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Sydney’s best weekend getaway: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Travel Guide

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Last Updated on by Noni May

If you’re traveling from Sydney to Cairns by bus or car, you will pass a city called Newcastle. It’s Australia’s second oldest city and a favorite weekend getaway from Sydney. Is stopping at Newcastle worth it? And what is there to do? Read along for my experience and top tips.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

The thing I wish people told me before

So there’s one thing I wish people told me before and that is that Newcastle is super Instagram worthy! Everything is pastel colored, old-ish and happy. I absolutely love this city and there’s nothing that could have prepared me more. 

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

I arrived around 9 pm with the Greyhound from Sydney, and after a quick peek in the harbour at night I walked to my hostel, less than 5 minutes away from the bus station, which was great.

Sydney's best weekend getaway: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Travel Guide

Top things to do in Newcastle

Newcastle is a beach city, and since my accommodation is literally a one minute walk away from Newcastle beach, I check it out first.

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Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

The first thing that comes to mind, is that the ocean is ridiculously wild here. The weather is sunny, but it’s only 8 am, so I’m not sure if there’s a big storm coming up or if it’s just always like that. It is perfectly blue, and I already feel at home here.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

I stop at a place called Estabar for coffee and breakfast. The vibe is good, nice cafe music, good coffee, friendly staff and beach views.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Next, it’s time for a long beach walk. I walk past the Ocean Baths (beautiful!!), towards Nobbys beach and the head. I decide to spot the special birds, but ended up being too busy searching for sharks and taking photos, and only spotted a few pigeons. I did think I saw a shark (or dolphin), so that was exciting.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Australia being Australia, with danger warnings everywhere, the actual walk was not that adventurous at all, as you can see here:

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

The walk to Nobbys head took about 20 minutes and was a pleasure, there were heaps to see. From surfers, sharks and birds to splashing water and a beautiful view.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

On my second day, it rained all day. A lot of a little, but nevertheless, I didn’t feel like going sandboarding in the mud, unfortunately. I tried to call the company the day before as the sun was out and I really wanted to go sandboarding, but they didn’t pick up to make my booking.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

After Nobbys I really wanted to take a dip in the Ocean Baths, so walked back to my hostel to change, and went for a swim. Unfortunately, around the time that I went in, the weather changed, and it started to get really cold. I got out quickly after the clouds came, but it took me about two hours to warm up after, but I did it! Whohoo. Really cool to swim in a salty bath haha.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

After lots of warming up with a good book at the fireplace, I went for another walk to Market Town and the Honeysuckle district.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Day two:

In the rain, walking on the beach is less fun. So I visited Fort Scratchly, had a food fest day with heaps of food stops, checked out the cinema, Newcastle Museum, and Newcastle Art Gallery. There was the Olive Tree Market going on, so I had a look there too. Then I called it a day because walking in the rain is not fun at all, and I got quite cold after a couple of hours.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Other things to do in Newcastle

Go sandboarding

Visit the other beaches. 

Visit / swim the Bogey Hole.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Walk the Anzac Memorial Walk. 

Take a dolphin cruise. 

Visit Blackbutt Reserve. About 25 minutes outside the city you’ll find Australia’s finest wildlife: kangaroos, koalas, emu’s and wombats.

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

 

Rent a bike.

Visit the Lock Up Gallery. No prisoners but artists resident this former police station (1861).

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by Noni May

Is Newcastle worth a stop?

Yes, definitely! It can be done as a day trip from Sydney, but why not fully take off and spend a disconnected weekend over at the beach? This city breathes beach, it’s everywhere! It’s not a very exciting city, but it’s a great place to relax, disconnect, drink heaps of coffee and finish a good book in two days.

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