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



Science Festival seriously awesome

CALLING everyone who wants to see, hear and be a part of something totally cool: this is where you need to be this March.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

Is Perrett's reaction to Rattler money a worry?

Mayor Mick Curran and Member for Gympie Tony Perrett. Mr Perrett has refrained from any exuberance over the State Government announcement.

Should we be worried by our MP's guarded support?

New bus service to help stranded Bay shoppers

The Cooloola Cove Shopping Centre.

Polleys steps in to help Tin Can Bay shoppers

BREAKING: Gympie's only video store is saved

TO BE CONTINUED: Local investor Peter Fife, left, along with store manager David Kendall, have saved Gympie's beloved video store from closure.

Gympie's last-remaining movie store in Duke St will not be closing.

Local Partners

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

MACKAY will play host to one of the world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John later this year.

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Robert Irwin introduces Jimmy Fallon to wild guests

Robert Irwin introduces Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a cuddly sloth.

ROBERT Irwin continues Steve's legacy.

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from the movie Trespass Against Us.

Tough British film about criminal clan proves touching

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Small screen users make switch to smaller screens

In this photo taken Oct. 16, 2013, a girl plays Supercelll's Hay Day game on an iPad. The Finnish 'Clash of Clans' mobile game maker Supercell said Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, it plans to launch its third game next month on a tide of soaring revenues and profits. The new game, 'Boom Beach,' will be launched in March. It's been tested in Canada and Australia, ranking fifth in both countries' iPhone app store lists, according to the company. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Milla Takala)  FINLAND OUT

The digital age generation makes the switch

Nadia visits Coast to escape Married At First Sight drama

Married At First Sight's Nadia Stamp takes a breather from the show's drama at Mooloolaba.

MAFS bride unwinds on the Coast ahead of commitment ceremony

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!