Enjoying the Hunter Valleys Wine Country Capital

NEWCASTLE

The city of Newcastle is nestled on the beautiful, sun-drenched eastern coastline of New South Wales, is a vibrant city bursting with things to do, fun to be had and a lot more o discover.

Newcastle in Brief

Newcastle, the second largest city in New South Wales is just two hours drive north of Sydney. Once known as the capital city of coal industry has come a long way in transforming itself into a city of attraction to suit all tases. It all began, when the steel mills closed in the late 1990s and the city’s surf culture came to the fore. Today, with its gentrified harbour and beautiful beaches, it is no surprise that most activities in Newcastle centre on the water. A trek along a narrow longshore drift to the landmark Nobby’s Lighthouse offers expansive views of the sea. The city is also home to the Mereweather Baths, advertised as the largest ocean-water swimming pools in the Southern Hemisphere.

Why Go?

The city of Newcastle boasts a plethora of tourism attractions to suit all tastes and is surrounded by golden sand beaches, a breathtaking coastlines and a beautiful working harbour. It is the predominate city within the Hunter Region and a vibrant city bursting with things to do and see. With city’s unique architecture and rich history stretch from the city to the suburbs makes it one of the most exciting city to visit.

Newcastle City

Getting here is easy, whether by air, road or rail, and there’s a whole host of places to stay to suit all budgets. So its time to buckle up and get ready to experience Newcastle. I am about to have the time of my life!. With easy access to number of spectacular beaches, literally on the doorstep, I virtually consider myself spoilt for choice. I’ve visited many coastal cities before, yet I knew, it was nothing in comparison with the breathtaking and stunning views of Newcastle city and its coastline. This city boasts one of the most scenic coastline in the world. While holidaying in this coastal city, I tried to take advantage of going right into downtown Newcastle and exploring its outdoor activities. Knowing well that Newcastle is an outdoor, action-packed city as I was visiting alone, there was still plenty to do in the fresh air. I took a walk along the spectacular coastline walk Bathers Way Walk, Memorial Walk and cycle the harbourside destination, cruised along the harbour and end up at one of the many beaches to soak up the sweatness. Still, there was an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. I also, visited the lengendary Nobbys beach and Merewether Beach, which is a megga for surfering and many surfers from all over the world flock to Merewether to enjoy its fabulous swells. The more I enjoyed the spectacular beaches and coastal scenery and ocean baths, I wanted to reap the physical and mental rewards of this adventure playground for weeks to come. The citys musems and art galleries, rich history and architecture to keep the most ardent culture vultures intrigued to on-trend designer shops and artisan markets were just the start. The city certainly lets me know that I was entering some place special from the moment of arrival. Though, I was here for few days, there was so much to see and do – it’s the kind of place I visit and never want to leave. From the golden-sand beaches with incredible coastal walks to architectural wonders where the present pays homage to the industrial past of the city.

Few Highlights

Newcastle Harbour

Kicking the vacation off with a bang was a dinner at Newcastles fine-dining Waterfront restaurant overlooking the ocean. The following day was a visit to Newcastle harbour. Newcastle city, since, it had the first commercial shipment in 1799, the Port of Newcastle has grown to become Australia’s third-largest port by volume. In its prime days, the city of Newcaslte was famous for its coal and had the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. Port of Newcastle’s cruise berth is located within a five minute drive of Newcastle’s CBD and was a great opportunity to view the Port. This beautiful working harbour is stunning to see and there was no better place for me to come and see the mega container ships and the mega cruise liners.

Newcastle CBD

Most of the cities are all about tall buildings competing for each other within the CBD but for the city of Newcastle , it is one of a kind that is eye-catching. To catch a stunning glimpse of Newcastle city’s CBD frontshore, I drove to the opposite side of the city just before I entered the CBD area. The view across to the city showcase some of the unique architecture, character, colours and shapes. It was totally mesmerizing and just incredible to see. The view almost gives you a perfect picture of a painters art of work.

