Australian city spotlight: Newcastle

Once a thriving coal town, New South Wales’ second largest city, Newcastle, is famous for its surfing hotspots, quirky cafés and boutiques, and relaxed lifestyle. The city is located around two hours north of Sydney and offers a gateway to some of the state’s most spectacular natural scenery.


Darby Street: Located in Cooks Hill, Darby Street is a hub for dining and shopping, full of cafés, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. Those looking to shop can browse second-hand bookshops; record stores; and jewellery, homewares and fashion from local designers. Meanwhile, the street’s dining options cater to all tastes and budgets, with everything from quirky coffee houses and cocktail bars to a craft beer restaurant, a chocolateria and fine dining establishments.

Beaches: A city surrounded by water, Newcastle is home to a number of world-famous beaches, linked by the Bathers Way coastal walk. The first stop along the walk, Nobbys Beach, is home to the historic Nobbys Head Lighthouse and is a popular spot for local kitesurfers. Further along, you can explore Bogey Hole — an ocean bath built by convicts back in 1819 — while Merewether Beach is a renowned surfing hotspot. Port Stephens, located around an hour’s drive along the coast, is a great spot for dolphin watching.

Hunter Valley: Just outside of Newcastle is the Hunter Valley; Australia’s oldest wine region. Nestled between the city, the Great Dividing Range and national parks, the region features spectacular scenery, adventure activities and some of the best food and wine Australia has to offer. It also plays host to a number of annual festivals, including Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival, A Day on the Green, Lovedale Long Lunch and Sculpture in the Vineyards.

Upcoming events

This is Not Art (TiNA): Held over the October long weekend, the annual This is Not Art (TiNA) festival features more than 190 free events dedicated to the development of experimental and emerging art. TiNA includes the National Young Writers’ Festival, Crack Theatre Festival and Critical Animals creative research conference. Events range from art installations, live performances, panels, debates, workshops and readings to a masquerade ball, a science party, street events and open-mic nights.

Where: Various locations across Newcastle
When: 29 September to 2 October 2016

Live at the Foreshore: Sixteen iconic Australian rock acts are set to make their way to Newcastle for Live at the Foreshore in November. The beachside music festival will also feature barbecue and grill food offerings; beer, wine and cider from local breweries and wineries; and the Hunt & Gather Markets.

Where: Camp Shortland, Nobbys Beach
When: 6 November 2016

Crowne2Crowne Cycle Classic: Raising funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, the Crowne2Crowne Cycle Classic sees participants ride 58 kilometres from Crowne Plaza Newcastle to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Riders start their day with a buffet breakfast by the harbour in Newcastle and finish with a lunch in the gardens of the Hunter Valley.

Where: Crowne Plaza Newcastle and Hunter Valley
When: 6 November 2016

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