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The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and includes most of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.
Located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north-northeast of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, exporting 154.45 million tonnes of coal in 2013–14. Beyond the city, the Hunter Region possesses large coal deposits. Geologically, the area is located in the central-eastern part of the Sydney basin.
|TIME ZONE :|| AEST (UTC+10)|
• Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
|AREA :||261.8 km2 (101.1 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||9 m (30 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||32°55′S 151°45′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49,80%|
• Female: 50,20%
|AREA CODE :||2|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+61 2|
Newcastle is at the mouth of the Hunter River, approximately 150 km north of Sydney in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. The city is the focal point for the diverse Hunter region that encompasses beaches and mountains, restaurants and wineries.
Newcastle is a great place for surfers, wine buffs, bush walkers, and anyone interested in Australian history. The second largest city in the state of NSW and sixth largest in Australia, Newcastle city had a population of 153,000 and the suburban area of over 500,000. Similar to its English namesake, Newcastle was an important centre for the coal mining and iron ore industries. Newcastle is Australia's oldest sea port, currently the second most important in the country in terms of overall tonnage, and significant for coal exports.
Many Novocastrians take an avid interest in sports, as participants, spectators or both. The local NRL Rugby League team, the Newcastle Knights are widely followed. Newcastle also hosts soccer, baseball, ice hockey, netball and various other sporting teams. Hunter New England Health and The University of Newcastle are the city's primary employers.
To the north is Stockton beach with miles and miles of uninhabited beaches that stretch up to Nelson bay. The wreck of the Signa can be seen from Fort Scratchley, which was Newcastle's maritime defence during the world wars. Travel westward to the wineries and taste some of Australia's best wines. Barrington Tops National Park in the north west has beautiful fresh water rivers and rain forests, a good place to spot a platypus.
- Newcastle Visitor Information Centre, Honeysuckle Wharf, , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-3PM.
Newcastle and the lower Hunter Region were traditionally occupied by the Awabakal and Worimi Aboriginal People, who called the area Malubimba.
Founding and settlement by Europeans
In September 1797 Lieutenant John Shortland became the first European to explore the area. His discovery of the area was largely accidental; as he had been sent in search of a number of convicts who had seized HMS Cumberland as she was sailing from Sydney Cove. While returning, Lt. Shortland entered what he later described as "a very fine river", which he named after New South Wales' Governor John Hunter. He returned with reports of the deep-water port and the area's abundant coal. Over the next two years, coal mined from the area was the New South Wales colony's first export.
Newcastle gained a reputation as a "hellhole" as it was a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes. By the start of the 19th century the mouth of the Hunter River was being visited by diverse groups of men, including coal diggers, timber-cutters, and more escaped convicts. Philip Gidley King, the Governor of New South Wales from 1800, decided on a more positive approach to exploit the now obvious natural resources of the Hunter Valley. In 1801, a convict camp called King's Town (named after Governor King) was established to mine coal and cut timber. In the same year, the first shipment of coal was dispatched to Sydney. This settlement closed less than a year later.
A settlement was again attempted in 1804, as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts. The settlement was named Coal River, also Kingstown and then renamed Newcastle, after England's famous coal port. The name first appeared by the commission issued by Governor King on 15 March 1804 to Lieutenant Charles Menzies of the marine detachmenton HMS Calcutta, then at Port Jackson, appointing him superintendent of the new settlement. The new settlement, comprising convicts and a military guard, arrived at the Hunter River on 27 March 1804 in three ships: HMS Lady Nelson, the Resourceand the James. The convicts were rebels from the 1804 Castle Hill convict rebellion. The link with Newcastle upon Tyne, England its namesake and also whence many of the 19th century coal miners came, is still obvious in some of the place-names – such as Jesmond, Hexham,Wickham, Wallsend and Gateshead. Morpeth, New South Wales is a similar distance north of Newcastle as Morpeth, Northumberland is north of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Under Captain James Wallis, commandant from 1815 to 1818, the convicts' conditions improved, and a building boom began. Captain Wallis laid out the streets of the town, built the first church of the site of the present Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, erected the old gaol on the seashore, and began work on the breakwater which now joins Nobbys Head to the mainland. The quality of these first buildings was poor, and only (a much reinforced) breakwater survives. During this period, in 1816, the oldest public school in Australia was built in East Newcastle.
