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Your guide to Newcastle
All About Newcastle
This lively cosmopolitan port town in New South Wales is situated on the eastern South Pacific coastline and is one of the area's premier vacation destinations. Newcastle has an unmistakably bohemian vibe, full of artists, trendy cafes on Darby Street, a thriving nightlife, and a culinary scene that ranges from brewpub fare to farm-to-table cuisine. There’s a plethora of pristine coastlines plus several secret swimming holes and public ocean-fed pools carved out of the coastal cliffs that beckon travellers during the hotter summer months.
As Australia's second-oldest city, Newcastle has a rich culture with plenty of museums, historical sites, restaurants, and boutique shopping districts. Farther afield, the area is brimming with natural beauty that can be found in the Hunter Valley wine region and national parks like Wallarah, Hunter Wetlands, and Glenrock State Conservation Area. Excellent swimming spots include the manmade Bogey Hole ocean pool, Nobbys Beach, and Merewether Beach, which are patrolled and boast gentle, clear waters. When the sun sets, head to the Honeysuckle neighbourhood for upscale bars and restaurants, or Hunter Street for a mix of relaxed pubs and trend-setting speakeasies.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Newcastle
Newcastle's coastal climate is warm and breezy, with a rainy fall and mild winter. Humidity levels are low in autumn and spring, making these shoulder seasons lovely times to visit. In March, the Newcastle Fringe Festival brings quirky performers, artists, and comedians to the city for 10 days of fun. During the warm and energetic summer months, don’t miss the monthly Olive Tree Market that highlights creations from local artists alongside food stalls and live music.
Top things to do in Newcastle
The Merewether Beach is made up of a series of rock-built pools adjacent to the area's beaches and are said to be the largest ocean baths in the Southern Hemisphere. These free-to-access sea-fed pools bring cooling relief during the hot summer afternoons with lap pools and kid-friendly areas. After you take a dip, several nearby cafes and restaurants offer ice cream, drinks, and full seafood meals that you can enjoy while you watch the spectacular sunsets over the ocean.
Glenrock State Conservation Area
For an opportunity to check out one of New South Wales’ last remaining coastal rainforests, consider visiting the Glenrock State Conservation Area. This protected area is home to species of flora and fauna that are unique to the region, like bandicoots, coastal bush peas, and aquatic rockpool inhabitants. Along with ample recreational opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, and surfing, ancient Aboriginal sites can also be found throughout the area.
Newcastle Art Gallery
Although a local benefactor started donating pieces to the Newcastle Art Gallery in 1957, it was officially founded in 1977 by a notable female British monarch, and today it is widely regarded as one of the top publicly held art collections in all of Australia. Hundreds of pieces of art from renowned artists can be found in the permanent collection, and there’s a constant rotation of new exhibits, events, and art classes throughout the year. Perhaps the biggest highlight here is the museum’s collection of Aboriginal art and craftwork, which is often rotated.