Soak up the history of one of Australia’s oldest cities, hit the beach, or head out into the countryside to spot local wildlife or explore wineries.
Newcastle has been a portcity for over two hundred years. It exports huge amounts of coal, and was oncea leading industrial center. Today its economy is diverse and its arts scene,on the rise. The central city is home to heritage buildings and museums. Thereare miles of superb uncrowded surf beaches on its doorstep, and to the west isthe Hunter Valley, one of Australia's premier wine-growing and gourmet foodregions.
History buffs will enjoygazing at Newcastle's heritage factories and colonial buildings. Check outNewcastle Cathedral for a look at one of its oldest and most significant. Climbthe stairs to the top to get a great view of the city. To learn about theconvict-miners who fist occupied the area, visit the Newcastle Museum. Theconvict heritage of the city may be responsible for the irreverent, fun-lovingattitude of the locals.
Visit the Lock-Up CulturalCentre to explore a 19th-century jail complete with padded cell and exerciseyard. Inside you’ll see exhibitions by local artists. For more art, drop by theNewcastle Gallery. There are some excellent Australian works as well as regularexhibitions.
Spend a few hours by theocean at Foreshore Park. There are playgrounds for kids and also picnic areas.Walk the breakwater and climb Nobby’s Head for excellent views of the city andcoastline. When it’s time to cool off, take a swim at one of the many beaches.Try Nobby’s Beach for calmer surf or Dudley Beach for an uncrowded stretch withgood waves. Visit the Newcastle or Merewether Ocean Baths for a saltwater fixwithout the waves.
Drive 5 miles (8 kilometers)from town to Blackbutt Reserve. It’s a 450-acre (182 hectare) bush reserve with hiking trails ofvarying difficulty, and animal exhibits including wallabies, koalas and nativebirds.
Foodies and wine loversshould take the time to explore the charming towns and grape-growing areas ofthe Hunter Valley. There are dozens of wineries with cellar-door tastings, andplenty of superb local cafés and restaurants serving up gourmet treats to go withthe local wines.