Newy for nix: how to do Newcastle on a budget

Looking for an urban, beachy break on a budget? Try Newcastle.

Aerial shot of buildings and promenade along the Hunter River in Newcastle. Image credit: Destination NSW
  • Jetstar
  • June 2022

Newcastle is an ideal spontaneous-city-break destination. A city by the sea, it’s got beaches for miles and a buzzing city centre full of historic buildings, street art and street eats. If you’re itching for a holiday but your funds are low, Newcastle can bring the goods. Here’s how.

Take a walking tour

Explore the town by downloading curated walking tour maps from the visitor information centre. These informative guides will show you different sides of the city. Take a tour of Newcastle’s significant architectural sites, or go back in time and tour Newcastle at war or its convict history. There are tours of Bathers Way as well as the Artists’ City, which showcases Newcastle’s artsy epicentres. Or, you can break your discovery down by precinct.

Three people walking past a wall of black, white and pink street art in Newcastle, New South Wales. Image credit: Destination NSW
Explore street art and more on free, curated walking tours. Image credit: Destination NSW

Bathe in the baths

One of Newcastle’s most iconic drawcards is its free ocean baths. Newcastle Ocean Baths is an Art Deco stunner, built in the 1920s. (Under renovation until mid-2023.) There’s also Mereweather Ocean Baths, which opening in 1935 and is similarly gorgeous to swim in. If you want something a little smaller, but knock-out beautiful, the Bogey Hole in King Edwards Park is an ocean pool that was hand hewn out of wave rock.

People swimming in the Bogey Hole in Newcastle at dusk. Image credit: Destination NSW
The Bogey Hole is one of many magical swimming spots in Newcastle. Image credit: Destination NSW

Check out the arts

Newcastle has a thriving cultural scene, with major institutions like the Newcastle Museum and the Newcastle Art Gallery free to enter. There’s also The Lock-Up, which hosts contemporary exhibitions and performances in a heritage-listed old police station. Head to Darby Street and its side streets in Cooks Hill for private galleries and interesting artisans, or keep your eyes peeled for public artworks around town. Don’t miss the steel sculptures of soldiers on the Newcastle Memorial Walk.

Images on display at the Newcastle Museum. Image credit: Destination NSW
Newcastle Museum is one of many free spots for culture vultures. Image credit: Destination NSW

Sample local brews

There’s a massive food-and-wine scene in Newcastle, and it loves its local breweries and distilleries. If the budget doesn’t stretch to a night of hand-crafted cocktails, try the next best thing and go for a tasting. Earp Distilling Co. is a family-owned, multi-generational distilling company making boutique spirits and well worth a visit. Inner City Wine Makers, within walking distance of the CBD, is also worth checking out. Sample a tasting and maybe treat yourself to a bottle to take home.

Barrels of gin and a distiller giving a visitor a tour at Earp Distilling Co., Carrington in Newcastle. Image credit: Tyson Mayr
Go behind the scenes at Earp Distilling Co. Image credit: Tyson Mayr

Walk along the coast

Heading out on a coastal walk is one of the best things to do in Newcastle. Try Bathers Way, 6 kilometres of coast-hugging path that runs from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach. The clifftop views are panoramic and sensational, there are lookout platforms dotted along the way. You’ll also pass through the Newcastle Memorial Walk, a tribute to the Anzacs. Finish your walk with fish and chips as the sun goes down.

Family enjoying a walk along the Newcastle Memorial Walk, The Hill. Image credit: Destination NSW
Newcastle is full of top-notch walking trails. Image credit: Destination NSW