Voted by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top 10 cities in 2011, a lot of people miss seeing the pleasures this fine city has to offer due to the proximity of Sydney. Newcastle is only 150km south of New South Wale’s capital and with its fabulous heritage architecture, lively music and arts scene, great beaches and fine dining, why wouldn’t you want to spend a few days here?
Getting there is easy due to it being so close to Sydney. From Sydney you can take a bus, train, hire a car, or even fly to Newcastle. The Williamstown airport is 15km from the city and has domestic flights to Melbourne and Brisbane. Hiring a car is a great way to see the city and surrounding area.
There’s a few backpackers a round town and dorm beds start at about $25 a night. A double room will set you back around $70 up to $250 in a nice hotel with a sea view. There are apartments available if there’s a few of you and it’ll work out a lot cheaper to share.
There are some fabulous festivals for writers, musicians and artist throughout the year if you’re lucky enough to catch one. It’s also a great place to try surfing if you never have, or paragliding a super adventure. You can take a guided tram tour of the city which is very interesting or a vineyard tour of the surrounding wineries. Take a boat cruise and maybe even spot some dolphins if you’re lucky. There are many lovely beaches to discover, all easily reached from the city centre.
You’ll find some great seafood and international restaurants dotted around the town and well as some local bars with cold beer and friendly people. Be sure to check out the live music scene and the brewery with over 40 beers to choose from.
There is some diving around Newcastle but most of the dive centres will head to Nelson Bay or Port Stephens. There is an extraordinary dive close by called Moon Island which is the biggest Tiger Shark breeding site in the world! Get close to these amazing animals… if you have the nerve.
Check out this funky town and see why it’s one of the best cities on the east coast to stop for a day or two.
(By Kelly Luckman)