Newcastle remained a penal settlement until 1822, when the settlement was opened up to farming. As a penal colony, the military rule was harsh, especially at Limeburners' Bay, on the inner side of Stockton peninsula. There, convicts were sent to burn oyster shells for making lime. Military rule in Newcastle ended in 1823. Prisoner numbers were reduced to 100 (most of these were employed on the building of the breakwater), and the remaining 900 were sent to Port Macquarie.
Civilian government and onwards
After removal of the last convicts in 1823, the town was freed from the infamous influence of the penal law. It began to acquire the aspect of a typical Australian pioneer settlement, and a steady flow of free settlers poured into the hinterland.
The formation during the nineteenth century of the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company saw the establishment of regular steamship services from Morpeth and Newcastle with Sydney. The company had a fleet of freighters as well as several fast passenger vessels, including the PSNewcastle and the PS Namoi. TheNamoi had first-class cabins with the latest facilities.
Because of the coal supply, small ships plied between Newcastle and Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, carrying coal to gas works and bunkers for shipping, and railways. These were commonly known as "sixty-milers", referring to the nautical journey between Newcastle and Sydney. These ships continued in service until recent times.
1920s to present
During World War II, Newcastle was an important industrial centre for the Australian war effort. In the early hours of 8 June 1942, the Japanese submarine I-21 briefly shelled Newcastle. Among the areas hit within the city were dockyards, the steel works, Parnell Place in the city's East End, the breakwall and Art Deco ocean baths. There were no casualties in the attack and damage was minimal.The Port of Newcastle remains the economic and trade centre for the resource rich Hunter Valley and for much of the north and northwest of New South Wales. Newcastle is the world's largest coal export port and Australia's oldest and second largest tonnage throughput port, with over 3,000 shipping movements handling cargo of 95.8 Mt per annum, of which coal exports represented 90.8 Mt in 2008–09. The volume of coal exported, and attempts to increase coal exports, are opposed by environmental groups.
Newcastle had a shipbuilding industry with the Walsh Island Dockyard and Engineering Works, State Dockyardand Forgacs Shipyard. In recent years the only major ship-construction contract awarded to the area was the construction of the Huon-class minehunters. The era of extensive heavy industry passed when the steel works closed in 1999. Many of the remaining manufacturing industries have located themselves well away from the city itself.
Newcastle has one of the oldest theatre districts in Australia. Victoria Theatre on Perkins Street is the oldest purpose-built theatre in the country. The theatre district that occupied the area around what is now the Hunter Street Mall vanished during the 1940s. The old city centre has seen some new apartments and hotels built in recent years, but the rate of commercial and retail occupation remains low while alternate suburban centres have become more important. The CBD itself is shifting to the west, towards the major urban renewal area known as "Honeysuckle". This renewal, to run for another 10 years, is a major part of arresting the shift of business and residents to the suburbs. Commercial renewal has been accompanied by cultural renaissance. There is a vibrant arts scene in the city including a highly regarded art gallery, and an active Hunter Writers' Centre Recent fictional representations (for example Antoinette Eklund's 'Steel River') present a new vision of the city, using the city's historic past as a backdrop for contemporary fiction.
The old central business district, located at Newcastle's eastern end, still has a considerable number of historic buildings, dominated by Christ Church Cathedral, seat of the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle. Other noteworthy buildings include Fort Scratchley, the Ocean Baths, the oldCustoms House, the 1920s City Hall, the 1890s Longworth Institute (once regarded as the finest building in the colony) and the 1930s art decoUniversity House (formerly NESCA House, seen in the film Superman Returns).