Cathedral

From the stunning view of the CBD, I headed right into the city, having a closer look at some of this amazing buildings. The city’s architectural gems are nothing short of astonishing. One of the city’s landmark building located in the heart of the city’s CBD area is The Cathedral Church of Christ the King, also called Christ Church Cathedral. It is located on a hill with a steep climb. Once you get there, it is so peaceful and the design and interior of the building is just incredible and marvelous to look at. The building desinged by John Horbury Hunt in the Gothic Revival style, is located on a hill at the city’s eastern end in the suburb called The Hill.

Nobbys Lighthouse

One of Newcastles landmark is the highly visible Nobbys Lighthouse. It sits high on Nobbys Headland guarding the entrance to the Newcastle Harbour. The site is an iconic landmark at well-loved location in Newcastle and surprisingly, this lighthouse has been active for over 150 years and continues to safely direct ships in and out of Newcastle harbour. It was time to get on my runners and took a 800 metre walk to the lighthouse. It has a steep climb but once I reach the top, I was rewarded with the most beautiful 360 degree view of the area.  Sitting on the hill above Nobbys Beach is Fort Scratchley, an old-time defence facility. The views from here are simply sublime. Guided tours of the WWII tunnels below the fort are an essential activity.

Just before reaching the lighthouse is the Nobbys Beach, Newcastle’s highest profile beach. It is a favourite swimming spot for family groups, those learning to surf and some of the local dolphins. Nobbys and Merewether are the best known of eight golden beaches along Newcastles shoreline. Merewether beach is famous for International surfing competition, while Nobby is quiet unique because it has the beach on one side and a public recreational area including BBQ facilities on the other. It was the perfect spot to spend the day there. Taking local direction, one of the must-do was to walk along the Nobbys break-wall underneath the iconic Nobbys Lighthouse. I was lucky, I was able to watch a coal ship being ushered into the harbour by hard working tug boats. A bonus after the walk was the kiosk selling coffee, cakes, fish and chips and burgers, enjoying the coffee while enjoying the views.

Newcastle Ocean Baths

To explore more of the waterfront, I walked a bit further down the beach promenade, and there I found Merewether Ocean Baths with a refreshing swim. This are the largest Ocean Baths complex in the Southern Hemisphere. With its distinctive and architecturally significant Art Deco pavilion, Newcastle Ocean Baths are one of the citys outstanding historic landmarks. Interestingly, these Ocean Baths were constructed and in use before WW1 and were only formally openned in 1920s. The baths popularity has never waned throughout the ensuing decades and thousands of Novocastrians remember it fondly as the place where they first learned to swim. I can see why as I am enjoying it. They are opened all year round, except for maintenance and cleaning.

ANZAC Memorial Walk

I couldn’t leave Newcastle without visiting the city’s coastline. This was one of my favourite place in the city of Newcastle. Just taking a stroll along the beachfront while enjoying some of the fine-dining places right on the edge of the water with the 360′ view of the coastline. There is one place that I cannot leave Newcastle city without setting my foot on is the Newcastle Memorial Walk which was constructed to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC. With its striking 360′ view of the city and coast, provides a spectacular connection to Newcastle’s Bathers Way. The views from this jaw-dropping cliffs, coastline and the city as I walked along this cliff top stairway were just incredibly breathtaking.

Newcastle has certainly satisfied my cravings for an adventure getaway. I was jam-packed with artistic and cultural experiences in which I had to immerse myself – the majority of which are all within walking distance in the CBD. I just marvel at the jaw-dropping panoramic vistas Newcastle has to offer on a walk or cycle around the city. I have seen and done a lot that I couldn’t cramp everything on here and more to explore. Newcastle is the epicentre of the Hunter Region, offering a cosmopolitan experience and major events, and is less than an hours drive from wine tasting in the Hunter Valley and whale watching in Port Stephens. These places will be top of the list for a visit another day.

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Categories: AUSTRALIA

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