Ten reasons to visit Newcastle
Ten reasons to visit Newcastle

10 reasons to visit Newcastle, NSW — things to see & do

Forged by steel and sweat, Newcastle has risen once more to become one of Australia’s up and coming coastal destinations. Newcastle being a short train journey from Sydney is a serious contentor for being the city with the most things to do in New South Wales. From a vibrant beach culture to heritage and art and nature at its doorstep Newcastle should definitely be on your bucket list.

Fort Scratchley

A stone monument to Newscastle’s past the prominent position on Flagstaff Hill is an imposing sight. Built in the 1880s to ward off the threat of a Russian attack, guns were never fired in anger until the Japanese shelled Newcastle in a surprise attack in 1942. The city is reminded every day (except Tuesday) with a resounding boom from the two-pound cannons are fired at the same time the ball on Customs House is lowered to mark time. This is an acknowledgement of seafaring practices to sea captains to adjust their navigation instruments. Explore the fort’s labyrinth of tunnels on a guided tour with one of the passionate volunteers.

Coastal Paths

The harbour, the water and the beach… A way to discover Newscastle’s beach assets from heritage rock pools to stunning cliff top views culminating in a spectacular lighthouse.



The somber notes of the Newcastle Memorial Walk forms part of the coastal trail built to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, on the cliffs is a poignant moment. The rusted figures of soldiers accompany you on the cliff tops. The panoramic horizons are stretched out to the Hunter Valley. From there the trail drops down to Newcastle Beach, skirting the coastline to Nobbys Beach where Nobbys Lighthouse is perched lighting the headlands for ocean going vessels.

Heritage buildings

Newscastle is one of Australia’s oldest settlements with pubs such the The Ship Inn Newcastle | 102 Hunter Street (1823) continuing to operate in its heritage building.  With classic Aussie pub fare and a story of the city’s boom and bust history is a place to raise a glass. Coal and steel are the backbone of the Newcastle story aptly narrated by the Home, Newcastle Museum. Where the heat, the hard hats, danger and trudgery of coal mining is told with interactive exhibits and displays. As the museum states. ‘this is not only a story of industry, it is a story of immigration, religion, resilience and family.

Nobbys Lighthouse

Nobbys Lighthouse image is included in the Coat of Arms of the City of Newcastle highlighting the importance of the lighthouse ensuring transportation of goods safely navigates the headlands. The lighthouse is active and is operated by the Newcastle Port Corporation. Nobbys Lighthouse have offered protection and guidance for over two hundred years. For up to date opening hours check here Nobbys Headland reopens to the public | Port Authority New South Wales.

Shopping & retail therapy

Newcastle is the hub for the Hunter Region with its wineries and hop, skip and jum from whale watching at Port Stephens. Together with regional links to Sydney urban slick combined with the Newcastle beach culture it is a great shopping destination with boutique stores in Darby Street, Cooks Hill and Blackbird corner. Nearby King Street is also a popular shopping haunt.


Nature is on Newcastle’s doorstep with the nature reserves of Blackbutt and Hunter Wetlands where walking trails, picnics and wildlife call the area home. The harbour is part of the beach scene with paddle boarding, kayaking and harbour cruises. Glenrock State Conservation Area, is extraordinary being only 5 km from the city centre. Glenrock State Conservation Area | NSW National Parks. To have a jewel of National Park with walking trails, mountain bike tracks and historic sites is a privilege few cities have got. For walks for the junior members of your group check out Bombala walking track. The walk finishes at Dudley Beach for a chance to swim. At the southern end of the beach, you can find a fossilised forest in the rock platform at low tide. You can return the way you came or continue along the coastline towards Merewether.

Events and Festivals

Newcastle is hip and definitely the place to go for entertainment with major sporting events such as Surfest, the largest surf competition in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Supercars Newcastle 500. There are numerous art and foodie events making the town a year round destination. Proximity to the renown Hunter Valley wineries, Port Stephens Stockton sand dunes and the saltwater Lake Macquaire is a package hard to resist for event organisers.

Newcastle art scene

Newcastle Art Gallery – Newcastle Art Gallery is one of linchpins in the art scene. The vibrant art vibe is clearly expressed in the street art which rapidly have become instagrammable hot spots. From photorealism to pops of colour in laneways Newcastle is worth a walking street art tour. For details check the city councils Map Newcastle’s iconic street art online for artist’s details and locations of the latest additions to the art trail. The stunning, heritage-listed Civic Theatre has entertained locals and visitors alike for the best part of a century. The Lock Up originally the city’s first jail, is now a creative art space showcasing a diverse range of exhibitions.

Newcastle quirky markets

Every weekend Newcastle will have a market from farmer’s markets to vintage clothes and classic car boot sales. The Olive Tree Market – Newcastle’s Premiere Art and Design Market | Established 2008 is known as the art and design market making it a great destination for gifts or a special something for yourself. Olive Tree Market has yummy pop up food stalls, live music and is situated in the attractive Civic Park. The  Newcastle City Farmer’s Markets are on every weekend at Newcastle Showgrounds with a vast array of fresh produce from the artisan growers of the district. For avid market attendees check out here for details, Newcastle Market Guide.

King Edward Park & Heritage Trail

King Edward Park is a great place for people to kick a ball while the heritage fans locate the beautifully restored Victorian rotunda. The park has stunningr ocean views, Norfolk Island pines and a sunken garden filled with annual flowering colour. On the southern boundary are the remains of the Shepherds Hill Battery and Gunner’s Cottage which were in regular use from 1890 to World War II. Newcastle with its compact geography lends itself to walking and cycling explorations. With the help of the local council’s Heritage Attractions take a short from King Edward Park and locate the World War 2 sites of Shepards Hill Battery and Gunner’s Cottage along with stunning views of the Newcastle coastline. Learn about the convict lumber yard and its significant convict artifacts as well as the stie of ancient aboriginal artifacts. Now an open air archeological site with free entry.

The journey is worth it.

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