Newcastle has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), typical to the Australian east coast. Summers tend to be warm and at times humid, winters are generally mild. Precipitation is heaviest in late autumn and early winter.
Climate data for Newcastle
|Record high °C (°F)||42.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||25.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||19.2|
|Record low °C (°F)||12.0|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Newcastle is on the southern bank of the Hunter River mouth. The northern side is dominated by sand dunes, swamps and multiple river channels. A "green belt" protecting plant and wildlife flanks the city from the west (Watagan mountains) around to the north where it meets the coast just north of Stockton. Urban development is mainly restricted to the hilly southern bank. The small town of Stockton sits opposite central Newcastle at the river mouth and is linked by ferry. Road access between Stockton and central Newcastle is via the Stockton Bridge, a distance of 20 km (12 mi). Much of the city is undercut by the coal measures of the Sydney sedimentary basin, and what were once numerous coal-mining villages located in the hills and valleys around the port have merged into a single urban area extending southwards to Lake Macquarie.
19th and early 20th centuries
Coal mining began in earnest on 3 May 1833 when the Australian Agricultural Company received land grants at Newcastle plus a 31-year monopoly on that town's coal traffic. Other collieries were within a 16 km (10 mi) radius of the town. Principal coal mines were located at Stockton, Tighes Hill, Carrington and the Newcastle Coal and Copper Company's collieries at Merewether (includes the Glebe), Wallsend and the Waratah collieries. All operations had closed by the early 1960s.
On 10 December 1831 the Australian Agricultural Company officially opened Australia's first railway, at the intersection of Brown & Church Streets, Newcastle. Privately owned and operated to service the A Pit coal mine, it was a cast-iron fishbelly rail on an inclined plane as a gravitational railway.
In the 1850s, a major copper smelting works was established at Burwood, near Merewether. An engraving of this appeared in the Illustrated London News on 11 February 1854. The English and Australian Copper Company built another substantial works at Broadmeadow circa 1890, and in that decade the Cockle Creek Smelter was built.
The largest factory of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere was constructed in 1885, on a 8.9 ha (22-acre) site between the suburbs of Tighes Hill and Port Waratah, by Charles Upfold, from London, for his Sydney Soap and Candle Company, to replace a smaller factory in Wickham. Their soap products won 17 medals at International Exhibitions. At the Sydney International Exhibition they won a bronze medal "against all-comers from every part of the world", the only first prize awarded for soap and candles. Following World War I the company was sold to Messrs Lever & Kitchen (today Unilever), and the factory closed in the mid-1930s.
In 1911, BHP chose the city as the site for its steelworks due to the abundance of coal. The land put aside was prime real estate, on the southern edge of the harbour. In 1915, the BHP steelworks opened, beginning a period of some 80 years dominating the steel works and heavy industry. As Mayfield and the suburbs surrounding the steelworks declined in popularity because of pollution, the steelworks thrived, becoming the region's largest employer.
Economic decline, increase in unemployment and return to stability
Newcastle as a traditional area of heavy industry was not immune from the effects of economic downturns since the 1970s. These downturns were particularly hard hitting for heavy industry which was particularly prevalent in Newcastle. The early 1990s recession caused significant job losses across Australia and the Newcastle LGA experienced a peak unemployment rate of 17% in February 1993, compared to 12.1% in NSW and 11.9% across Australia. As Australia recovered from the early 1990s recession, the economy of Newcastle did too and the jobless rate rapidly fell. However, it consistently remained above that of NSW.
In 1999, the steelworks closed after 84 years operation and had employed about 50,000 in its existence, many for decades. The closure of the BHP steelworks occurred at a time of strong economic expansion in Australia. At the time of the closure and since the closure Newcastle experienced a significant amount of economic diversification which has strengthened the local economy. Despite this, the closure caused a deterioration of the employment situation in Newcastle where the unemployment rate rose rapidly to almost 12% from under 9% at the previous trough just prior to the closure.
