Things To Do In Newcastle
Newcastle is recognized as the second largest port city in the New South Wales territory. The harbor city is surrounded by national landmarks, old castles, an imposing lighthouse attraction, restaurants and coffee shops facing the beach area. Expect storks swooping down and unmindful of people as you enjoy your cup of coffee or a good Australian beef sandwich. Although it does not offer historic places, Newcastle is highly regarded in Australia as one of the cosmopolitan cities in this continent. The so called “Steel City” has developed into a city of glamor, modern high rise structures, shopping centers and a style of its own. The industrial area is still preserved and serves its economic and livelihood purpose to Newcastle. In addition to parks and row of structures facing the sea, it is a common sight to see surfers throwing their boards and conquering the waves of its world class beaches. The harbor city is also the home of its official Rugby League team – Newcastle Knights.
When To Go:
Newcastle is blessed with an agreeable weather making it an ideal all year round holiday destination in the New South Wales area. Even if the weather is cool, the city remains sunny but without the humid atmosphere around the beaches. The best time to go around Newcastle is during the peak of the summer season. The so called “beach weather” begins from the month of December all the way to the end of February. Tourism reaches its all time high before the Christmas season, especially European travelers who delight in surfing the waves and enjoying the sunny weather. The spring season months of September to November are also an ideal time because it is around these months when tourist arrival is moderate and hotel accommodations offer discounted rates. Winter has a tolerable chilly weather starting from June until August. The autumn season guarantees clear and sunny days starting from March up to May. Planning when to go is totally dependent on the traveler’s own discretion, knowing what weather to expect all year round greatly helps when making decisions on what to pack and bring to enjoy your holiday in Newcastle City.
These are the main attractions and things to do in Newcastle City…
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Newcastle Memorial Walk
The Newcastle Memorial Walk is one of the sensational attractions in Newcastle. It is a cool place, the city view is amazing, and the sea is breathtaking. It is highly recommended to walk at dawn or late in the afternoon to catch the sunset view over the city. Depending on the weather, it may get windy out there, so it is best to bring along a light sweater. There is so much to see and experience starting from the elevated observation deck/walkway that gives an entire view of Newcastle and better appreciation of the city in all points of this attraction.
Access paths are also made available for handicapped visitors who come in wheel chairs. Don’t forget to take pictures beside the historic memorial walk heroes. This remarkable site also educates everyone about the role of the heroes and the battles this city fought during World War II. The view presents a mix of scenes that characterize what Newcastle is all about. One side highlights the beaches and the vast ocean, while the other side presents the busy harbor area where cruise ships, private yachts, and fishing vessels head out to the wide open sea.
Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral is a simple sanctuary with an impressive facade and architecture. It is a must to visit this church and spend time for reflection and retreat. It is worth walking around it to admire the external facade. In addition, there is a beautiful garden adjacent to the church where it is possible to see parakeets with iridescent color.
There is also a small cemetery next door. You will be impressed by the majesty of the cathedral. If there is no Holy Mass, the guests can have the opportunity to tour and admire the modest presentation of this old brick church in Newcastle.
The Fort Scratchley was built in the 1900's and still continues its mission of educating everyone about war and how this brave country directly engaged a Japanese submarine with a direct attack during the Second World War. Direct combat in the Australia mainland was so little, but in this fortress is where the direct engagement was initiated when the submarine of Japan came and aimed their missiles at the Newcastle Industrial Zone. Both forces suffered great damage and it is one of the places here in Newcastle where you can learn that there was such a history.
It is free if you only visit the fortress, but if you want to see all of the rooms in the museum about war, you must pay the guided tour and learn more about war history and have a deep appreciation of this fortress. Be sure to visit at noontime when the official firing of the cannons is usually done by the military personnel assigned in this fortress. Aside from seeing the preserved cannons, bombs, maps, and war books; the overlooking of the surrounding area is already worth the visit.
The Blackbutt Reserve is a nice park in Newcastle where there are diverse wildlife to admire such as koalas, wombats, snakes, peacocks, birds, kangaroos, emus, and other animals. Everywhere there are signs with explanation and you can pose and take pictures with the animals for US$5. The place is neat and well organized; there are restrooms, shelter areas, and grilling places for picnics and barbecue.
It has lots of recreational areas and a chance to get up close with the endemic animals of Australia. Within an hour you can see everything and for a free park it is definitely worth it! The birds are beautiful and no doubt, the visit to the Bird Dome is the best part of the tour. There is also a designated room for insects that is worth knowing when in Newcastle.
Nobbys Beach and the Nobbys Lighthouse
The Nobbys Beach is a well patrolled beach situated between the lighthouse and the fort. There are lots of eatery nearby and several food kiosks within walking distance. The lighthouse area is for the kite surfers while the rest of the beach is fairly shared between swimmers and surfers. It is a cozy little beach where you can lie on the sand, walk along and do everything you want like; enjoy the sun, play volleyball in the sand, engage in water sports, feast on Australian food, and appreciate the captivating ocean view overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
It is easily accessible from the lighthouse, the Fort Scratchley, and the shipyard at Newcastle. The beach makes the scenario even more charming and it's worth going to the Nobbys Lighthouse (which is open to the public every second Sunday of the month) to enjoy the beautiful landscape and take pictures of the city.
The Newcastle Beach is very easy to reach with many services and amenities to enjoy. It is the beach for those who love the waves, and for those who fear the ocean perhaps will have some difficulty to venture and surf. This beach is well maintained and equipped with complete beach infrastructure. This beach becomes busy from the start of spring season and onwards. It is one of the not to be missed places in Newcastle. Even if it has so many visitors, this beach is free from the stressful traffic and unbridled nightlife.
