Eclectic and ever-evolving city extraordinaire
Metropolitan Newcastle is the second most populated area in New South Wales. Located 162km north-east of Sydney, it’s the Hunter region’s leading city. Newcastle is the perfect place for creative types: from the Newcastle Jazz Festival to the This Is Not Art new media and arts event and Electrofringe, the National Young Writers’ Festival and an active youth music culture, Newcastle packs plenty of inspiration. The city was once known as the “Steel City” – a nod to the BHP Steelworks base – but has morphed into a highly liveable, buzzing city with top-drawer café and culinary cultures. Add the three distinctly different beaches here – from Nobbys in the north to Merewether in the south, which are linked by one great, three-hour coastal walk in the form of Bathers Way – and you’ve got a great place to check out, no matter how long you plan to stay.
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When to go
Newcastle boasts a subtropical/oceanic climate: summers are warm and winters are generally mild. Rainfall is heaviest in late autumn and early winter. This is truly a year-round destination, plus or minus a layer of clothing. There’s always something to do in “Newie”. If you’re a foodie, you’re covered, no matter what the weather; head to Newcastle's east, where you'll find the refurbished Great Northern Hotel; Sprocket, East End Enetoca, the one-hatted Bacchus and more. An exceptional site for filling your calendar year-round is hunterhunter.com.au.
All travel on the blue-and-white Newcastle city centre buses is free. Newcastle Buses and Ferries offers a late-night bus service around Newcastle and to Stockton. Also, the Stockton Ferry departs Queens Wharf every 30 minutes starting at 5.15am.