Since 2003, Australia experienced the effects of the 2000s commodities boom as commodities prices for major export good such as coal and iron ore rose significantly. This provided a large incentive for investment in the Newcastle and Hunter region due to its status as a major coal mining and export hub to Asian markets. Large projects related to the coal industry helped to propel the Newcastle unemployment rate to 20 year lows and allow the Newcastle region to weather the effects of the late 2000s recession better than NSW as a whole. As of 2009 the two largest single employers are the Hunter New England Area Health Service and the University of Newcastle. The National Stock Exchange of Australia(formerly Newcastle Stock Exchange) is based in the city.
Prices in Newcastle
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$5.00|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$12.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$31.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$61.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$80.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$5.30|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$5.20|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$9.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$15.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.16|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$4.42|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$67.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$40.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$100.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$|
79 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
238 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
The Newcastle area is a one hour drive north of Sydney on the M1 Motorway which starts at Wahroonga (close to Hornsby) on the Upper North Shore. The freeway is in mostly good condition, although the stretch before Newcastle itself is surprisingly cracked for a modern freeway. A large number of people commute to Sydney daily from the Central Coast and even Newcastle, northbound travellers during the evening peak (5PM to 7PM) will encounter high speed and heavy traffic between Wahroonga and the Central Coast, with traffic easing off further north. The reverse applies to southbound traffic during the morning commute.
The M1 is on the Western side of Lake Macquarie. To travel up the Eastern side of Lake Macquarie (through Swansea) then take the "Charlestown" exit on the M1. This route is more scenic, more hilly, and less congested (though it takes a few minutes longer). If you follow this route you will eventually come to the "Charlestown Bypass" at Bennett's Green which you can take if you wish to head north-west (towards Lambton). Otherwise veer right to keep following the Pacific Highway until you reach Charlestown and then follow the signs to the city.
Traffic during holiday periods and long weekends is also affected, with heavy northbound traffic at the beginning of the period as Sydneysiders flee the city for the weekend, and heavy southbound traffic as they return.
Sydney's Central, Strathfield, Epping and Hornsby stations have regular trains to Hamilton Station via the Central Coast. Travelling time varies between 2 to 3 hours. This line uses the NSW Opal card (the same as in Sydney) and trips to/from Sydney are quite comfortable and cheap at $8.30 peak and $5.81 off-peak. This trip is included in the $2.50 fare cap on Sundays.
There is an additional train service from Hamilton Station to various Hunter towns such as Maitland. Check the Sydney Trains website for trackwork along the Central Coast & Newcastle Line; when these occur, buses replace trains between stations and can add an hour to the trip.
From January 2015 the regular train service to Newcastle no longer travels to the city centre, and terminates along Beaumont Street at Hamilton Station. Free shuttle buses transfer passengers the remaining 5km to the city centre, until a new Newcastle light rail is planned and constructed. These buses do not carry as large objects like bicycles or surfboards.
Several NSW Trainlink regional services pass through Newcastle's Broadmeadow Station (approximately 5 km from the CBD) daily from Sydney and the Central Coast to the south and from the Northern Rivers and New England. These trains are more expensive than intercity services and tickets must be booked in advance, but they are somewhat more comfortable and are also faster. Occasionally NSW Trainlink discount tickets offer discounts, and $1 fares for kids, so it may be worthwhile checking their fares.
- Busways, 36-38 Stroud Street, Bulahdelah, , e-mail: [email protected]. M-Su 8AM-5PM. Operates services that run to Newcastle from Taree and to Newcastle from Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens, north of Port Stephens.
- Greyhound, 1300 473 946 (local rate call), fax: .M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa-Su 8AM-4PM. Newcastle from Sydney direct twice daily, Newcastle from Brisbane three times daily with many stops along the Pacific Highway.
