The City of Newcastle within the Hunter region of NSW is widely known for its industrial past. The Newcastle of today is far more than this, with a thriving art and food culture, the city is buzzing and truly leaving its mark as one of Australia’s best cities to visit. Newcastle is home to over 487,000 residents making it the 7th most populated city in Australia, and second largest in NSW. The original custodians of the land are Awabakal and Worimi People
Heading to Newcastle could not be easier. With accessible roads from all around Greater Sydney, Newcastle makes for the perfect road trip. If flying is more your style, check out Fly Pelican, a locally based and regional airline. To start your day off, head into the urban heart of Newcastle, Darby Street. Dotted with hole in the wall cafes, street art and bursts of colour, Darby Street is buzzing throughout the day and night.
Starting at the South end of the street, grab yourself a coffee from Core Espresso. Serving Newcastle’s own ‘The Branches’ coffee, Core Espresso has positioned itself as one of the coolest café’s along the Darby Street strip. With an inviting courtyard out the back, grab a dine-in coffee and perhaps a pastry or treat from their supplier Sonoma.
If you are after a juice, continue down the street till you stumble upon the colourful masterpiece that is Juicy Records, a unique combination of a record store, juice bar and local hangout.
With records you can mix in-store from every era imaginable, freshly squeezed juices available, and turntables just waiting to be spun, Juicy Records is by far one of the most unique venues we have stumbled into and worth checking out.
Continuing up Darby Street, be sure to check out some of the brilliant architecture that lines the streets and take in the beauty of Newcastle’s network of streets and hidden pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Coming to the top of Darby Street, turn left and venture to The Newcastle Art Gallery. Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in March of 1977, the Art Gallery boasts a range of exhibitions and is nationally recognised as having one of the finest public collections in Australia. Sitting at the forefront of the gallery is an Egg in the Nest sculpture work by renowned Australian artist Brett Whitely.
From here, explore all the Civic Centre district of Newcastle has to offer. The impressive views and architecture within the city centre of Newcastle will be sure to leave you impressed.
If you are wanting to explore more of the History of Newcastle head up to Fort Scratchley in Newcastle East, the heritage precinct of Newcastle. With the cannons firing every day at 1 pm (except Tuesdays) keep an ear out for the echoing boom that can be heard around town.
Built in the 1880’s, the fort currently houses a history museum and is open to visitors. If time allows book yourself a Tunnel Tour and explore the historic site with a guide to walk you through. The views over Newcastle and down onto Nobby’s beach are a reason in and of itself to head up to the fort.
As the sun begins to set, we recommend taking a walk along Foreshore Park, onto Wharf Road passing by Queens Wharf with some great eateries and restaurants. Looking over the harbour gives you an appreciation for the industrial history that helped to bring Newcastle to where is it today. Walking this very lush and green route, you will pass by some amazing buildings including Customs House Hotel.
What was once the home of the Australian Custom Offices, the Customs House Hotel is a heritage building designed by James Barnet in 1877. Now housing a variety of dining areas and bars, the hotel is a staple Newcastle venue and needs to be experienced. The hotel is the perfect place to grab a wine and sit under the umbrellas at sunset looking across over the harbour and taking the views.
After building up an appetite, head back down to the Historic Precinct in Newcastle East for dinner. Scotties Seafood is all the best parts of Newcastle wrapped up into one venue. Set in a historic terrace house, the menu provides the best local seafood with wine pairings from the Hunter Valley. The menu has a wide selection of offerings as well as changing specials. The food is simple and focuses on flavour selections and pairings. The atmosphere is perfect for any occasion ranging from a casual dinner out, to a more romantic date night or dinner with friends. The wine list is second to none with a selection of Sparkling, Orange & Roses, Whites and Reds.
There is so much to see and do in Newcastle, and we have only merely scratched the surface. We will certainly be back to explore this city more. Accommodation wise, there is a whole range of accommodation options available. The Novotel at Newcastle Beach is located right in the heart of the city which makes for exploring all that bit easier and it’s a stones throw from another gem Newcastle Beach, with some great surf and epic views.