Go for a stroll along Newcastle’s Macquarie Pier at Nobbys Breakwall and learn more about the city’s maritime history with interpretative signs dotted along the walk.
On this kid-friendly walk, you’ll learn more about the iconic Nobbys Headland also known by its Aboriginal name, Whibayganba.
The walk along Nobby’s Breakwall has been transformed with sign boards and an immersive audio tour which brings the area to life. It’s now a fun self-guided tour that you can do with your family.
There are 10 different interpretative signs along the way that cover a number of different topics including the shelling of Newcastle, volcanic activity and community use.
Each board has a QR code which you can scan with your smartphones. This opens up to a YouTube Historical Audio Tour. The QR codes on each sign are linked to timestamps on the video correlating with the appropriate stage of the tour.
Local historians and archivists from Hunter Living Histories were consulted in the making of the audio tour and signage which explore everything from volcanic activity 300 million years ago that created Nobby’s Headland to the period when Newcastle was shelled in war time.
If your kids don’t have the patience to listen to the whole audio commentary, you can listen to it or watch it at home. The Macquarie Pier Historical Audio Tour is on YouTube.
It’s worth listening to the audio commentary. There are some great anecdotes about the Macquarie Pier and Nobbys Headland including the fact that there is an old railway line under the path which runs all the way to the end of the breakwater.
You’ll notice as you walk along Newcastle’s iconic Macquarie Pier and its historic harbourside walkway, that it’s had a modern makeover thanks to the Port Authority of New South Wales. The path is wider and there’s sandstone seating along the 900m route along with the new signage.
As you walk along Macquarie Pier, you can see Nobbys Lighthouse. It became operational on 1 January 1858 with the assistance of lightkeepers. On the 4 September 1916, the lighthouse became automatic operation and the lightkeepers were no longer needed.
At the foot of Nobbys Head, a new paved area provides a gathering space for visitors to relax and watch the activity of the working port. This is also where you’ll spot the pencil and a sign that explains what is about.
On weekends, you can walk up to Nobbys Headland. (Read our article about Nobbys Headland for more information).
The site is open on weekends and makes a fun excursion. Nobbys Headland is one of Newcastle’s best vantage points, with 360-degree views of the city, the working harbour and our stunning coastline.
If you’re visiting on a weekday, you can keep walking along the breakwater. Just be aware that waves can wash up on the breakwater.
However on a calm day, it’s great to walk to the end of the breakwater and look back to the city or over to Stockton.
Good to Know
Location: Macquarie Pier starts at Nobbys Beach carpark located where Wharf Road meets Shortland Esplanade.
Open: Macquarie Pier is open all the time. Nobbys Headland is open from 8am to 4pm on weekends and during visiting cruise ship days.
Cost: No charge for the walk or entry to Nobbys Headland. Free parking at Nobbys Beach carpark.
Distance: It’s a 900m route one-way along Macquarie Pier. If you want to just walk up to Nobbys Headland, it’s an 800 metre walk from the Nobbys Beach car park with a bit of a steep climb at the end.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome on the Macquarie Pier and up to Nobbys Headland. Stop for a swim at the dog beach at Horseshoe Beach.
Amenities: There’s also no public amenities so use the toilets at Nobbys SLSC before you go.
For more details about the project, visit www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/macquariepier.
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