Travel

Sea and sand Castle is king

Actually, there are eight beaches at Newcastle.
Actually, there are eight beaches at Newcastle. Newcastle Tourism

NEWCASTLE is Australia's most underrated city, but if you have taken the time to pull in off the Pacific Hwy, you would know why it was named in the Lonely Planet's top 10 cities for 2011.

There are many reasons why people fall in love with this New South Wales seaside city - from its rich history and convict past to the shipping graveyard of the harbour.

Or it may be the long stretches of pristine white-sand beaches or the vast and beautiful Lake Macquarie, which is Australia's largest coastal saltwater lake.

Whatever the reason, once you have visited this coastal city, it will no doubt hold a special place in your heart.

My love for Newcastle stems from the fact I was born there, but my adoration for this city comes after years of getting to know it better.

Every year for 19 years, I have returned to Newcastle to catch up with all the relatives but it was not until this year that I took the time to truly explore "Newy" (as we locals call it).

My sister Melanie and I went on a mini-road trip around the metropolis, checking out the entertainment, beaches, art galleries, coastal walks, drinking-holes and picnic spots.

Our favourite place to visit was King Edward Park.

The park has an elegant rotunda, playground for the kids, tranquil rose garden and breathtaking views of the ocean.

On weekends, the park resembles a patched-up quilt with randomly thrown picnic blankets covering the grassy expanse, stitched together by families criss-crossing the park with frisbees, weaving in and out of the trees and climbing through the rotunda.

But if you have a passion for good food and shopping, then Darby Street is an absolute must. Grab a friend, do breakfast and catch up at one of the 20 cafes on the Cooks Hill road.

After a spot of shopping, you'll find nothing better than heading to the popular Canoe Pool. The Newcastle Ocean Baths are great for those people wanting to take advantage of the calmer conditions without having to sacrifice the ocean views and laid-back atmosphere.

The only missing ingredient is fish and chips, Novocastrian-style.

Perhaps the most popular fish and chip shop in Newcastle, Scottie's, is in Newcastle East, just a short walk from Nobbys and Newcastle Beach.

Pick up some takeaway, head down to the beach and enjoy your goodies as the salty sea breeze passes over you.

Of all the incredible sights in Newcastle, top of the list and one of its defining features is its busy harbour port. Newcastle is the biggest exporter of coal in the world.

Take a moment to sit and watch the port in action and be amazed as giant 300m freighters, almost close enough to touch, are guided into the harbour by comparatively tiny tugs.

Sharing the harbour with coal ships are freighters, fishing boats, ferries and private vessels, making for a chaotic but exciting scene.

By night, the harbour glitters and by stealth, freight ships suddenly appear out of the darkness, occasionally catching you out with their unexpected horns that can be heard from as far away as Merewether.

Dine at one of the restaurants at Honeysuckle and enjoy front-row views of all the action.

Newcastle may fly under the radar of Aussies and international travellers, partly because it's overshadowed by its bigger, bolder and better-known sibling, Sydney, 150km to the south.

But Newcastle has more than enough to keep visitors entertained.

Australia's second-oldest city is not only ideally located just two hours by road or rail or 30 minutes by plane or seaplane from Sydney, it's also less than an hour's drive to the Hunter Valley wineries to the west.

To the south is sailboat-filled Lake Macquarie.

Head north to the whale-watching and shark-feeding paradise of Port Stephens and to sandboarding at Stockton Beach (the southern end of the 32km-long beach is a five-minute ferry ride across Newcastle's harbour).

Visit www.visitnewcastle.com.au for more holiday options.

>> Read more travel stories.

Gympie Times

Topics:  newcastle, travel, travelling




Is Gympie having a building boom?

There is plenty of building activity happening around the Gympie region.

New home approvals for Gympie region double

Southside’s divisive subdivision back on council table

An aerial photo of the subdivision site on Smerdon Rd, Southside.

Smerdon Rd development has residents concerned

Gympie police plead for calm amid rising assault numbers

Senior Constable Deb Wruck has urged people to walk away from potentially violent situations.

Walk away before someone is hurt, police urge

Latest deals and offers

Three reasons your mind will be blown this week

Alan Dale and Jacki Weaver in a scene from the TV series Secret City.

THREE shows on Foxtel to make your mind boggle.

Elena wins MasterChef: “I’m ecstatic and eager to celebrate"

MasterChef Australia 2016 winner Elena Duggan, from Noosa.

NOOSA chefs survive marathon grand final dish by Heston Blumenthal.

Shannen Doherty shaves hair during cancer battle

Shannen Doherty has completely shaved off her hair

Brian McFadden makes daughters pay for own Christmas gifts

McFadden makes his daughters pay for half their presents

Lady Gaga is a godmother

Lady Gaga has become a godmother to her friends' daughter

Will Turbo be taken off TV?

Memes about Turbo are flowing on Social media.

PEOPLE want Turbo taken off TV, but will Prospero Productions the ma

Is Gympie having a building boom?

There is plenty of building activity happening around the Gympie region.

New home approvals for Gympie region double

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley