rooms preserving military heritage, and a network of underground tunnels. Explore the servant’s quarters, the laboratory, the mine firing station, and much more. Opt for a self-guided walk or a volunteer-led guided tour.
Not only is Fort Scratchley an excellent educational and cultural experience, but it also boasts one of the most spectacular views in the area. From this vantage point, you can soak up breathtaking views from the city to the coast and beyond. It's also a fantastic point to spot dolphins and whales from.
Refreshments and unique souvenirs can be purchased from the artillery store, and picnic tables are located on the grounds. Entry to the fort is free.
Located close to the CBD, Newcastle Beach is popular with locals and visitors alike. Newcastle is known for its beautiful beaches with excellent surfing and Newcastle Beach does not disappoint. Overlooked by high-rise buildings, this is a true city beach.
Take in the sensational scenery on a leisurely walk, catch a wave off Newcastle Point, or enjoy a swim in the sparkling ocean. The beach is patrolled during the summer months, making it a safe place to enjoy the water, and it is also home to Newcastle Surf Life Saving Club. Due to the flawless waves, this is a popular spot with surfers. Volleyball courts are also available for those who are feeling energetic. Buy lunch or snacks from the kiosk across the street to enjoy in the shaded picnic area, or make use of the proximity to the CBD and visit one of the many wonderful eateries close by.