- Port Stephens Coaches, . provides daily services from Port Stephens and Williamtown airport to Newcastle Railway Station.
The region has a dedicated airport Newcastle Airport (Williamtown) served by a number of domestic airlines.
Jetstar has direct connections to Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne.Virgin Australia connects Brisbane and Melbourne. QantasLink flies toBrisbane. Rex flies to Sydney and Sydney and Ballina.
Flying may not the be fastest way to travel such a short distance as Sydney to Newcastle, especially since there are only a handful of flights every day. However, the flight is particularly scenic, especially on a fine day, as there are stunning views of the northern beaches between Sydney and Newcastle. It can be well worth finding an excuse to fly if the cost is not an issue.
If flying into Sydney Airport, then take the train to Sydney Central station, and then change to any express train to Newcastle. The entire journey will be around 3 hours.
Transportation - Get Around
The actual city centre itself is fairly walkable. With the current construction works for a new light rail lasting until 2017, public buses are the best way to get around Newcastle city. The Sydney Opal card is used here, and used in exactly the same way. The shopping centres, John Hunter Hospital and the university are served by several bus lines.
Google Maps works for transit in Newcastle, as do several 3rd party smartphone apps that Transport NSW recommend.
There are taxis available, although you will likely need to call for one. Hamilton station has a Taxi rank which often has a few taxis waiting for the Sydney train. Uber may not have any drivers here, and GoCatch has just a handful. Newcastle Taxi Co-operative can be reached under 131008.
There is a single ferry service between Queens Wharf and Stockton Wharf, costing $2.40 each way, also using Opal cards.
Riding a bicycle is possible, and infrastructure is slowly being built, but takes some time to discover. Select areas around Wickham, Islington, and along Honeysuckle Drive have some infrastructure, quiet streets, a gentle terrain along waterways that can be quite pleasant to ride through. Other areas which have some infrastructure are around Adamstown and Kotara Shopping Centre. It is possible to ride to & in the surroundings of the John Hunter Hospital, University of Newcastle but these are up significant gradients. Even so, much riding will occur on roads shared with motor vehicles.
- Europcar, 66 Hannell St, Wickham, . Closest rental outlet to city centre and also has an outlet at the airport.
- Budget, 107 Tudor St, Hamilton, . Bit further out from the CBD (not far from the Broadmeadow Train Station) and also has an airport outlet.
- Thrifty Car Rental, 272 Pacific Hwy, Charlestown NSW 2290, , e-mail: [email protected]. Located on the Pacific Highway
- Newcastle Car & Truck Rental, 851 Hunter Street, Hamilton, NSW(Cnr Hunter & Selma Streets), . All sorts of vehicles to hire for all sorts of uses
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- For locally made clothing with a quirky, hip look, try High Tea with Mrs Woo, 74 Darby Street, Cooks Hill, . Darby Street is also a good place to browse in the boutiques, although the options here aren't cheap.
- Retro/Second-hand clothing: Newcastle has a range of interesting second-hand stores. some of which are priced very competitively when compared with their Sydney counterparts.
- Patsan Dance Music Specialist, 301 Hunter Street, .
- Newcastle City Farmers Market, Newcastle Showground, Brown Road, Broadmeadow (Close to Broadmeadow Train Station), .8AM-1PM (most Sundays).
- Hunter Street Markets, Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle, . Every Th-Sa 9AM-3PM. Also runs whenever a cruise ship is in town.
Most of the city's restaurants and cafés can be found along three main eatery strips: Honeysuckle Drive in Honeysuckle, Darby Street in Cooks Hill and Beaumont Street in Hamilton.
- Asa-Don, 179 King Street, Newcastle, .
- Civic Lunch Delights, 389 Hunter Street, Newcastle, .
- Darby Street Take Away, 98 Darby St Cooks Hill, . A real value-for-money greasy spoon/sandwich bar. The "international burgers" ($6.50) are recommended.
