Just 2 hours north of Sydney in coastal New South Wales lies Newcastle. Packed full of great things to see and do, Newcastle is perfect for Sydney locals wanting a city escape or international travellers on an Australian road trip.
Whether you arrived in Newcastle this morning or drove down the night before, everyone knows you need a good coffee in order to start the day right. So park the car, grab your day bag and set off in search of caffeine and a tasty breakfast!
Newcastle is packed full of excellent hidden (and more well-known) cafes and coffee shops. We recommend stopping at Three Monkeys Café (a Newcastle institution) for a hearty breakfast or pop in to Good Brother Espresso if you want a coffee on-the-go.
Once you’re fuelled-up and ready to make a start on the day, head to Queens Warf Tower and jump on Newcastle’s Historic Tram. It’s a great way to discover the city and coastline, without tiring yourself out. If you feel like taking in the views from above, then brave the Christ Church Cathedral Climb and witness 360° views of the city.
After you’ve gotten yourself orientated, make your way to Fort Scratchley and uncover Newcastle’s rich history. A former coastal defence installation, Fort Scratchley is a must-see attraction for history lovers. Discover the amazing underground tunnels, check out the museum and exhibitions and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for whales out in the distance.
Afterwards, take a stroll from Fort Scratchley along the Breakwall of Nobby’s Beach, up to Nobbys Lighthouse (which is still a functioning lighthouse). From here you can enjoy excellent views of Newcastle, Stockton and the Hunter River.
If you feel like a longer walk, then the ANZAC Memorial Walk is perfect for you. With the choice of two parts (450m or 6kms), you’ll get excellent ocean views while learning about the local men and women who served in the First World War.
Once you’ve well-and-truly worked up an appetite, it’s time to sit back and watch the evening roll in at one of Newcastle’s excellent beach bars and restaurants. Try Merewether Surfhouse for delicious pizzas and swanky cocktails or The Beach Hotel for casual dining with plenty of beers on tap.
Day two – and it’s time to hit the water (so be sure to bring your bathers). But first… breakfast! Make your way to Ground Up Espresso for a great brew and a tasty breakfast. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see a brightly-coloured Tetris building. Or head towards the beach and visit Estabar. It’s a Newcastle favourite, with excellent ocean views and an all-day breakfast sure to fill everyone’s tummies. Try the blackfox crumpets or pesto and eggs on sourdough – yum!
After breakfast take a stroll down to Bogey Hole. This picture-perfect sea bath is heritage-listed and you’ll understand why once you’re there. Hand-built by convicts in 1819, Bogey Hole is worth the visit, even if it’s too chilly to swim. However, with big crashing waves making their way into the bath, it’s not a great place for swimming laps. Instead, head to Merewether Ocean Baths which are equally as beautiful and a lot more suitable for those looking to work out.
If it’s ‘inside weather’ then take a trip to the Lock Up. While a prison cell might not be the number one attraction on your list, the Lock Up is now converted into an incredible cultural and art hub. It’s one of the city’s most historically and culturally significant buildings and was built to support the Newcastle Police station in 1861. If you’re lucky, there might even be an exhibition on while you’re in town.
No visit to Newcastle is complete without visiting Blackbutt Reserve. This nature park is free and is open from 10am-5pm. With plenty of kangaroos, koalas, reptiles and native birds to be seen, it’s no wonder BlackButt Reserve is so well-loved by visitors. Be sure to check the schedule for daily feeding times and shows. You can also buy seeds and grains from the kiosk to feed the emus. Make sure you set aside a few hours for your visit, as you’re sure to spend the whole afternoon there.
After a long day exploring, it’s time to relax over a nice meal. If you’re looking for somewhere special to celebrate a great trip you can’t go past Subo. This is fine dining at its best, serving only a five-course seasonal menu. If you’re wanting some excellent seafood, then Scotties Seafood & Bar is the place to be. Serving-up Newcastle’s favourite fish and chips since 1950, this thoroughly modern restaurant is the perfect place to wrap-up your trip.
Looking for somewhere great to stay on your next weekend escape to Newcastle? Find the perfect accommodation for your holiday with Accor.
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