Whether you are visiting Newcastle or are a true blue Novocastrian, there is something in the region for everyone to enjoy.
Let this list be your guide of things to do in Newcastle.
On a hot summer day, take a trip to one of the many beaches in the area to swim, surf, or even just take a stroll. Along Newcastle’s iconic coastline, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Take your pick between Nobbys Beach, Newcastle Beach, Bar Beach, Dixon Beach and Merewether Beach.
To escape the waves, visit the Newcastle Baths, Merewether Ocean Baths or the Bogey Hole. Spread out along the coastline, each bath provides scenic views of Newcastle. The Bogey Hole, located within King Edward Park, is a tourist favourite and is a heritage-listed site built in the 1800s.
Eat and Drink
Cafes and Restaurants
Newcastle has a lively food scene with strips of cafes and restaurants such as Darby Street in Cooks Hill and Beaumont Street in Hamilton. Local favourites include Autumn Rooms, Talulah and Mockingbird. Locals are passionate about their coffee, read our guide to the best coffee in the area.
Bars and Breweries
The area has numerous bars and breweries that are locally-owned and operated. There are plenty of options to taste locally-crafted beer such as Modus Brewery, Foghorn Brewery and The Grain Store. Track down a secret cocktail bar such as The Koutetsu or go to local favourite cocktail bars such as Bartholomew’s and Five Sawyers.
Walks and Hikes
Yuelarbah Trail, Glenrock
Located in the Glenrock State Conservation Area, Yuelarbrah trail is 6.8km return and passes through wet gullies and coastal rainforests where you finish at Glenrock Beach. This trail has a few short, steep hills and will take you about 2-3 hours to complete.
The Bathers Way Coastal Walk
A local favourite, The Bathers Way coastal walk begins at Nobbys Beach and stretches 6km, finishing at Merewether Ocean Baths. On top of the breathtaking view of Newcastle’s coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee, bite to eat, or swim along the way. The complete coastal walk takes approximately 3 hours and can be completed in individual sections.
Newcastle Memorial Walk
Within The Bathers Way, the Newcastle memorial walk begins at Strzelecki Lookout and has astonishing cliff views looking towards Bar Beach. Take a literal walk down memory lane as it resembles the century of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. If you are looking for a short stroll, this 450m walkway is perfect.
Read more about walks in the region here.
The Nobbys Breakwall extends past Nobbys Lighthouse and is approximately 1km each way. This iconic walk is placed alongside the harbour and the coastline of the beaches so everywhere you look you can take in beautiful scenery. On weekends, the lighthouse is opened to the public and you can walk around the historical site.
Learn about the history of Newcastle
Located in Newcastle East, Fort Scratchley was previously a coastal defence installation built in the 1880s. Now a historic museum, take a walk around the site, or take a guided tour through the tunnels of the fort.
On a rainy day, visit the Museum in the CBD to see a showcase of Newcastle’s history through free exhibits such as steel production of the city. Learn about the rich history of the city through a collection of artefacts and memorabilia stored in the museum.
Christ Church Cathedral
Located in the CBD, the Christ Church Cathedral is a significant landmark to Newcastle’s history. Alongside having regular Anglican Church services, it is a popular tourist attraction where guided tours display the architecture, history, and art of the cathedral.
Take a picnic
Newcastle has plenty of scenic grassy spots to sit down with friends or family to have a picnic. Lay down a picnic mat and enjoy some food in one of these locations and take in Newcastle’s beautiful scenes!
King Edward Park
King Edward Park, located in the heart of the CBD has spectacular ocean views and luscious gardens combined with the historic value the park holds. Forgot a picnic blanket? The park has numerous picnic tables placed all throughout its location.
Hickson Street Lookout
Located in Merewether, Hickson Street Lookout is a hidden gem that provides panoramic views of Burwood Beach all the way into the Glenrock Conservation Area, and Awabakal Nature Reserve. Walk through a short bush track and you will find yourself secluded in the landscaped lawn area.
Below the Bar Beach Carpark, is a large grass area that is often populated with picnickers on the weekends at sunset. Forgot your picnic snacks? There are plenty of food options near Bar Beach including the Darby Street strip, and The Junction.
Hit the shops
Westfield Kotara & Charlestown Square
Find everything you need from fashion, groceries, entertainment to restaurants, in Newcastle’s two largest shopping centres. Between the two shopping centres, Novocastrians have access to large shopping retailers such as Myer, David Jones and H&M.
Darby Street in Cooks Hill is home to local fashion boutiques, homewares & decor, vintage shopping, and speciality stores. Pick up unique and locally-made pieces as you stroll door-to-door down the street.
Newcastle hosts several markets every weekend to find local produce, handmade crafts, and second-hand items. The Olive Tree Market is on the first Saturday of each month in Civic Park. Made and Found, in Webb Park, Redhead is held every second Sunday of the month. Homegrown Markets at Speers Point is the largest market in Lake Macquarie and is held twice a month at Speers Point Park.
Take a day trip
Venture out of Newcastle for the day and visit the surrounding regions.
Drive 45 minutes west of Newcastle, and you will find yourself immersed in the picture-perfect vineyards in the Hunter Valley Region. Well-known for being ‘Wine Country’, the Hunter Valley offers something for all ages. While the adults can indulge in gourmet food and wine, the kids can visit the Hunter Valley Gardens and enjoy all the fun activities they have on offer.
Just under 2 hours north-west of Newcastle, visit the Barrington Tops and surrounding National Parks for your chance to see snow anywhere between May and August. The highest point of the region is the Barrington Tops National Park where it is most likely to see snow. When the weather heats up, take in the world heritage listed region through hikes in the National Park or take a scenic drive.
Discover the Port Stephens Region, only 45 minutes north-east of Newcastle. Hit the sand dunes at Stockton, walk the Mount Tomaree Summit, or take a stroll along Nelson Bay Marina.
Fancy a staycation? Add a dash of luxury to your life by booking yourself into Crystalbrook Kingsley. Housed in the city’s iconic former council administration building, this 5-star Newcastle hotel is steeped in history.
Merewether Beach House B&B
With two suites and a self-contained cottage, Merewether Beach House B and B is the ultimate Newcastle accommodation for couples and families. Located only 150 metres from Merewether Beach, it’s a must-try!
Quest Newcastle West
If you’re a bit of history buff, then book yourself in for a night at Quest Newcastle West. Originally built as a brewery, then subsequently turned into a museum, these self-serviced apartments offer a stunning alternative to a standard hotel room
The Lucky Hotel
If you’re looking for a good time and a comfortable stay, then The Lucky Hotel is the perfect accommodation for you. Housed in a unique and historic building, The Lucky offers 30 boutique guest rooms that are tastefully appointed and shrouded in character.
Support the local NRL team, Newcastle Knights and attend one of their matches at McDonald Jones Stadium. Get around the excitement of the sport in a passionate environment that will be enjoyable for everyone in the family.
The Newcastle Jets, represent the city in the A-League football, Australia. They also play their home games at McDonald Jones Stadium, which always draws a big crowd to support the local team.
For local events:
Check out our guide to what’s on in Newcastle and across the Hunter region here.
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