Carrington is a charming little suburb in the City of Newcastle and sits within the land of the Awabakal people, who are the traditional custodians of the water and land. Carrington was formerly known as Chapman or Bullock Island, and a place of mud crab, fishing and oysters for the traditional peoples. European settlers reshaped the island in the early 1800s, which at the time sank below high tide, with ballast and reclamation work to create the land we see today.
Carrington was unique when it was first established in that it was a large tract of crown land close to the city and port not owned by large local corporations. This has created a unique place to live for what was once a working-class suburb for miners and steel workers with a great diversity of charming old buildings, parks, terraces and cottages with wide tree-lined streets. It’s just far enough out of the hustle and bustle of the busy port city but close enough to wander over and explore. For locals, it’s a great place to live and has a charm about it while retaining its connections to industry, and the port that is at its doorstep. Like many suburbs close to a city centre, it was once very gritty and had a fearsome reputation but is now highly sort after and a great place to spend a few hours exploring.
Start your day with naturally a coffee, essential to get things going. The small little town centre is easily to find and just a short distance over the bridge that crosses Throsby Creek. Café INU is popular with locals and has a quirky take on upcycling or try Groundup on Young Street. It chequered tiled frontage is easy to spot. There’s a few good spots for some thing to eat or for a later lunch like The Young Street Hotel or Franky’s Dumplings and Noodles.
The best way to explore Carrington is on foot or cycling, there are some must-see destinations and along the way. If you are after some exercise check out the Throsby Creek Walking Track, it’s popular with locals and park-runners and takes you through some of the mangroves and waterfront areas. It’s great on a lovely sunny day and a great way to take in a different view of Newcastle.
Make your way towards Bourke Street, up from the town centre to Carrington Pump House. This enormous heritage-listed sandstone building was built in 1878. This is a stunning building that can be seen for miles and is easy to spot from the Newcastle side of the port. The Pump House is in the grand Victorian style of public buildings and has been undergoing restorations inside and out. The forecourt is a public space with a fun interpretation of the blueprint of the pumping system that is now removed. The monumental scale of the building with the contrasting ground plane in bright blue and white is fun and fascinating. A great place for events, the Pump house is set to become something of a ‘Grounds of Alexandria’ vibe for Newcastle locals.
Head north along Bourke Street and you’ll run into The Criterion Hotel. A classic old pub serving local Apple Truck Cider along with Young Henry’s and Four Pillars Gins. It might be worth stopping in for a cheeky drink with the locals.
From the pub head on up to Darling Street and follow the signs to the Earp Distilling Co. This is a destination in and of itself and it might be worth booking a table ahead to make sure you don’t miss out. The local brothers produce some of the finest Australian Gins and often host events, live music, and regular Gin & Jazz evenings. This is a great place for a long lunch or a cheeky evening out and you must try at least one of their experiences. The tasting room, guided tours and Gin school and classes are well worth doing.
The Earp Bros are also well-known tile manufacturers, and you’ll see that in the fantastic fit-out and exterior of the building. It showcases some of their great products of another kind. Entering the Distillery, you can see production in action and the bar inside is a wall of great gins, both their own product and a nod to other great Gin being produced in Australia. The Gin Lounge is a great place to take a Gin Flight and try some of their own creations. The Barrel-Aged No. 8 Dry Gin is the bomb! Distilled in Hunter Valley Semillon Barrels it’s a true Australian Flavour that’s genuinely delicious. If you’re lucky they may still have some for sale in their signature ceramic bottles.
Worth noting, that they don’t just make gins but a variety of other spirits like their curated cask rums, vodka, absinthe and a great limoncello. The bar serves cocktails, beers and wines too. Grab yourself a Cheese and Charcuterie Board and settle in for an afternoon or evening.
What we love most about this whole experience is how uniquely Newcastle it is. Proudly local, with a great depth of character, history and scenic beauty. Carrington is worth a day trip or a day out. The locals know and love it and you’ll feel right at home.