- Hooi's Recipe, Shop 1 55 Joslin Street Kotara, NSW, .Excellent place for Malaysian, Chinese and Thai food. Price is reasonable and good service too. There's noodle special ($9.50) for dinner on Sunday till Thurs. A place that is highly recommended.
- House of Peking. (Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond) is excellent value for Yum Cha (lunch and dinner, typically $10-$15/head).
- Pide Fez, 126 Darby Street, Cooks Hill, .
- Benjamas, 100 Darby Street, Cooks Hill, . Thai cuisine
- Bocados, 25 King Street, Newcastle, . Spanish cuisine
- Delucas Pizza, 159B Darby Street, Cooks Hill, . Italian classics
- Oma's Kitchen, 16 Watt Street, Newcastle, . Bavarian German style cafe, with authentic dishes such as Bavarian sausages, pork knuckle and lebekaese at somewhat high prices. Real German beer available.$25+ for mains.
- Moor, 33 Hunter Street, Newcastle East, , e-mail:[email protected]. North African and Spanish dishes
Coffe & Drink
There are numerous options along Beaumont St in Hamilton and Darby St in Cooks Hill. At Three Monkeys (Darby St Cooks Hill) coffee can be ordered by the bowl. Euro Patisserie, 68 Orchardtown Rd, New Lambton, tel: 4957 7188, is deservedly popular for their award-winning cakes and pastries.
- Goldbergs, 137 Darby St, Cooks Hill. A busy Darby St stalwart, offers large meals and a good location for people-watching.
- Long Bench Café, Darby St, Cooks Hill. Open until late.
- Rolador. Hamilton Train Station Carpark.
- Suspension Espresso, 3 Beaumont Street, Islington NSW 2296 (Turn right out of Hamilton Station and walk about 2 minutes down Beaumont Street), . 06:00 - 17:00. Very good coffee near Hamilton Station. Great for waiting for the train back to Sydney. Coffees $4, Mains $10+.
- Blue Door Cafe, 364 Hunter Street, Newcastle. 2300 (Just off Wheeler Place). Takeaway 6am until 3pm, Dine in 7am until 2.30pm. Right in the heart of the Civic precinct. Serves fresh, simple dishes and of course, Coffee. 15-25$ per food item, <10$ for drinks.
- Dark Horse Espresso, 20-24 Greenway Street, Wickham, .Funky little cafe connected to a furniture shop in an industrial area, serving Campos coffee.
- Glee Coffee Roasters, 155 Darby Street, Cooks Hill, .
- One Penny Black, Corner Hunter and Morgan Streets, , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 7AM-5PM, Sa-Su 7AM-4PM.
- Suspension Espresso, 3 Beaumont Street, Islington, .
Sights & Landmarks
- Christ Church Cathedral.See Newcastle's Cathedral. Tour the inside, with a guided map.
- Heritage architecture. in and around the city. Notable buildings in the CBD area include the courthouse (top of Bolton St), former Customs House, Newcastle Railway Station, and Post Office (cnr of Hunter St and Bolton St).
- Nobbys Head. Nobbys island is connected to the mainland by a pier built using convict labour (completed in 1846). The pier is accessible to pedestrians, and is flanked by Nobbys Beach. It provides an excellent vantage point to take in views of the harbour and Stockton Beach across the water.
- Queen's Wharf Tower. Suggested as resembling a large phallic symbol but has great views across the city.
Parks and gardens
- The foreshore. Large grassed open spaces on the old goods marshalling yards at the eastern end with playground equipment for children. Bars, cafes and restaurants overlooking the harbour starting from Queens Wharf where live music can be listened to on the outdoor area over the water (Hunter River)but very little grassed areas.
- King Edward Park. A great place for a picnic or a BBQ. Nice views of the ocean.
- Mount Sugarloaf lookout, West Wallsend NSW 2286.