Myall Lakes National Park
The Myall Lakes National Park is a lovely nature park in Newcastle and a must see attraction. Plan a day to explore this national park that has everything; lakes, forest, exotic trees that even photographs cannot fully capture the exact color and fragrance. Located within the Myall Lakes National Park, is where you can admire the majesty of “The Grandis”.
This eucalyptus grandis is a tree that is about 400 years old and measures 76 meters high with a circumference of 3.2 meters. Anyone who has seen it were amused and tried to photograph this tree in full, without obviously succeeding. It is a must to visit this place when in Newcastle because it is a very easy reach, plus, the road in the National Park is well maintained and there is no danger even in rainy weather. You will be thrilled to be here if you love Mother Nature and lush vegetation.
The Merewether Beach is one of the ideal places for surf lovers, sun bathers, and swimmers. It is lined with great cafes, restaurants, and an access path leading to the Anzac or Heroes Walk Memorial. This beach is also the official venue of the annual event for surfers called the Surf Fest. It gathers professional surfers from all over the world to compete and show their skills in surfing.
The ambience here is relaxing and there are lots of opportunities to take pictures along the bay with a huge wave as the background. There are surfing instructors who usually hang out at the Surf house and can be arranged to train and teach basic lessons about surfing for an hour or two. The beach is very convenient and there is an ocean bath facility where guests can use the shower, changing rooms, bathrooms, and enjoy other amenities for free. Parking is not a problem and there is enough parking spaces provided that is within walking distance from the beach area.
Marketown is the shopping center in the city that is conveniently located and within walking distance from the row of apartment and hotels in Newcastle. This shopping place is not so large and everything is accessible within the first floor starting from grocery items, packaged foods, basic supplies, clothes, great dining places, fast food, wine shops, bakery, etc.
Major food outlets are also spread out in this area and most tourists prefer to shop for basic necessities and snacks that they can bring along when going around the major attractions in Newcastle. This shopping center is also an ideal meeting place and pick up points for tour organizers.
Inner City Winemakers
The Inner City Winemakers is a great place to visit and spend a whole day tasting all the wines and cheeses from this part of New South Wales. The aged to perfection wines preserved well by Janice and Rob is already a tempting invitation to come and visit this interesting winery in Newcastle. The best time to visit is every Sunday, the day where the owners prepare a sumptuous feast for their guests and with lots of free stuff given along the tour. A weekly art exhibition highlighting a local artist is also one of the things to look out for if you visit this attraction on weekends.
The couple provides a guided tour that is fun and entertaining aside from being passionate about the wines they produce and sharing bits and pieces about Newcastle’s history. The US$5 entrance fee is truly worth it and a great way to know the city and spend a half day with. Even if you’re no wine connoisseur, you will appreciate the sincere effort of the guides to share how to distinguish a good wine from another. All wines are authentic and locally grown and it is strongly suggested to purchase a bottle of wine here because it is much cheaper and has a more distinctive flavor, try it when you’re in Newcastle. You can arrange or book this tour in advance online from their official website.
Newcastle Ocean Baths
If you’re looking for ideal places to stay and where children can swim freely and really have a good time, the Newcastle Ocean Baths is the perfect place to be. Whether by day or in the evening, this beach is well attended and the best part of Newcastle where you can observe professional surfers conquering the waves and other water sports activities in this area.
You can go for an ice cream or have a glass of beer in one of the local dining places and observe lots of things to do in this part of Newcastle. There are kite surfers, hang gliders, and parasailing adventures; along with group of environmentalists who usually go around and clean around the beach area while at the same time giving lectures or creating awareness about the need to preserve and keep the beaches all over Newcastle clean from trash and free from water and air pollution.
The Horseshoe Beach is the perfect beach where you can bring your furry little friends to enjoy swimming or jogging together with your pets along the coast. This beach is also referred to as the “Dog’s Beach”. Because of the shallow waters, unleashed dogs love to frolic around the water along with their owner or on their own. There is ample parking provided and places to wash the dogs after playing in the ocean. There are also lots of dining areas where the owners can lounge around while watching their furry friend enjoy the water.
This flat beach is considered a lead free area and where most of the cruising and fishing vessels crowd its busy harbor. Dogs also have lots of time to socialize here; they are given the freedom to move around provided that their owner or handler can pick up and clean the little “bombs” that they leave along the way. There are strict guidelines here regarding how to handle dog poop and penalties are imposed by the local authorities to help preserve the cleanliness of the surroundings.
Dixon Park Beach
The Dixon Park Beach is one of the numerous beaches in Newcastle where you can have the chance or have a glimpse of the whale migration. This is the whale spotting area and it is located just a stone’s throw away from the Merewether Beach. Aside from whale spotting, this beach is also a quiet place where you can just sit, enjoy the view, read a book, or simply observe the activities along the busy harbor. There are no lifeguards around here and the sea can be rough at certain times, so it is best to explore it with caution if you plan to swim or do some snorkelling along its waters. The best part of this attraction is where the hilly part of the mountain and the harsh waves of the sea meet and create an impression of might and strength. It is another classic beach in Newcastle that you must definitely not miss if you’re in the New South Wales territory.
A tour of the Newcastle City is such a delight and a wonderful experience to discover in Australia. It has an impressive row of coastal beaches that are well kept and loved by its people. The city was able to maintain the quality of the water, the cleanliness of the surroundings, and the need to modernize some parts to adapt to the growing tourism influx of Newcastle. The city is an ideal example of a place that is keeping up with the commercialization of tourism, but without the need to neglect their attractions and the locals who continue to find ways to preserve their natural environment and maintain the pristine waters of the ocean even with their simple efforts.
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