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Get outdoors in Newcastle

Nobbys Lighthouse, NewcastleCREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial of Nobbys Lighthouse and Hunter River in Newcastle.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Get outdoors
in Newcastle

Nobbys Lighthouse, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial of Nobbys Lighthouse and Hunter River in Newcastle.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Newcastle, a two-hour drive north of Sydney, may not be the biggest city in New South Wales, but it takes home a lot of other records. Australia’s second-oldest city, it’s also the state’s busiest sea port. Small wonder that life here revolves around the water, whether that’s surfing, cruising, swimming in historic ocean pools or spotting dolphins offshore while tackling along epic coastal trails. And then there’s the cosmopolitan city centre, with its charming neighbourhoods wedged between historic sites. Here are 10 experiences that reveal Newcastle through its great outdoors.  

Take a dip in Bogey Hole 

New South Wales has its fair share of legendary ocean baths, but none are quite so important to the state’s — indeed, the country’s — history as Bogey Hole. Thought to be the oldest of its kind in Australia, this ocean-fed swimming pool was cut into the rocks off Newcastle’s Shepherds Hill by convicts in 1819. The gem-like pool of clear turquoise water is the perfect perch to enjoy sweeping views over the city’s coastline — just arrive early in summer to secure a scenic spot.  

Get cultural in Cooks Hill 

If you’re seeking a dose of Newcastle culture, be sure to add bohemian Cooks Hill to your itinerary. This inner-city suburb is a delight to explore on foot, its leafy streets lined with grand Victorian terrace houses and timber cottages, as well as landmark art institutions. Top of the list is the Newcastle Art Gallery, which curates more than 6,000 works, alongside smaller galleries, the city’s library and bookshops you’ll want to linger in. 

Explore the Honeysuckle precinct 

A former derelict industrial area along the Newcastle main waterfront is reinvented as the buzzing Honeysuckle precinct. Walk, cycle or rollerblade along foreshore promenades and through open squares, then find a cool café or restaurant to refuel at while gazing over the busy harbour.  

Step back in time at Fort Scratchley 

Built in 1882, Fort Scratchley was Newcastle’s first line of defence for almost 100 years. Today, the historic site in Newcastle East has been transformed into a museum. Take a guided tour or explore at your own pace, wandering through a network of underground tunnels and grabbing a photo with the fort’s cannons, still standing guard. 

 

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

#lovensw #newsouthwales

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Nobbys Beach and lighthouse, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

Nobbys Beach leading up to Nobbys Lighthouse on the south entrance of the Port of Newcastle.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Nobbys Beach and lighthouse, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

Nobbys Beach leading up to Nobbys Lighthouse on the south entrance of the Port of Newcastle.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Catch a wave at Nobbys Beach 

Whether you’re a surfer or a swimmer, or just like to hang out on the sand, you’ll love Nobbys Beach. This Newcastle institution is one of the city’s safest, with wave conditions to suit all watersports enthusiasts, from bodyboarders to beginner surfers to experts on the breaks — you can even take lessons to find your feet. Before leaving, grab a coffee from The Kiosk, right on the edge of the sand. 

Jump on a tram 

Back in the 1920s, Newcastle residents would get about on a glossy maroon tram. It was eventually decommissioned, but rebuilt in 1994, and now the famous tram takes visitors on a scenic 1.25-hour ride around the city. Jump aboard at Queen’s Wharf to discover beaches, parks and historic sites, with commentary en route.  

People-watch at Merewether Surfhouse 

Merewether is to Newcastle what Bondi is to Sydney — gorgeous beach, beautiful people, cool places to see and be seen. Grab a windowside table at Merewether Surfhouse, a restaurant/café/pizza kitchen/cocktail bar that has some of the best views in town. Set aside a whole afternoon — you won’t want to leave.  

Cruise around the harbour 

Newcastle is the busiest sea port in NSW. That means a lot of ships (and a lot of action) on the harbour, 24 hours a day. Hop on a ferry for the brisk 5-minute journey across the Hunter River between Stockton and Queens Wharf, or take in the spectacle from one of the Nova Cruises or Moonshadow Cruises ships (the latter depart Port Stephens, to the north), to enjoy a longer tour around the water.  

Stretch your legs on the Bathers Way 

One of the state’s most exhilarating coastal trails, the Bathers Way stretches six clifftop kilometres, from Nobbys Headland in the north to the Merewether Baths in the south. When you’re not gazing out to see (look out for migrating whales from May through November) you’ll pass some of Newcastle’s most important historic and natural sites on land. Bring your swimming costume and break up your walk with a few refreshing swims along the way. 

Take to the water at Lake Macquarie

Travel 40km south of Newcastle to discover Lake Macquarie, which spans a mind-blowing 30km of coastline and is twice the size of Sydney Harbour. It’s also the largest saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere, so there’s plenty of space for uninterrupted swimming, boating, fishing or just relaxing on golden sandy beaches. Then lace up your shoes and trek through rainforest to the cool mist of waterfalls.  

Merewether Surfhouse, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

Merewether Surfhouse, Newcastle

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Merewether Surfhouse, Newcastle CREDIT: Destination NSW

Merewether Surfhouse, Newcastle

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Aerial, Lake Macquarie CREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking the scenic coastline and beaches near Lake Macquarie.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Aerial, Lake Macquarie CREDIT: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking the scenic coastline and beaches near Lake Macquarie.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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