Museums & Galleries
- Newcastle Museum, Workshop Way, . T-Su 10AM-5PM. Opened in 2011, this museum is spread across three historic railway workshop buildings with permanent exhibitions on local history, the BHP steelworks and coal mining, and interactive science. Free.
- Fort Scratchley, Nobbys Rd, . W-M 10AM-4PM. A historic site which now houses a military museum. The fort defended Newcastle in 1942 when a Japanese submarine surfaced shelling the city. Fort Scratchley has recently been refurbished and is open to the public, great views to the north and over the city are a highlight as well as the history. Just east of the fort is Newcastle ocean baths a great place to swim and meet some local characters.
- The Lock Up Cultural Centre, 90 Hunter St, . W-Th 10AM-4PM, F-Su 10AM-5PM. Incoporates a Police Museum and the John Paynter Gallery, which hosts resident artists all year round. Gold coin entry.
- The Maritime Centre, 3 Honeysuckle Dr, . T-Su 10AM-4PM. $10.
- Newcastle Art Gallery, 1 Laman St, , e-mail:[email protected]. T-Su 10AM-5PM. Well worth a visit. The gallery houses a high quality collection of works by Australian artists and also stages its own and travelling exhibitions. Free.
- Miss Porter's House, 434 King Street, Newcastle West NSW 2302, , e-mail: [email protected]. 1pm-4pm second Sunday of each month. Built by the Porters in 1909, the family lived in this freestanding Edwardian terrace until 1997, when they left it to the National Trust with all its contents intact. It is now a living snapshot of pre-1950s life in Newcastle. Miss Porter’s House is a living home, offering you today, a rare and privileged visit into other lives and other times. Built in 1909 by Herbert Porter, the terrace was home to the Porter family until 1997. The property was left to the National Trust by Miss Hazel Porter with its contents intact, providing today’s visitors with a vivid experience of the twentieth century inner-city life in Newcastle. Miss Porter’s House is filled with 1909-1940 furnishings and personal items which tell the story of the family over more than a century.Adults $8; Concession $6.
Things to do
- ANZAC Walk, 43 High St, The Hill NSW 2300. A short bridge connecting Strzelecki lookout with Bar Beach along the ridgeline, honouring the ANZACs who fought in WWI. free.
- Hunter Wetlands Centre, Wallsend Rd, Sandgate, .9AM-5PM. A regenerated 45 hectare wetlands area adjacent to Hexham Swamp. There are walking trails, a bicycle trail, a canoe trail, picnic and barbecue facilities, and a visitors' centre.
- See some live music. The TE Guide provides weekly entertainment listings and appears in Wednesday's "Post" free newspaper and Thursday's Newcastle Herald in print and online. The online version is not always kept up to date, so it is best to get hold of a print copy. Alternately, look for Uturn streetpress, which is widely distributed to shops and libraries around town.
- Blackbutt Reserve. A 182ha reserve in suburban Newcastle. A natural bushland area which is full of native animals, picnic areas, wildlife exhibits, bushwalking trails, children's playgrounds. Don't miss the flying fox colony on the Rainforest trail. Main entrance is off Carnley Avenue, Kotara. Other entrances - Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights (on bus route) & Richley Reserve off Freyburg Street, New Lambton. On foot from Kotara train station, enter by the small trailhead opposite Grinsell Ave. on Carnley Ave., and stay to the right in the trail system to reach the info booth and animal displays at the Carnley Avenue entrance.
- Fernleigh Track. A 15.5 km long cycling/walking/running trail that starts in the Newcastle suburb of Adamstown and ends in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Belmont. It follows the remains of a railway line that used to run from Adamstown to Belmont down the coast.
- Newcastle Regional Library, Laman Street, Newcastle. A large local library which also hosts exhibitions. This Library is a stunning War Memorial in a unique setting and style. Note also the curious bikestands outside the front steps. The Local Studies Library on the second floor will answer most questions about Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. A small library well done.
