After living here for over 10 years, I have to admit that the Newcastle region is a beautiful spot. It combines beaches, wineries, history and just a laid-back atmosphere. But instead of boring you with some long-winded explanation about what I love about living here, I thought I would put together a blog post with lots of photos to entice you to visit the Newcastle region. And bring your kids too!
First up, here’s some details about Newcastle. Two hours north of Sydney on the coast, it’s easily reached by car, train and air. Formerly a steel town, this beautiful city is reinventing itself and is now a very liveable city with lots to do for both residents and visitors.
Not just one or two but a whole string of them in the area from north in Port Stephens to south in Lake Macquarie. Whether it’s surfing, swimming or just sunbaking, there’s a beach for you. And if you don’t feel comfortable swimming in the ocean, swim at one of the enclosed ocean baths in Merewether or Newcastle.
A Working Harbour
As one of the world’s largest coal export ports, this busy working harbour is full of coal ships gliding in and out of the harbour. They’re joined by an increasing number of cruise ships.
Laidback Vibe & Friendly People
Relaxed is the theme in the Newcastle region. Things definitely run at a slower pace than Sydney and Melbourne. And the people are friendly!
Hunter Valley Wine Region
With more than 150 wineries dotted around the scenic Hunter Valley, it’s worth a visit to Australia’s oldest wine growing region. There’s also many restaurants and places to stay as well as the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens.
Port Stephens, 45 minutes north of Newcastle is a stunning holiday spot. As well as 26 beaches and bays ideal for a swim or surf and the enormous Stockton sand dunes, there’s an abundance of marine life. There’s over 140 resident bottlenose dolphins in Port Stephens and they’re usually easy to spot. It’s also a popular whalewatching spot with 10,000 humpback whales passing Port Stephens on their annual 12,000 kilometre migration. They head north between May and August and then head back south between August and mid November with their newborn calves in tow.
Twice the size of Sydney Harbour, Lake Macquarie is one of Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lakes. As you can imagine, there are plenty of water-based activities to do on the lake such as boating, fishing, kayaking and sailing. There’s also walking and cycling routes around different parts of the lake.
If you’re visiting Australia to see koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and emus, don’t miss Blackbutt Reserve. This 182 hectare reserve in the middle of Newcastle’s suburbs features numerous native animals in secure enclosures. Best of all, the park is free to visit. There’s also koala and wombat encounters if you want to get up close and personal to unique Australian animals (additional charge). It’s one of my favourite places to take visiting friends and family. There’s also walking and cycling trails, playgrounds and also barbecue areas if you feel like cooking up an Aussie barbie.
As Australia’s second oldest city, there’s plenty of history around Newcastle and the area including the Christ Church Cathedral, Fort Scratchley, the Convict Lumber Yard and historical terraces and grand mansions.
9. Outdoor lifestyle
The Newcastle area is one that just compels you to get outside. There’s just so many outdoor activities available in in Newcastle region. If you love the water, go swimming, surfing, boating, standup paddleboarding. If you prefer land-based activities, there’s plenty of walking, camping and hiking opportunities. On the Great North Walk, you can walk from Newcastle to Sydney. If that’s a bit long, try shorter parts of the walk such as Bathers Way, a coastal walk from Newcastle.
It includes the Anzac Memorial Walk, a stunning clifftop bridge walk.
There’s also plenty of hikes in Lake Macquarie including Glenrock Lagoon.
So, what are you waiting for? Book that plane ticket and visit Newcastle!
In 2012, Reena founded Newy with Kids to share information about family-friendly Newcastle. Originally from Canada, she had no idea about what to do with her toddler and after searching unsuccessfully for a local family guide, decided to start her own. Since that time, both the toddler and Newy with Kids have grown keeping Reena busy. If you see her out and about, say hi.