- Bar Beach. Regarded by many as the best of a range of beaches that ring the city. Surfing and Kite surfing available.
- Nobbys Beach. One of the safer beaches to swim at, fairly close to the city and Newcastle train station.
- Newcastle Beach. Another good beach next the city centre.
No visit to Newcastle during the warmer months would be complete without taking a dip in the ocean baths. On sunny days you can sunbathe on the Grandstand on the Fort side of the Baths.
The baths are also open during the winter, for the more adventurous. The Newcastle baths are home to the "Newcastle Pirates", a winter swimming club not unlike the Icebergs or Polar Bears of other places.
- Newcastle Ocean Baths. Close to the city centre, these historic baths were opened in 1922.
- Merewether Ocean Baths. The largest ocean baths complex in the southern hemisphere. Free.
- The Bogey Hole. Carved out of the rock by convicts, this ocean pool at the bottom of King Edward Park is a great place for a relaxing dip.
Festivals and events
- Mattara Festival. A week long series of events that commences each year during the Labour Day long weekend in late September/early October. The Mattara festival notably includes the Mattara Hillclimb, a car race held in scenic King Edward Park. The festival also features a grand parade, concerts, family entertainment and market stalls.
- This Is Not Art Festival. Held in the same long weekend each year, and showcases the talents of young and emerging artists, writers, media makers and electronic musicians from around Australia.
- Surfest, e-mail: [email protected]. Australia's largest surfing contest and festival held at Merewether Beach. The event is held annually over 12 days from February 17th to February 22nd.
- Carols by Candlelight. Held each December in many of Newcastle's parks.
- Cultural Stomp, Civic Park. A one day celebration, bringing people together to celebrate the region's cultural diversity. Forums, panels, music, art, films, spoken word.
Bars and clubs
- Queens Wharf Brewery. On the foreshore. A popular spot for a drink. The pub sells its own beers and has harbour views. During the day and M and Tu nights the atmosphere is relaxed, whilst W-Su evenings can get very busy. There's also entertainment (generally DJs, top 40 cover bands, R&B soloists) on W-Su evenings. There is a large outdoor (beer garden style) area on a jetty over the river - great way to relax on a sunny day.
- Silo Lounge Bar. Located in the new Honeysuckle development on the Harbour. A drawcard is the selection of Belgian beers available.
- Northern Star Hotel, 112 Beaumont St, Hamilton, . An Irish pub in the middle of Hamilton's restaurant strip. The Northern Star regularly functions as a music venue - check the blackboard out the front to find out what's on.
- Kent Hotel, 59 Beaumont Street, Hamilton, . A busy pub on Hamilton's restaurant strip. Check out the popular trivia night (each Wednesday, starts at 7.30PM).
- Beach Hotel, Fredrick Street, Merewether. A Newcastle institution. The place to be on Sunday night is sitting on the front deck overlooking Merewether Beach at sunset with a locally brewed Bluetounge Beer.
- Gateway Hotel, Maitland Rd, Islington. The local establishment frequented by Newcastle's gay & lesbian community. The venue features a rotating mix of local and Sydney DJ's, special events, drag shows and feature performers, featuring a nightclub (Club G), main bar and bistro.
- Cambridge Hotel, 789 Hunter St, Newcastle West, .Newcastle's premier live venue plays host to the best national and international touring bands. Enjoy cheap drinks and great music while meeting friendly locals.
- The Clarendon Hotel, 347 Hunter St, . Voted best pub style accommodation in Australia in 2009, this venue is a great place to have a drink or a meal at their restaurant that offers good food at reasonable prices. They also host the Sundae Fundaze event several times a year with a number of world class dance music acts.
- MJ Finnegans Irish Pub, Cnr. Darby and King street. One of the most popular night spots on Friday and Saturday nights. Not really an Irish pub anymore.
Safety in Newcastle